my mailing list


How great design will make your business thrive

Allen International | SBI In Touch.png

With enviable return on investment statistics, there is no doubt why allen international (‘allen’) are world leaders in financial services brand and customer experience design. For the past 20 years, the company have helped banks achieve an average growth in customer numbers in excess of 25%, average increases in revenues of 35% and saved banks in excess of 40% on their implementation and transformation costs - and this after allen’s fees have been amortised. How? allen understand business, and every relationship they have becomes an obsessive passion - to deliver business results for their clients through great value customer experience.

I trained as a designer in the 1980’s in London, a period when the business world really woke up to the power of design and brand. It was an exciting time, one where it was ‘cool’ to be a designer, when many of the powerhouse brands that we all enjoy today were beginning to make their mark - Nike, Virgin, Apple and Orange for example. These visionaries invested in Brand and boy did they get results.

Thirty years on, great branding is now mainstream. Organisations speak about brand experience, brand culture and brand values, everyone is striving for differentiation in a crowded market place.

In banking, we have seen consolidation, mergers and huge multi-national super-banks dominate the market, driving growth by fueling our insatiable desire to consume.

Then came the financial crash and the world changed again. In banking, profits vaporised, overheads grew and poor investment decisions forced normally healthy businesses to a point where they stood on the precipice, staring disaster in the face. There is no motivator like fear to force businesses to change.

A new term entered the brand builders vocabulary - ‘Return on Investment or ROI’. Now for creative people, this is a difficult concept to grasp, but companies that were successful and remain healthy are those that understand this concept and demonstrate value in everything they do. Building experiences that pay and are measurable.

Banks used to refer to their frontline retail environments as ‘branches’. Now that has changed too. Banks have to think like retailers if they are going to make progress. They have to integrate their service into the everyday lives of customers, forget about their old arrogant ways and focus on service and where better to turn for inspiration than the world of supermarket design to understand how a return on investment per square foot is optimised.

With a history of working in retail, allen understand how important it is to make every square inch pay in business, and it is this simple principle that drives allen’s success whether it be in the physical or digital world, return on investment = success.

The world of banking is driven by numbers. So here are some. In the example below, I have shown how transforming an underperforming branch network can impact on business:

Transactions per month 4,500,000

Profit using an average bank profit margin @15% (source azcentral) 675,000

Transaction revenue per month (after design*) 6,075,000

Average profits per month @15% (after design*) 911,250

Profit per month increase (after design*) 236,250

Average project cost including implementation 2,000,000

Number of months to break even 8

Average shelf life of branch transformation 4 years

Average ROI over 4 years (assuming no additional growth) 8,268,750

* allen international’s average increase in revenue statistic of 35%

It is clear from the example I have used above that for banks to increase their profitability, it is essential to invest in improving customer experience, drive differentiation, retention and growth.

It is a constant source of surprise to me that this very simple equation is one that is not used by senior management when they consider their future business strategy. Switch the numbers around, add, or subtract, and the answer remains the same. Invest nothing in customer experience and your business will fail. Visionary CEO’s pay note.


For more information please visit or call me on +971 50 457 3524

#alleninternational #africa #arabbrands #bankbranding #banking #bankinginindia #banksinsaudiarabia #banks #brand #brandexperience #brandstrategy #brands #culture #middleeast #statebankofindia #uae