The promotion of successful bank design in marketing is tied to the success of sales force as much as it is to its architecture, beauty for modern times, or efficiency of its operation. The Bank Building & Equipment Corporation advertised regularly in national publications from popular financial magazines such as Fortune to more specialized, targeted serials including The American Banker and Burroughs Clearinghouse. Many advertisements by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation tout their
creativity, team proven designers, and knowledge and experience proven around the country to produce quantifiable results.
However, each regional office was headed by super salesman that had achieved incredible sales numbers for the company and headed a sales force. They were the eyes and ears on the ground to monitor who had bought land, was getting high deposits, and decided where to place local ads. They also send mail to all the main banks in the state with reply cards seeking meetings.
As the salesmen at the top, Gander and Orabka were believers in “merchandising of space,” where the principle that sound architecture and design were vital in producing profit. Through the late 1950s, Gander led the effort to produce all marketing that was produced at the headquarters office in St. Louis.
Besides one-to-two page advertisements, several major promotional materials were produced by the company in order to further define the history, educate potential clients, and build new relationships. The following are the known promotional materials developed by Bank Building & Equipment Corporation:
1950 – 1) “What Happens After a Bank Modernizes.” Report of 50 banks that modernized between 1946-1949. 2) “Portfolio of Photos” featuring 25 of America’s most unusual, new banking quarters!
1955-56 – “Banker’s Guide to Profitable New Quarters” Including a no obligation free consultation with the company at the headquarters or maybe by telephone. Likely includes results of survey of 95 banks in between 1950-1953 showing the profitable returns of modernization.
1962 – “Time of Design: Is now the time to build new quarters?” Also had a fifteen-minute color film called TIMING available and could make arrangements to screen it for them.
1963 – “How to take the risk out of remodeling.”
Regional Office Locations
Internally, the company’s saying was that even though they are a national company, all their business is local. Therefore, they built a network of regional offices to serve the country better. During the Era of Growth and Prosperity (1950-1965), the regional offices included the following locations:
1950 – St. Louis HQ, New York, San Francisco, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans
1952 – St. Louis HQ, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta
1955 – St. Louis HQ, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Mexico
1956 – St. Louis HQ, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Mexico
1963 – St. Louis HQ, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas
By the early 1950s, other popular industries had begun the widespread use branding. Beyond just their signage, branding came to include the full architectural design of structures such as hotels, motels, restaurants, and gas stations.
The Bank Building & Equipment Corporation of America was largely responsible for ushering in the ideas of branding to the banking industry after World War II. As the company was involved in the hotel/motel and restaurant industries through design, construction, and remodeling, they were able to implement the same practices with the banking industry to the same great efficiency as constructing a stand-alone bank. However, branch banks that now incorporated similar design elements became that much more efficient and affordable to design and build because a template existed for their production.
One of the first bank branding projects involved the series of banks built by Perpetual Savings Association in Washington, D.C. and Maryland over the span of twelve years.