What defines innovation? I don’t know how much attention you’ve paid to the Capital One Café advertising – Banking Reimagined – but if you’re like me. Not much.

Marketing Innovation

The company has done a good enough job that the basics of its concept are readily understood: Capital One has a café. This is Banking Reimagined. 

But in a financial services industry where two of the biggest hurdles have been engaging and building loyalty with the millennial audience and acquiring new customers, these cafes can be viewed as downright groundbreaking. They’re meeting their audience in an organic fashion. 

They especially caught my attention one weekend in New York, when I saw a café in a terrifically awesome location on a really warm weather Sunday.

  • Space to hang out and connect? Check!
  • Coffee? Check!
  • Coffee at a discount? Check!
  • Well-placed locations with meeting rooms available to rent? Check!
  • Friendly money coaches on site? Check!

Bucking trends

What does it take to make a consumer change their bank? Is it the $50 offer you get in the mail? The up to  $350 offer you get in the mail? Or is it fallout from a bad customer service experience?

For more years than I care to count, those seemed to be the (tired and somewhat risky) ways to do it.

With its café concept, Capital One is making a bet that people will value a space that helps alleviates the stress of banking – and tears down the barriers of communication; offering coaching and service on site in a friendly format. After all, money stress is the biggest stress that most of us have.

Capital One believes that banking should fit into your life and not the other way around. Their brand is now defined in part that way.

This is the sentiment that gave birth to the entire dot.com boom. But in the COMPLETE opposite way – since shopping online and avoiding brick and mortar has been the trend.

Having a vision

How would that pendulum swing? Could that pendulum swing?

This bold vision of how to value customers’ time offers so much more. Real connections for real people. It’s so much more than a retail presence. And it begs the question of what other industries might capitalize and make this a trend.

Walking down the street, stopping in a cafe to talk…AND maybe doing business too. Without any strings…who knew?