Explore Image 4’s latest blog posts, expert advice, news, and commentary. Learn more about the features of our innovative blog here.

Surviving in today’s competitive financial services world means effectively engaging your customer and, as was evident at the recent New England Financial Marketing Association (NEFMA) Annual Conference, banks and credit unions continue to look for better ways to do just that. The energy and enthusiasm of the attendees at this year’s conference was contagious and I can’t wait to get to work! This year’s conference topics included the continuing trend of creating conversation and buzz on social media, (where one of the biggest challenges seems to be finding the right platforms to reach your target audience - your mom might be on Facebook but the younger generations are not!), and the future of app-based transactions, among others. Of course, nearest and dearest to my heart were the discussions around customer engagement in the physical environment. Nowhere is it more important to engage your customer than in the branch and it was exciting to see that bank and credit union marketers are starting to see how digital and the branch network must be integrated. I recently read a fascinating report by Deloitte, which noted that “the rapid pace of digital change is adding to a buildup of … unintended consequence, which we call experience debt.” The report goes on to say that this experience debt can be paid down by elevating the human experience. Exactly! We at Image 4 embody this concept in every project we embark on, whether in financial services or other industries. While verbal AI banking capabilities, like Bank...

Planning Healthcare Interiors Through Journey Mapping

Image 4's Insight
It’s no secret that improving patient experience is on the top of the priority list for most healthcare providers. Journey mapping can be used to gather valuable insight from all user types (patients, visitors, providers, caregivers, staff, etc.), to show how people, space, process, and technology influence journeys to, through, and from a healthcare facility. This article uses a case study to show how emotional journey mapping built rapport and empathy between staff, patients, and families at UPMA and served as a framework for staff/providers to be ambassadors to the voice and needs of patients and their families.


Article Excerpt:

Journey mapping is an important tool in healthcare design, offering the power to build empathy between building users and those creating spaces for them.

Future-Proof Trade Show Booth Design Techniques

Image 4's Insight
The competition for spectators at trade shows is as fierce as ever. While it’s easy to get seduced by fads, no gimmick can replace methodical, attentive execution. That’s why the most effective booths generally feature impeccable implementation of tried-and-true design techniques. These include well-lit recessed product displays, hands-on product demo displays, and thoughtful tablescaping. The common thread between them all is painstaking attention to detail. By getting every detail right, even an understated and budget-friendly display can communicate authentic value and an inviting atmosphere.


Article Excerpt:

From a run of the mill, everyday product to the groundbreaking, tech advanced gadget, often times it’s not the product itself that sells but rather the ingenuity behind how it’s displayed. If you are worried that your booth design and it’s displays someday becoming obsolete, here are a few new and unique trade show booth design ideas to future proof your investment.

Store Closures Are Down, Openings Are Up

Image 4's Insight
Contrary to popular belief, the brick-and-mortar retail sector is not struggling to stay afloat. Although some retail brands, including Sears, Pizza Hut, and Dressbarn, are shutting down swaths of stores, the research and advisory firm IHL Group found that more chains are opening new locations than closing them. In 2019, the number of chains opening new locations increased by 56 percent: 1,065 stores opened new locations this year, compared to 675 in 2018. For every chain with a net closing of stores, there are five chains opening stores, totaling a net gain of 3,000 store openings versus closures.


Article Excerpt:

Despite the dire outlook for brick-and-mortar retailers competing against online giants like Amazon, a new report from research and advisory firm IHL Group found that more chains are opening more new locations than closing them.

Chase Makes Bold Statement with Stunning New Flagship Branch

Image 4's Insight
Will bank branches continue to exist in the future? “The answer is a very resounding YES,” says Chase Bank’s Co-President Gordon Smith. In fact, the country’s largest bank is making strides to expand Chase Retail on a national scale, intending to open more than 400 branches this year. To kick off the cascade, Chase recently unveiled its new flagship location on NYC’s Madison Avenue, triple the size of the average American bank branch. The opulent yet sleek new branch features a high-tech take on a rotunda and infrastructure for community financial education sessions called “Chase Chats.”


Article Excerpt:

Goodbye [digital app] Finn, hello megabranch. Chase shows support for physical banking with sharp new tech+people facility in the heart of Manhattan.

It’s About the CX

Jeff Baker, CEO Image 4, Chair, Future Branches
With the turning of the leaves here in the Northeast comes the refocusing of marketing efforts, with the realization by our clients that plans need to be in place for the next year or two. As such, we’re fielding a lot of requests for bids and budgets across our service lines. From financial services to exhibits, from event marketing to corporate environments, it appears that our client base is healthy and accelerating full-throttle into next season. Image 4 is finishing up our own marketing season with our speaking and sponsorship roles in both the New England Financial Marketing Association Conference,...

Five Faithful Tips to Selling on the Trade Show Floor

Image 4's Insight
It can be easy to forget that a trade show is, first and foremost, a show—a performance of sorts. Smart salespeople bring their A-game to trade shows, elevating networking to the level of art… and sometimes even espionage. They network mindfully, treating trade show interactions more like ballroom dancing than water-cooler socializing. They even manufacture the illusion of serendipity, strategically “running into” prospects to personally and creatively engage them. Whatever your preferred MO, coming to a trade show with a creative, out-of-the-box strategy can tip the scales when it’s time to make a sale.


Article Excerpt:

From multi-million dollar booths to carpetbagging around the trade show floor, we’ve seen (and done) it all.  

The Advantage Of Harnessing Consumer Creativity

Image 4's Insight

Creative consumers are valuable. That’s because when they use social media, they share engaging visual images and stories about their lives—stories in which your brand could play a role. They also tend to be curious, taking the initiative to ask questions and learn about products. For this reason, high-profile brands, including Nike, are profiting from highly customizable products that invite creative consumers to make the product their own. Similarly, branded creative experiences—such as “Paul Smith’s Pink Wall,” which is a canvas for mobile photography—can catapult a brand into a coveted position of global visibility.


Article Excerpt:

Watching TV or spending a week on a sandy beach is relaxing, but not fulfilling. Neither experience is involving, nor will we feel entertained and relaxed. How brands are finding new power in harnessing consumer creativity.  

This Virgin Money Lounge Is The Funnest Bank Branch You’ve Ever Seen

Image 4's Insight
Virgin Money has re-imagined the retail bank branch with its seven Virgin Money Lounges—exclusive spaces for customers and their guests to kick back and relax. These lounges aren’t just cafés with complimentary refreshments, roomy seating, and Wi-Fi. Customers can also bring their friends and kids to a Virgin Money Lounge to enjoy activities such as air hockey, billiards, and even a full-size, two-lane bowling alley. These benefits are free for Virgin Money customers: all the bank asks, from those who book the bowling alley or arcade, is a voluntary donation to Virgin’s Charity of the Year.


Article Excerpt:

The Virgin Money Lounge in Sheffield is undeniably the most unique — and fun! — retail location the banking industry has ever seen.

Mix and Match in Healthcare Workplace Design

Image 4's Insight
Modern-day healthcare organizations are facing a growing staffing crisis. In fact, a shortage of more than 100,000 physicians is expected by 2030. To offset this trend, healthcare workspace designers are addressing one preventable cause of staff burnout: crowded and poorly designed workspaces. They’ve realized that the workplace layouts that suited the healthcare industry in the past are failing to accommodate the present-day shift to multidisciplinary care. Specifically, modern developments in patient care have brought ancillary staff—including pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and nutritionists—onto the care floor in both hospitals and outpatient clinics. This necessitates designing the workplace based on what type of environment staff members need, from quiet and focused to more collaborative.


Article Excerpt:

Designers are helping healthcare organizations rethink workplace settings by offering space options that support a range of staff types and work processes.  

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