Branding Your Office: Elements and approaches to enhance your brand

When it comes to corporate branding, many Marketers focus on brand activity outside of the organizations home office.  External Marketing elements such as Websites, events, advertising campaigns become the core focus, when building the brand “at home” in their offices and manufacturing facilities is just as important.  Here we’ll look at several methods (and reasons) for branding your facilities.

The First Impression: For visitors and staff alike

google zurich 4
Courtesy of Google Switzerland

The first brand impression your visitors and employees receive is when they walk through the door of your building.  For visitors it’s the reception or welcome area.  For your staff, it’s wherever they first enter the building when they come to work.  Both of these areas need to quickly and efficiently communicate your brand promise, or your value statement.  Your logo installed behind reception or on a main wall doesn’t sufficiently do it.  Is there a message being communicated?  Is there ample lighting, warm welcoming color tones, and messaging that delivers the information your visitor should have as they enter?

For an Employee entrance, does your area welcome your staff for their work day in a productive fashion?  Are there things you need to effectively communicate to your staff as they enter?  Are they readable in large format?  A bulletin board with notices on it rarely gets any notice at all.  Consider electronic digital signage monitors or kiosks that can communicate a message and be updated in real time.  Be sure you are re-enforcing your organizations culture and values statement.  Repeating these in your facilities can be beneficial.

The building and processes as a showroom

A hallway with an organizations history timeline showing important milestones in their growth and processes.

Some organizations focus on the benefits of their processes and integrated manufacturing.  These organizations can showcase their manufacturing capabilities by making their facility a showroom that allows them to highlight processes or equipment.  Demo rooms, product showcase areas, and even overhead facility signage in large manufacturing areas can help here.  A historical timeline wall can show a process from incubation to current day capabilities.  Consider a history timeline to showcase major innovations and product launches to tell a story.

Temporary or Permanent Design elements?

Many elements of a brand can be “baked in” to the facility if it was built specifically for that organization.  Some elements can be designed in afterwards, and even more elements can be made to be modular so they can move or evolve to fit an organizations plans.

Balancing permanence and flexibility in brand expression is key as we create spaces that are meant to last for many years. When mapping a brand identity to a physical space, we must determine the unchangeable pieces, such as those aspects reflecting core principles, as opposed to the adaptable components, such as graphic elements or wall finishes. This careful balance enables the brand to remain fresh and relevant throughout its life.

Are all the players involved?

Client meeting/waiting area that can showcase products, or be used as a demonstration area. These elements can be temporary or permanent

A key factor in planning and implementing a strong branded environment is getting all the players on the same page and charting a course for what your branded interior should look like and more importantly communicate.

When determining how to brand the physical workplace, the first discussion between the organization and the design team needs to center on understanding the principles by which that organization works and lives. These principles will be used to guide how team members, clients and visitors experience the space and create the springboard for all aspects of design.

The success of integrating brand with interior environment lies in the early stages of design: discovery, information gathering, and implementation. Each space should tell a story, and the design team has a unique opportunity to mold the user experience in three dimensions. Successful environments are created when these teams are able to align a brand’s touch points with a matching quality of space.

Marketing often takes the lead on their company’s branded environment initiatives, as brand is seen as a responsibility of marketing. And yet, marketing is not always the lead, and even when they are, direction and collaboration need to have input from facilities management folks, engineering, and product marketing to ensure all aspects of construction can be accounted for.

Here are several other common scenarios:

  • Facilities is intimately familiar with electric and HVAC mapping so that newly constructed elements don’t interfere with sprinklers for example.
  • Facilities can also work with the design agency on material choices to match what’s in the building, as well as structural elements to be aware of that may interfere with installation.
  • If there is an architectural design firm engaged they work with facilities and Marketing to ensure all brand colors and materials are consistent.
  • The branded environment is sometimes focused to support only one or two departments, such as sales and marketing (Reception Areas, lobby and break room wall graphics) engineering and product marketing (Effective product display areas) or human resources (recruiting meeting room), so those departments need to have input.
  • Product Marketing pros will have in put on how best to exhibit a product centric showcase, and how the product demos will work if they are being performed in the space.

Consider large-format art and signage

Every blank space in your facility is an open canvas for which to communicate your brand promise, dramatically in a large format manner.

A large printed wall mural can add a dramatic and informative element to any blank space in your facility

Consider these following areas to create big bold graphics to help tell your story:

  • Elevator doors
  • Conference rooms
  • Common break areas
  • Employee entrances
  • Parking Garages
  • Exterior building walls

 Are all the players involved?

It is easy to overlook the importance of branding internally as well as externally as we mentioned above.  However incorporating a brand language in innovative and strategic ways is highly effective in impacting employee wellbeing. Having all stake holders involved in planning and execution is key.  For example, consistent brand thinking through material choices, thoughtful moments, and one-of-a-kind experiences cultivate a sense of surprise and resonate with one’s values and mission (they do hear me, mean what they say, etc.). This can result in a deeper staff engagement and connection to a company’s brand.  Successfully branded environments can express the values and the character of a brand through a unique and sensory combination of materiality, light, color, shape, programming, art, graphic design, and more.

To get started on your next project, contact Apogee today.