Austria’s biggest bank, Erste Bank, was founded to give all people access to financial services. For its flagship branch new elements in interior design should be used aiming at inviting the customers to stay.
A "Brand Wall" should function as the extended arm of the value-campaign "What counts" including the claim "What counts are the people" connecting it with the brand values accessibility, simplicity, pioneering spirit, independency. Customers should experience banking from another perspective and get inspired. Following a holistic brand approach, Erste Bank wanted to include soundscapes in the "Brand Wall" as well.
The Approach: Customers' relationships with the bank at the auditory core
Since 2015, amp has functioned as Erste Bank's consultant and specialist in musical matters.
The question How does the banking center of the future sound? from amp's last project was now followed by the question How does the Erste Bank brand sound? The quote below provides a fitting approach to the answer:
The branch was built around the customers
(Peter Bosek, executive officer of private clients)
The customer occupies center stage. Consultants are able to move around freely, thanks to notebook and tablet, and the rooms are designed to be friendly and bright, with coffee bars, sofas and children’s corners. As such, it was only logical for us to put the customer’s personal relationship with the bank, at the center of the auditory concept.
Defining and Creating the sound for Erste Bank
amp has worked to accentuate the visual appearance of Erste Bank's new consulting center with a generous music library and specially composed soundscapes suited to the brand environment of Austria's Erste Bank.
EXTENSIVE MUSIC LIBRARY
amp compiled an extensive music library to fill all public rooms of the consulting center with music.
Taking into account the needs of the bank’s customers and employees, amp gave the brand an aural personality and an acoustic expression emphasizing Erste Bank’s brand values, brand presence and target groups.
amp developed four main musical themes, which the music library effectively reveals, to present the various facets of Erste Bank’s brand personality.
These musical themes are used throughout the entire area of Erste Bank’s new branch office. Depending on daytime, these themes are either heard alone or in combination with each other. The following themes build the cornerstone of the music library:
CAREFREE: "People are what counts" – this brand claim inspired amp to compose specific themes for the music library. All people have dreams, visions, and ideas, what counts however, is that these ideas keep us happy and make us independent. This resulted in the target attribute "carefree" (lighthearted, easygoing, positive).
CLOSENESS: An analysis of a previous Erste Bank campaign helped amp identify "more time for the important things" as a main theme among customers. Most of the wide variety of customer responses to this campaign were categorized under the theme of personal "closeness" (personal, empathetic, organic). This not only correlates with Erste Bank’s brand attributes, but also represents an important foundation for customer relationships built on trust.
SUCCESS: Since one of the bank’s many purposes is to help customers reach certain financial goals, another theme in the music library is devoted to personal "success" (inspiring, great, ambitious). As a theme, this represents a sense of motivation and ambition, as well as an open-mindedness and desire for innovation.
AFTER WORK: This particular branch also hosts events and employee meetings, separate from its normal customer business, to promote creative solutions and networking. Since this usually takes place outside the normal office hours, the fourth theme of Erste Bank’s music library is labeled "After work" (energetic, pulsating, loosening up).
SOUNDSCAPE STORIES FOR THE BRAND WALL
Along with the music, the brand wall is also a central element of the new design.
To accompany the pictorial world of the brand wall, amp composed a fitting soundscape for each subject. These aural stories represent prototypical realms of existence providing a soundtrack to the pictorial world being presented on the brand wall. This combination provides a deeper insight into the customers’ world and brings the customers’ real life into the branch office.
amp created 2-minutes soundscapes for real life stories, e.g. of a runner, organic food shopkeeper, sophisticated couple, that contain acoustic elements of progress and success according to the brand claim "What counts are the people". amp used sound as subtle but effective storytelling-medium to discuss successes of the dynamic customers’ lives. Each story is put together from individual scenes, intended to remind the listener of their own subjective world. Furthermore, each story contains audible elements of progress and success.
The brand wall displays its subjects – in large-scale, highlighted images – and runs vertically through all three floors of the consulting center.
The brand wall is the continuation of Erste Bank’s previous values campaign: "What counts". The current campaign focuses on the claim "People are what counts" and aligns this motto to Erste Bank’s brand values: accessibility, simplicity, pioneering spirit and independence. Erste Bank was founded to provide universal access to financial services for all.
The brand wall focuses on customers and their needs, allowing to see and hear the Erste Bank brand!
The result and its potential
By creating the Erste Bank Music Library and the Soundscape Stories amp has effectively enhanced the brand experience and intensified brand loyalty. Customers and their needs were foregrounded making Erste Bank as brand visible and hearable.
The aural identity and audible brand space not only leaves a lasting impression on customers while the trustworthy atmosphere is relaxing their moods but also becomes an integral part of the employees’ daily work.
amp is very pleased that amp was able to successfully complete this project with efficient collaboration from Erste Bank, thus laying the foundation for the transfer of this sound concept to the next consulting centers.