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This month, we kick off our monthly muse for Digital Signage Weekly. For the May issue, we are introducing our Fifth Working Paper, titled Impacting the Customer Experience at a Bank Branch through a Digital Communications Network. The Working Papers Sponsors include the following: Digital Retailing Expo; DigitalView; Diversified Media Group; GlobeCast; NEC Display Solutions; POPAI; Reflect Systems; VideoMining; the JC Penney Center for Retail Excellence at Southern Methodist University; and the Center for Retailing Education and Research at the University of Florida. The retail banking business is extremely competitive. Compounding this, consumers consider banking products and services to be commoditized offerings, essentially all being viewed as somewhat the same. Due to the competitive nature of the industry on the one hand, and the homogenized view of its product and service offerings on the other, retail banks are challenged to develop meaningful marketing activities to ensure new customer acquisition and to sell additional, higher margin products and services to current clients. This is leading many banks to invest in their branch marketing and communications by means of a digital communications network (DCN). By way of example, Citizens Financial Group-Charter One, Providence, Rhode Island, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, has a DCN installed in over 760 branches. TCF Bank, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has announced that it will be extending its DCN to over 430 branches. Also in the U.S., Synovus Financial Corporation, Columbus, Georgia, has a DCN installed in over 220 branches, and Commerce Bank, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has a DCN in over 200 branches. Many other banks, both in the United States and around the world have or are in the process of deploying such networks. Illustrations of international bank deployments include the following: Bank Hapoalim, Tel Aviv, Israel; BRD-Societe Generale, Bucharest, Romania; HSBC, Dubai, UAE; Nedbank, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Rabobank, Utrecht, The Netherlands. In this Working Paper, we detail the attributes of a branch DCN. The significance of the branch and the importance of enhancing the customer experience therein is also addressed. In addition, we delineate the major benefits to be derived from a branch DCN. Finally, concepts relative to measuring the effectiveness of a bank DCN are advanced. This Working Paper contributes to the study of implementing a DCN in a bank branch in the following ways: 1.The positive impact on the customer branch experience resulting from a DCN is detailed. 2.We demonstrate that banks tend to under-invest in consumer facing information technologies. Further, we illustrate that banks overspend on traditional forms of mass advertising. As a result, we advance that banks should redirect capital into branch DCNs. 3.We detail the significant benefits that can be realized by a bank from the deployment of a DCN. Copies of this research report can be purchase from the Institute. For further information, see: www.plattretailinstitute.com or contact us at: adm@plattretailinsitute. Also, Institute memberships are now being accepted.

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DSW For April 2007

We have received a great deal of interest in our market research offerings. We are working with the Platt Retail Institute, a leading retail research and consulting firm, located in Hinsdale, IL, to offer PRI's research papers. A brief description of these Working Papers follows. Interested parties can email me at dkeene@nbmedia.com

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Bringing Research to Retail

Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative growth of Gross Domestic Product. Before this officially occurs, it can sure feel like a recession. Like right now. Our economist friends won’t officially pronounce that the  U.S. economy is in a recession for another couple of months. But putting lipstick on a pig does not alter the fact that it is a pig, or a recession.    You might now inquire as to how we managed to find our way into this (or, as stated by two other noted economists in 1930 “this is another fine mess you have gotten me into,” MGM Films). The next logical question is, of course, how deep and how long? At the Platt Retail Institute, we like going out on a limb, because economic forecasting is not our day job, and we can’t get fired if we are wrong. Hey, at least we take a position. In any case, our response is a very straight forward: not very deep and not very long. Here is why to both.