Following the merger of CYBG and Virgin Money and hot on the heels of the successful opening of B-Works, Manchester, I-AM were appointed to design the first-generation of new Virgin Money UK stores to hit the UK high street as part of the Dec 2019 brand relaunch campaign. We developed a customer centric, store format strategy for VM, including a family of concepts specifically tailored to serve the needs of local communities, the first of which are being trialled at the High Street Kensington, Birmingham and Manchester stores.
Brief & Approach:
The overall objective for the project was to build on the success of the B-Works concept and amplify the experience, bringing to life the core Virgin brand DNA; attitude, values and personality. This required an agile format strategy, focused on delivering ‘Brighter Money’ experiences in store. To really understand what customers want from the physical spaces, I-AM visited 26 branches across 11 cities, devoting over 120 hours to observation and conversations, conducting 50 in-depth interviews across staff, customers and stakeholders. Through our research we reviewed the positive features of the existing estate along with issues that were common across the majority of branches, to provide a platform to position the new stores within the hearts and minds of the customers.
Virgin Money, Store Concept Design:
The new store concepts build on the success of B-Works in Manchester, but take a bold step forward drawing on the core Virgin brand values and personality, to create a truly memorable experience that
re-imagines the role of physical stores. People are at the heart of the experience, and we have created a series of feature modules built to engage and serve customers throughout the space. The new stores, open to customers and non-customers, provide facilities for entrepreneurs to co-work and create in the social media studio, fuelled by bottomless cups of free coffee. The stores are a platform for social engagement, host destinations for a diverse range of networking events, seminars, panel discussions, even morning yoga and evening gigs – all tailored to the needs of the local market. The stores are a pivotal component of the Virgin Money customer proposition, to support the 6.6m personal, small business and mortgage customers. Virgin Money intend to use the stores as a launch vehicle to introduce customers to new products and services within their own and Virgin group companies.
With a foundation in customer insights and in-depth analysis of the Virgin Money brand and current market position, combined with the proven success of the B-Works Manchester store – we have created the first in a national network of ground-breaking spaces, that genuinely enrich the banking experience from a consumer perspective. Virgin Money have a platform to engage customers on a different level, to reach out into their communities with open arms and to shift the dialogue of banking from money to wellbeing for the mind, body and soul. The new Virgin Money stores will turn banking on its head.
“We are proud of the success of B Works, and we are delighted to help take Virgin Money to the next level.”
Jon Blakeney, I-AM Group Managing Director