Mashreq’s ‘We Make Possible’ Latest Digital Bank Branch Experience
We were approached by Mashreq, the UAE’s Most Innovative Digital Bank (Global Finance 2019) to develop a new design concept that could be appropriated across their branch network in the UAE. Each location needed to be optimised according to its location and facilities, while maintaining an identity that was intrinsic to the customer-focused slogan, ‘We Make Possible.’
Bank Branch Navigation & Experience Evaluation
The project began with an extensive research phase, where we built a design strategy based on the needs and requirements of the users of the branch. It became apparent from talking to Mashreq’s customers that simplicity is key, as is easy navigation throughout the branch. They did not want a routine branch visit to interfere with their free time, so the new Mashreq experience should be as efficient and straightforward as possible.
The project was driven by the notions of simplicity and flow and, inspiring our designers to conceptualise a sleek retail space that allows for a streamlined customer journey. It was crucial that the layout planning was optimised according to the requirements of each customer segment, so that all of the branches are easy to navigate.
Balancing Technology and Human Touchpoints
Mashreq are pioneers of digital banking in the MENA region, having won numerous awards for their digital initiatives in recent years (Digital Transformation & Innovation of the Year– Seamless Awards 2018). It was important to portray an affinity with technology within the branch environments whilst maintaining core physical touchpoints. With this in mind, our designers developed the concept to portray harmony and balance, visually referencing the contrast between digital integration and human interaction.
All branch formats feature a convenient 24-hour multi-purpose self-service lobby at the entrance, enabling people to access fast-transaction facilities at any time. From here, visitors enter the interactive waiting lounge, where the customer can pull up a stool to one of the benches and browse products on a tablet or interact with one of the mobile branch staff. The intention to move away from the traditional seated waiting area format results in a more immersive, informal banking experience, allowing staff to adopt a proactive approach to customer service.
Easily accessible private and semi-private areas and meeting rooms are placed strategically around the branches for customers to use when privacy is needed, accentuating the notion that the customer is in control of their own experience.
Mashreq was awarded with ‘Best Retail Bank’ and ‘Most Innovative Digital Banking Proposition’ at the Banker Middle East Awards 2019.
Mashreq Bank Branch Interior Design
In an intentional contrast to the multiple digital touchpoints that are prominent within the branch, natural materials were selected to evoke a sense of wellbeing within the environment. Light wood finishes & lush foliage walls are integral to the design, providing an understated backdrop to the vibrant orange of the Mashreq brand mark.
The exterior of the branches are designed to engage and attract, with illuminated Mashreq ‘flare’ signage and large format LED screens bringing impact to a street or mall location. A glass-front or open façade immediately reveals the open-plan interior, referencing the Mashreq philosophy of transparency. The choice to remove unnecessary obstructions from the outset communicates a notion of openness both literally and conceptually, for a culture where customers are always welcome.