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BACKGROUND

Capital One is the eighth largest bank holding corporation in the United States, with a total of 1,100 physical branches and 10 café style locations scattered throughout the Northeast, West Coast, and greater Canada and even Hawaii.

With the 2012 acquisition of ING’s Deposit Division in the U.S., ING DIRECT’s brand found a new home at Capital One, debuting publicly as Capital One 360 in February 2013. The two brands became one, united by a shared passion for saving customers time and money, while also speaking to them on human terms that debunked conventional wisdom about large, corporate banking relationships.

With a bright new red and blue brand identity, Capital One 360 revealed brand messaging that centered on what it means to live the 360 lifestyle, one that merged the ING “art” of treating humans like humans with the Capital One “science” of robust data and analytics. With ING leadership by its side, Capital One set out to rethink what it means to bank in the digital age, deconstructing the corporate branch model that its customers were used to in order to produce a more community-driven look and feel throughout its customer service touchpoints and A-list celebrity advertising campaigns.

As the largest online-only direct bank in the United States, ING had grown to over 7.6 million customers and $83B in deposits, as of late 2011. ING, known as a  pioneer in the banking café and community model, found that their deposits grew double the speed — and sometimes more — in markets where cafés were present. This meant that even for successful online-only banks, physical presence was one of the most vitally important steps to connecting with lifelong, loyal customers.

Capital One 360 set out to recreate the community café model where conversations and connections about money — and life — could take place in a comfortable and modern environment.

DEFINING THE 360 CAFé

Prior to Capital One’s acquisition of ING’s Deposit Division, the company had procured sites in and around Boston, an area representing Capital One’s highest concentration credit card customers. Although Capital One did not have a physical bank branch presence located in Boston, the brand felt that the familiarity and brand loyalty to the credit card would be advantageous in launching its plans inside the city.

With plans to launch a “third space” coffeehouse, Capital One drafted plans to make the space an experiential community center, built for neighbors to meet, share coffee, or catch the day’s news. Acting as the physical extension of the 360 brand — forward thinking, progressive, and empowering — the space would become a second home to educated, upwardly-mobile digital natives seeking peripheral information and education about Capital One’s programs and casual approach to saving time and money.

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Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s was selected as the beverage partner, and true baristas are employed there to offer their full line of beverages. The café model would provide free Wi-Fi, an ATM, and the opportunity to meet associates who can offer advice and answer banking questions. The café also offers half-priced beverages for customers who use Capital One credit or debit cards.

Our Cafés provide a great environment for us to interact with the local community and our Customers.

- - Jim Kelly, Head of Direct Banking, Capital One

“Boston is a vibrant, digitally savvy city with residents who embrace innovation and ingenuity, and the city is an ideal place for us to expand and build upon the success of our 360 Cafés,” said Jim Kelly, Head of Direct Banking, Capital One. “Our Cafés provide a great environment for us to interact with the local community and our Customers.

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ADRENALINE’S ROLE

Adrenaline was tasked with several roles within the project build-out, including digital technology planning, architectural strategy, digital signage implementation, as well as hands-on custom content curation.

I. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY PLANNING & STRATEGY

In collaboration with New York City-based project architect firm, Pompeii, Adrenaline created a strategic plan for implementing digital technology. Adrenaline’s efforts helped bring Pompeii’s ideas to life by making technology approachable, usable, and architecturally seamless in a way that retained the initial concept’s integrity.

II. DIGITAL SIGNAGE IMPLEMENTATION & MANAGEMENT

Adrenaline also took the lead in configuring, selecting and procuring custom-built hardware that made technology usable and useful in the space. The selection, sourcing and deployment  of digital screens resulted in a robust content infrastructure for the long-term success and ever-evolving digital needs of the café. The result was stunning displays throughout the space, as well as a digital CMS network complete with branch-level control of dynamic content, all the way down to specific screens.

III. CUSTOMIZED & LOCALIZED CONTENT STRATEGY

The Adrenaline team helped bring the Capital One 360 content dream to life by deploying a full-service, daily content curation strategy that connected back to the brand’s passion for human connection. Each day, over 50 story headlines and sub-headlines would be hand-selected and projected in screens throughout the café. The content strategy connected customers to the 360 lifestyle by providing of-the-moment financial information, tips, advice and local news that could save customers time and money.

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The first café opened last February at 799 Boyston Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in February. Additional locations were opened throughout last year in Boston at Downtown Crossing, Coolidge Corner, and Harvard Square. Following the pilot success of Capital One 360’s cafés in Boston, Adrenaline rolled out the digital signage and custom, highly localized content curation to spaces in Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Honolulu, Delaware, and Wilmington, North Carolina.

Capital One 360 is leading the financial industry in pioneering café style banking. Their products are competitive and connection to customers is inherently local.  As many financial institutions try to evolve their business models to be more relevant to today’s customer needs, these community café’s will be paramount to watch.