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BACKGROUND

Positioned as the more hospitable alternative to “big” national banks, MAX is a non-traditional financial institution serving its clientele throughout greater Alabama. Even though they are a credit union (a not-for-profit organization operating without shareholders or investors), they don’t call themselves by that name. Instead they lay claim to “Banking, Only Smarter.” MAX refers to members as “customers,” and is deeply invested in the financial wellbeing of each and every one.

By delivering personalized, customized choices and intuitive digital tools, MAX has emerged as a leader in turning the modern banking experience into a human experience.

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THE CHALLENGE

MAX approached Adrenaline with the goal of merging in-store experiences with digital capabilities. They wanted to immerse, inform, and empower people at just the right time and place. Most importantly, the project set out to ignite meaningful relationships with MAX customers by creating opportunities to welcome them, serve them, inform them, and ultimately connect with them, thus deepening their loyalty for the brand.

THE SOLUTION

Adrenaline began work in three areas – Environmental Design, Interactive Design, and Branded Content – applying a “R.E.D” (Retail Experience Design) strategy to orchestrate them. Merging self-serve digital stations with in-store retail design, the space was imagined as an inviting home for customers to make transactions, form relationships, and learn.

The Greek word ‘kairos’ (the supreme or opportune moment in time) was the objective: how can we make the most of a valuable human interaction with a customer? Thus, the Adrenaline team mapped out a plan to engage customers at the right time, and in the right way, in order to offer the right solution.

“Whether it’s emphatic or implied, retail graphics, building structure, and the placement of digital technology all speak to customers. There is a flow to MAX’s retail space, and orchestrating the messaging within is important. Timing is everything.” – Scott Hickman, Managing & Creative Director

There is a flow to Max's retail space, and orchestrating the messaging within is important. Timing is everything.

- Scott Hickman, Managing & Creative Director

A process called Experience Mapping set the pace for interactive design and branded content, planning how customers would interact with the MAX brand from initial contact through to in-store interaction.

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Connecting with customers on their own online and social channels, MAX initiated an opportunity to Attract new customers by encouraging self-service transactions in branches and online. When new customers entered the branch, MAX was able to Welcome these customers via a concierge and digital screen, and offer an opportunity to Learn by turning idle lobby wait time into informed experiences through interactive engagement. MAX customers were then able to Transact quickly and efficiently, but they were also able to turn these transactions into conversations with brand representatives that could offer custom products. Next, MAX could Consult with its customers, offering unique spaces for serving and guiding their journey through its product offerings. Finally, MAX was able to recognize its ability to empower Staff Needs with tools, information, and encouragement that solidified the commitment of its brand ambassadors.

“We intentionally consider how customers will navigate, dwell, and interact in each space. This deliberate consideration effectively influences our design decisions. We ask ourselves a lot of questions from the customer’s perspective, such as “What will spark my interest?” and “Will I be viewing material that can help me be more informed about products that benefit me?” The design of the space gets refined, but the target is always the customer. We always make our way back to them.” – Laura Harvey, Art Director

The design of the space gets refined, but the target is always the customer. We always make our way back to them.

- Laura Harvey, Art Director

Adrenaline identified an opportunity for MAX to create new Messaging architecture for its retail experience, focused on the theme, “Reframing Banking”. Using messages such as “We’re everything you wish your bank was”, “Brilliantly calculated to fit your needs”, and “The bank of your dreams isn’t even a bank”, MAX was able to capitalize on its key differentiators — being a digitally savvy bank, available to address customer needs in ways that traditional banks can’t.

“In keeping with the theme of ‘kairos,’ we look at the most opportune time to speak to customers in order to figure out which design elements should support that communication. What is said, and in what channel, makes all the difference. ” – Laura Harvey, Art Director

These messages of personalized and digitized custom banking solutions then set the tone for Adrenaline’s role in Environmental Design. Utilizing its brand identity, Adrenaline created MAX’s Exterior Brand Experience, including exterior signage, window clings, drive-up signage and door displays. Turning to the Interior Brand Experience, the aesthetic was kept consistent through interactive tablets, community messaging, a technology bar, logo wall, and wall displays ­- all with connected campaign messages.

“Adrenaline’s retail experience design (R.E.D.) strategy correlates to making the customer feel connected, transforming the chore of going to the bank into a positive experience. Although a customer’s visit may be transactional in some way, we never want it to feel that way.” – Laura Harvey, Art Director

Although a customer's visit may be transactional in some way, we never want it to feel that way.

- Laura Harvey, Art Director

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In defining the project’s Interactive objective, Adrenaline found that the combination of self-guided and staff-guided experience options provided the optimal mix. A self-sign-in app, smart ATMs, and technology bar offers casual, low-pressure browsing opportunities, while guided experiences with MAX staff create conversations that instill confidence.

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The Adrenaline team focused on MAX’s four product pillars, including Mortgages, Checking, Digital, and Insurance to create Branded Content for devices used both inside and beyond the MAX branches. Using dynamic motion to capture attention, MAX’s content initiates awareness, informs, and inspires action.

It was crucial to give the user a simplistic experience while still keeping the content highly visual, engaging, and educational. The customer was always top of mind. – Courtney Brennan, Designer

It was crucial to give the user a simplistic experience while still keeping the content highly visual, engaging, and educational.

- Courtney Brennan, Designer

Offering customers a fluid transition from physical to digital, Adrenaline developed MAX a highly customized cross-channel experience that informed, immersed, and empowered its customers from first connection to final transaction. Merging systems with analytics, and flexibility with hospitality, MAX presented itself as an early adopter of technology in today’s modern banking experience, while leveraging deeper one-on-one relationships with customers to pinpoint and service their individual needs.

“We approached each product from a lifestyle perspective. A quiz to discover how much home you can afford, a checking experience that teaches good spending habits. It’s informative and helpful, while still advertising great products.” – Teri Mez, Digital Art Director

We approached each product from a lifestyle perspective. It's informative and helpful, while still advertising great products.

- Teri Mez, Digital Art Director

Adrenaline’s powerful combination of technology driven customer service and a personalized retail experience gave MAX all the tools necessary to reimagine what it means to truly reframe banking.