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29 октября 2014

Rebranding from Astarta Group


Despite the financial hardships that many banks are facing today due to deterioration in the general economic situation in the country, interest in rebranding remains strong among financial institutions. Why is it so, what criteria are used by banks in selecting contractors and partners to implement rebranding projects, and what factors should be taken into account when designing office space? Galina BANDURKINA, President of Astarta Group, answered these and other questions in an interview with NBJ.

NBJ: Galina Yurievna, in your opinion, how important is the rebranding issue for the Russian banks today? One might think that they have plenty of other, more pressing tasks…

G. BANDURKINA: The transformation of any company’s office space is a reflection of the comprehensive development of its brand in the market, implementation of new ideas and technologies and reassessment of the company’s values. The office interior is like a litmus test, which immediately shows the direction in which the business is going.

By the way, our company has also recently undergone a rebranding, through which we have demonstrated our solidity, fundamentality, and transition to innovation stage in brand development.

A bank’s office is not an exception, but rather a trend setter. It is a kind of a standard of office space arrangement. It is here that all the innovation ideas and technologies in design, security and reliability are concentrated. That’s why the banking sector’s interest in rebranding is not waning even under the current conditions.

It should also be noted that top management of financial institutions has become more oriented toward the European market, and this had an impact on the office design ideas. It is sufficient to cite the example of the Vnesheconombank logo rebranding, which moved away from corporate monograms and focused on simple graphic forms, or that of the head office of Sberbank of Russia in Saint Petersburg, which implemented the latest eco-design ideas.

The largest banks of the country have already launched comprehensive rebranding campaigns. This wave of changes has begun to extend to many subsidiaries.

NBJ: If I understand you correctly, Astarta offers an integrated approach to rebranding issues?

G. BANDURKINA: A bank’s office rebranding is more than just a décor or changing the finish color. It represents a more fundamental and integrated approach to space design, involving a change of identity, technologies, internal logistics and many other things. More than 14-year experience of work in office interior design has allowed us to gather around us a pool of highly professional specialists and partners who have competence in each of these domains.

NBJ: In your opinion, what should be taken into account when setting up office space?

G. BANDURKINA: First of all, ergonomics not only for the employees of the bank, but also for its visitors, as the banks first and foremost work for their customers.

Front area interiors often feature traditional counters with windows between employees and customers, although many credit institutions switched to table service long ago. It is more convenient and psychologically more comfortable.

We should mention VIP area design separately. In addition to demonstrating the high status and reliability of the bank by using expensive materials and new technologies in finishing, it is essential to pay attention to soundproofing and internet access, in other words, to ensure maximum comfort for the customers.

NBJ: What criteria are most often used by banks when selecting partners for their rebranding projects?

G. BANDURKINA: First of all, these are work experience and portfolio of completed projects. It is important to demonstrate through the portfolio the company’s development dynamics, adherence to modern trends and implementation of new technologies. In short, each work should be showcased to demonstrate how the partner managed to accomplish the tasks set by the customer.

When dealing with the banking sector, a transparent and honest method of work with clients and contractors is quite important. It demonstrates the company’s reliability and its commitment to successful implementation of the project.

NBJ: Perhaps the price of service is very important too?

G. BANDURKINA: Rather, completion time and reliability. Of course, there is no such thing as spare money, but it is more important for any company to work with a reliable supplier rather than a one that offers the lowest price. This doesn’t mean that our company is not working on how to make services more affordable without changing the level of quality. For this purpose, we are actively implementing various innovative ideas and technologies in our own production.

However, it should be noted once again that the main criteria in selecting a partner for the banking sector remain the contractor’s reliability, professionalism and successful experience in delivering complex projects.  

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