Helping the world prosper one cup at a time

Heard the one about the bank that built a coffee shop? And then gave away the coffee for free? No, probably not, because that’s never been done before.
But now, incorporating a personal interactive experience has become one of the leading drivers in consumer behaviour. And Absa bank, a member of the Barclays group, has launched a one-of-a-kind in-bank pop up coffee shop, Prosper Café, as an extension of its Prosper campaign, which encourages consumers
to ‘prosper’ in all that they doIn a move that “pushes the boundaries of its brand-consumer engagement
and transcends the limits of traditional creative communication”, Prosper Café offers consumers an “engaging brand experience”.
The idea
Lauren Daniel, brand manager, marketing and corporate, explains the thought process chain behind the shops: “We want to engage our clients in a different way, moving away from product push marketing and personalising the experience. We have been working with our creative agency, The Jupiter Drawing Room, for the past year to conceptualise an activation experience that would support our Prosper campaign. We
wanted to create an activation that could be used across the bank, that would reinforce the Prosper promise and that would activate all the senses, not just the visual and auditory senses stimulated through traditional media. Not only does Prosper Café meet all these requirements, but as a scalable, mobile pop-up store that comes in a kit format, it’s economical too. Prosper Café is undoubtedly one of
our most exciting marketing activations in recent years at Absa.”
She says, Prosper Café integrates all Absa’s marketing activations and promotions, furthers its Prosper
messaging, fluidly crosses multipleaudiences, and can be used by all Absa business units as needed, “ensuring a consistent and engaging brand experience, every time”.
According to Dana Cullinan, creative director at The Jupiter Drawing Room, the creative team was very specific in its choice of coffee as a medium. “Coffee has been bringing people together for centuries, and activating all five senses for just as long. Prosper Café gave us an opportunity to pair this with a space that offered multiple communication contact points. It was an idea that allowed us to connect brand and consumer in a unique, authentic and refreshingly unexpected way.”
The premium coffees and red espressos and cappuccinos served at the coffee shops are exclusively blended for the café from sustainably-sourced 100% arabica beans. “These beans are sourced from Honduras, Colombia, Burundi and Uganda, and the tea from local rooibos farms, reflecting the global, African and
South African footprint of the Barclays brand,” says Daniel
Furthermore, as an extension of the Prosper philosophy, “which hinges around stimulating and facilitating the hopes and dreams of ordinary people… Prosper has been incorporated through the coffee
beans which are sourced from companies employing transparent, fair trade policies such as the Rainforest Alliance to the product collateral messaging on coffee cups, stirrers, sugar sachets and complementary chocolates. In displaying infographic narratives of the stories of the organisations and people we have chosen to work with – including Coffee Kids and The Long Mile Coffee Project – on the most prominent piece of coffee shop real estate, the store counter.”
Both Coffee Kids and The Long Mile Coffee Project work to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable
livelihoods by transforming landuse practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.
The pop-up café will also be used at Absa sponsored events, such as the Absa Cape Epic, KKNK and L’Atelier, offering what is essentially Prosper coffee (a premium ground coffee especially blended for the bank). The coffees will be brewed and served under the leadership of renowned South African coffee personality Alessandro Morrico. Trained in Italy, Morrico is one of only four South African, World Barista Championship-certified judges and the only South African to obtain an acclaimed SCAE Coffee Diploma from the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. This is a diploma that is made up of over six different diplomas achieved over five years.
Says Daniel: “Absa is a brand that prides itself on being innovative and driven by the belief that everything we do should serve a purpose. This is a one-of-a-kind concept and we are extremely optimistic that the idea will be implemented throughout our consumer base.”
Barclays Africa’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it has majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. It also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria. Barclays Bank PLC has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe which are an integral part of Barclays Africa’s African business and continue to be run by Barclays Africa operationally.
Barclays Africa Tel: +27 011 350 4000;

And in international news …
Capital One Financial Corp‘s new Boston office opened recently, with no tellers. The firm is expanding a “cafe” format in which visitors can get gourmet coffee and free Wi-Fi but can’t sit with a banker who will open an account for them or drop off a loan application.Instead, employees steer customers to its website and answer questions about the bank’s services. As it has in other locations, the company will also probably host occasional alcohol free “appy hours” that promote the smartphone apps of local businesses.
Capital One sees the cafe format, which it is using at several locations around the US, as a way to promote the bank’s brand without employing large numbers of tellers.
– The Wall Street Journal, Is This a Coffee Shop or a Bank?