Designing the strategy

With more than 50 Neighborhood Financial Centers throughout Washington state and South Carolina, retail outlets are a vital part of the BECU member experience. Originally, BECU financial centers were difficult to see from the street. Signage was not very visible. Window graphics blocked the view of the inside. So we asked ourselves, how do we attract members from 30 feet and beyond? How do we invite people in? And how do we engage with them once they enter? Working with BECU’s retail, operations, brand and leadership teams, we outlined goals for the overall experience: creating an environment that felt safe and inviting, that brought more awareness to their locations, and served as a “beacon” from afar. From there, we further investigated member needs and pain points, looking at the competitor landscape and talking through operational and environmental realities.The first step was to address the primary brand touchpoint one may see from the street: the ATM. The total redesign of the BECU ATM experience included 24-hour ATM vestibules, walk-up and drive-up kiosks, surrounds and toppers, deployed at various locations throughout Washington.

Creating a “beacon” experience

The newly designed financial centers elevated the member experience with well-lit exterior signage and ATM vestibules that are visible from the outside — showcasing BECU’s iconic red ATM walls that were designed as an invitation to enter. We created a “beacon” experience that made BECU’s financial centers more visible and welcoming. Through planned space design and lighting changes, we incorporated additional security for members using the ATMs. This concept heavily influenced our approach when it came time to reimagine BECU’s family of ATM kiosks, enclosures and toppers as part of the new brand identity. Our attention to these details was taken to a whole new level.


Designing and prototyping the ATM experience

Our exploration included several design options and consideration of how well each option would stand out from competitors. And while this was an exciting first step in the process, it wasn’t until we visited Companion Systems, BECU’s fabrication partner, that our creative brains went into overdrive. Touring their facility of ATM kiosks and surrounds, we became immersed in all the possibilities of fabrication, from lighting solutions to paint finishes to an array of material options. We closely scrutinized which machine shapes, heights, canopies and finishes would be more conducive to creating a “beacon,” and talked at length with our clients about the member experience from all angles. We finalized designs through a very iterative process, fabricated to-scale miniature 3D-printed prototypes and were involved all the way through deployment, including site visits and lighting tests — day and night.

It’s in the details

Once our design was extended to the entire family of ATM machines, we created a guidelines document to help BECU with future installations. Similar to a brand book, it spells out the design and production specifications for each machine type along with photos and elevations as references.

It is often said that the difference between good and great is in the details, and after taking this exciting journey with BECU, we couldn’t agree more!