Strategic Partnership Supports Landmark CU's Long-Term Growth

by Nina Penson

Having a knowledgeable and supportive force behind any business gives it the right tools to navigate complex situations, make the right calls, and support the communities that help it thrive. However, finding and vetting a well-rounded partner that will bring the right subject-matter expertise and a unique skill set to the table is not an easy task, but necessary when success is top of mind.

La Macchia Group focuses on helping clients achieve long-term, sustainable growth, growing and changing with the times. These qualities are what Landmark Credit Union wanted from a business partner when looking to begin network expansion in 2008. Now, this 12-years-and-counting partnership has helped Landmark grow to 34 branches that serve over 367,000 members across Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Incredible growth like this doesn't happen overnight, knowing when to pivot and where to prioritize the focus is critical for any multi-year plan and partnership.

Design Evolution

In financial services, delivering on what consumers of the future want means taking significant steps towards innovation and recognizing where retail design trends are going. This is and continues to be, the approach that the Landmark-La Macchia partnership takes in attracting new members and increasing brand awareness among Gen Z and Millennials. This growing segment of consumers is on the go, traveling from one place to the next and generally in a hurry. As a result, if a building design doesn’t pull them in and create curiosity from the get-go, there’s a possibility of this demographic missing out on what’s offered inside.

 

“When I think back on the partnership we’ve established with Landmark, seeing the evolution of the branch to better serve their members has done incredibly well for them. From 2008 to now, the branch has evolved, but Landmark’s commitment to their members and La Macchia’s commitment to Landmark has not changed.”

- Dave Throndson, Senior Vice President of Sales, La Macchia Group

With a new target audience in mind, the next evolution of the Landmark branch was born, including a complete revamp of the building architecture, reflected in a new prototype design that has been scaled and applied across 6 new markets from 2016 into 2021.

What is a prototype?

In architectural design, a prototype allows for quick and seamless integration of a new facility to a growing network of locations.

Landmark Credit Union discussed the idea of developing a consistent look with La Macchia Group so that it could not only stay ahead of its competition but show members and prospects that it has a sense of design elegance.

2008 to 2016_cropped

Not only has the architecture of Landmark Credit Union evolved, but in keeping with the shift to welcome a new target demographic, so has its interior design. La Macchia’s design team had a vision of creating an open and airy feel, letting natural light pour in, and creating a space that is not only inviting but refreshing to be in. Whether a commercial business client is coming in or an individual is seeking a simple transaction, a design that welcomes all is the most effective way to sustain a healthy facility image that visitors want to come back for.

08 lobby to 2020 lobby_cropped

Prior to 2010, it was common that meeting spaces meant for cultivating the consumer-to-banker relationship were open with no walls, which unfortunately meant less privacy to conduct business fully and freely. La Macchia Group helped Landmark transition from a layout that felt multi-purpose to one with designated, purposeful zones and a clean, modern aesthetic. As seen in one of the new branches opened in 2020, offices maintain the highest level of privacy and are located on the perimeter of the lobby. This floor plan opens up opportunities for larger lounge areas, beverage stations, multiple check desks, and potentially ITMs and other tech-friendly solutions to add in the future.

Reimagining a Classic

While a building and interior design are certainly signature ways to build a recognizable brand, we can't overlook the importance of names and logo marks, something La Macchia Group helped the Landmark team to better leverage. La Macchia Group is no stranger to working with financial brands and elevating them to their highest potential. Newly built Landmark branches feature a key brand element in each facility: the lighthouse. The famous lighthouse that members know well is seen immediately upon entering the vestibule, further reinforcing that brand message and maintaining branch consistency. The 12-foot brand element can even be seen from outside the building, making non-members familiar with the brand too.

Brand element_cropped

From Transactional to Relational

As Landmark continued its growth throughout the 80s and 90s, it began serving larger city suburbs of Greater Milwaukee. With eyes set sharply on the future, Landmark had a clear vision to better the financial well-being of Wisconsin residents and crafted its message of: “You’re worth more here.”  It grew to become a recognizable tagline and something Landmark members were proud to identify with.

Fast forward to post-2010 and the layout and service delivery model didn't match the brand tagline. La Macchia helped Landmark transition to teller pods that allow for more personalized and instant access to members, empowering traditional tellers to become universal relationship bankers. Not only do the teller pods enhance the member-banker engagement, but it maintains the open, free space that leaves additional square footage to work with and an easy flow of foot traffic patterns.

This upgrade in service delivery in addition to Landmark’s focus on a more appealing design aesthetic makes members feel less closed off by eliminating the feeling of separation. Spaces that encourage people to adapt, grow and change together are spaces that increase productivity and morale, and truly makes any visitor feel like their time was well spent.

Teller line to teller pod_cropped

Growing Into New Markets

Landmark Credit Union knows that the branch is far from dead. Even with the growing importance of digital and mobile channels, introducing a new branch to an area strengthens the tie between the community and the brand, acting as a critical catalyst for growth.  But finding the right opportunities at the right time is the key to success.

That's why Landmark Credit Union leveraged the experts at La Macchia Group to not only design and build a new prototype, but also to outline a plan for growth in all of Landmark's desired areas. La Macchia's experts understand the importance of growing into new markets, bringing a unique skill in assessing market potential and prioritizing strategic investments to the partnership. The teams worked together to identify and roll out the prototype branch into the following suburban Milwaukee area markets:

 

Franklin   |   Muskego   |   Brookfield   |   Greenfield   |   Glendale   |   Mequon

 

These cities that surround Milwaukee are emerging suburban areas filled with both mature and young families looking to build financial prosperity. Major commercial businesses, retail centers, and residential neighborhoods of all kinds fill these markets and make it the perfect area for any business to grow in.

As our partnership grows and evolves with Landmark Credit Union, making the right recommendations, supporting their growth initiatives, and celebrating major milestones is the biggest role La Macchia Group will continue to play. 

 

It’s true: “Our business is building yours”.

 

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