bank branch branding

How Downsizing Can Positively Impact Bank Branch Branding

The way people engage with financial institutions was already changing dramatically before the pandemic. However, the ongoing situation rapidly accelerated institutions’ plans to scale back on physical locations in favor of automating transactions, reducing costs, and streamlining services.

If you’re a bank or other financial institution that’s been considering downsizing the number of locations throughout your footprint (or if you already have), you understand how complex the process can be. You have to move resources to other branches, support employees’ career transitions or relocations, manage public-facing communications and feedback, and more. Despite this, downsizing isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it’s simply a reprioritization focus. However, you have to consider the impact to your bank branch branding and the many details that come with it.

Downsizing your number of facilities will require a coordinated effort on a number of fronts. As a banking institution, your brand is a significant contributor to how your customers feel and think about you. For many institutions, their brand is a piece of their history and image; many bank brands have been in place for decades or longer. Communities recognize these brands and the physical assets that represent them such as street and building signage and the appearance of the facilities themselves. So if the time comes to downsize, it’s important to leverage it as best you can to ensure you’re sending the right message.

Downsizing as an Opportunity to Reinvest in Your Image

The worst thing you can do is explore downsizing your footprint without also exploring a bank branch branding program to support remaining locations. Here are several key reasons:

The branches that do remain will gain greater prominence and traffic.

Fewer branches in a region will result in the foot traffic those locations used to receive being funneled into fewer locations. The remaining branches have to make a great impression, particularly for people that were used to going to their local branch for years. If an existing customer were to walk into one of your remaining branches and see something completely different from what they’re used to, that relationship will never be the same. Worn-out brand assets tell customers that you’re not in good shape, and they may seek banking services elsewhere.

You need to visually show that you’re still a community pillar.

Fewer branches in an area could send a harmful message — one that says you’re struggling or that you might be slowly pulling out of the community altogether. That’s not a great message for an institution that manages money. Instead, investing in bank branch branding — despite having fewer locations — says that you’re committed to a community and to what your brand represents to the people that trust you with their hard-earned resources. Offsetting the closure of one branch by upgrading another balances out to a favorable, more positive image — one that customers will be better able to accept than if they were left with an old, outdated, or neglected branch to visit.

You’re investing in a program that can double as an improvement effort.

You already know that it will cost you to downsize. You’ll need to de-brand locations and potentially prepare them for sale. Depending on your branches, you may even need to build a new branch that will serve as the consolidated location for two or more branches being shut down. You’ll need to work with appropriate partners to achieve this, which simultaneously presents an opportunity to reinvest in the bank branch branding of other locations. Whether you’re building a new location or sprucing up other ones, including this refresh and remodel work in the program consolidates partners and vendors, gets this work done sooner and faster than if managed separately, and ensures a more positive outcome long-term.

Downsizing is an opportunity to make changes for the better.

Consumers today care more about doing business with organizations that are energy- and environmentally conscious than ever — companies that care about sustainability and their impact on the world. A downsizing program is therefore an opportunity to consider how your remaining locations will utilize energy. Perhaps improvements can be made to take advantage of solar power. Perhaps parking lots and exterior lighting can be upgraded or retrofitted with more efficient and illuminating LED lighting. The opportunities here are many, and including them in your program demonstrates that while you have fewer locations available, those that are open are more committed to meaningful causes than ever.

It’s a chance to rethink your approach to brand asset maintenance.

You likely already have a preventive maintenance program in place to ensure your physical brand assets are protected and cared for over time. However, because the ideal strategy is to elevate the image of your remaining branches, a downsizing program is a great opportunity to reconsider what needs to be done to protect that image even better. Maybe your PM program is conducted semi-annually or even annually. Because downsizing will automatically put customers and communities on alert, expanding your PM program to quarterly or even monthly will ensure that every issue or potential issue is caught proactively and addressed rapidly. This will help you continue to deliver the positive experiences that your customers have come to expect. Learn more about the advantages of proactive preventive maintenance.

Last but not least, a downsizing initiative is an opportunity to gain greater visibility and streamline brand implementation practices across the board.

While there are no perfect processes, there are always opportunities to make them better. Facility managers, regional managers, and operations managers must have immediate insights into how assets like signage, lighting, and more are performing. They must know where PM programs stand at all times. By investing in your existing branches with the right brand implementation partner, you can gain greater visibility into the data of your program. Asset lists, financial documentation, contracts, agreements, project statuses, and more should all be accessible to you 24/7 via an easy-to-use technology platform. The right partner will also help you cut out excess administrative time in managing a downsizing or implementation program by providing logistics, warehousing, and installation services.

Work with a Proven Partner for Your Bank Branch Branding Efforts

Stratus has been supporting banking and other financial institutions with their brand implementation program needs for decades. We’ve worked with some of the largest, most recognized brands in the country on everything from refresh and remodel initiatives and post-acquisition ATM branding efforts to high-rise signage programs and preventive maintenance solutions. Whether you’re looking to consolidate your footprint or revitalize an existing network of branches, our expert team is ready to deliver the most ideal solutions for your success.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you execute your next brand implementation program efficiently.