Virgin Money Lounge
Monday 04 Mar 2013
Following a creative pitch, Virgin Money appointed allen international to develop a 350 sq m retail concept which would take its current online banking offer to the high street. Being an innovative challenging brand, Virgin Money wanted to create a completely unique experience, a cashless operational model, focussing more on customer service. However, Virgin Money were eager to build brand awareness through a ‘customer capture’ strategy was created through developing relationship lounges rather than stores. The concept was to create a comfortable space, where it is possible to relax on a sofa, enjoy a free coffee and check emails while children can play in a dedicated area and typical banking concerns are placed in the background. This is Virgin Money’s Lounge vision - a concept being brought to life in four UK locations: Edinburgh, Manchester, Norwich and London.
allen international responded to the brief by creating exclusive lounge spaces that would complement the retail branches which are currently in development. It was important to design a space that created a sense of occasion, yet linked through its online channel via iPads and iMacs. Classical details and touches are used, such as bespoke wallpaper and rug designs, all with an ornate monogram pattern based on the Virgin Money initials to create a take on more ‘regal period’ design.
The lounges are designed to be ‘non-sales’ environments: each lounge is purely for customers to grab a coffee and relax, check emails, charge mobiles or possibly have a meeting - whatever they want. iPads and WIFI connection enable customers to access the websites and newspapers, magazines and complimentary light refreshments are available to customers.
Out of business hours, all lounges will be made available to community and charity groups as a space. The lounge environments have provided an experience to build relationships between bank and customer. Public reaction to the lounges has been exceptional creating a true ‘brand halo’ effect attracting a wide range of new and existing customers.