Interior Design and Brand. Why it’s important for your organization

Why is branding your facilities correctly so important?

How do you want your customers (and your team) to feel when they enter your corporate spaces? One of the important things about your brand is that it is supposed to deliver an emotional conveyance of your promise. When you look at iconic brands how do they make you feel? Disney? Doesn’t that brand and logo emote a child-like sense of wonder? Of course it does, and that’s by design. Nike connects their users with their brand through inspiration and leadership. Your brand and your spaces can help communicate your brand promise as well.  You don’t have to be Disney, Nike or Starbucks to create the same feeling about your brand.

Branding is a pivotal element of your business. Your brand and it’s promise should be visible everywhere, especially in your corporate facilities where visitors and staff will gather. Branded interior design is a critical tool to enforce and strengthen your business, re-enforcing your customer bond, and improve the overall experience. A company’s brand communicates what makes them and their promise unique. A strong interior branding strategy helps them stand out against competition but it also re-enforces almost constantly the critical elements of their brand and why those pillars are important. Consider Starbucks. You may or may not like their coffee, as there are many companies who also sell coffee – yet no one can compare to Starbucks and how they deliver a brand experience. Since its founding days, in the early 1990’s Starbucks has strived to build its brand identity by offering customers a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the beginning, the experiential aspect of the brand has been consistently and effectively implemented in all Starbucks stores across the globe. Each location is unique and shares attributes about the locality it serves. This is by design and it’s genius.

Tokyo Starbucks. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Next, think about the spaces and how traffic moves through them.  Is your brand re-enforced in common gathering areas?  These are area’s such as common meeting/conference rooms, break rooms, and other areas that people may spend more time.  Maximize messaging in these spaces.  The more time visitors spend in a space, the more targeted messaging.  You’ll want to note what spaces are most inspiring and impactful (key for branding!) and which are less so (or maybe more calming and quiet). When the tour starts to taper off because you may have reached an area of desks and workstations, then you can mark that as well as a good place for specific team messaging to go.

What are the messages from your brand promise that you want to showcase in your facilities?

Brand pillars are the promises that your brand delivers on every single day; culturally, physically and emotionally. These brand pillars not only describe your culture, but they can also help steer the art direction of your mood boards (more on those later). The entire brand foundation relies on these pillars to be steadfast through the lifetime of the brand. For example, is your business clean, minimal and modern or is it fun, colorful and energetic? You can already see these adjectives immediately brought about two completely different pictures in your mind.  Your branded environment should reflect these brand pillars throughout your organizations facilities.

Determine where messages should go and how they should be designed. Depending on the style of each space, the message should try and match in the way it’s designed and produced. Start with the higher priority pieces first and then layer in the mid-tier and lower priority ones, so you know you’ll find a home for the most important elements first.  Remember who will be frequenting these spaces and adapt your message to your audience.  If you have customers, prospects, and non-employee visitors the message should be a re-enforcement of your brands pillars or promises.

Loud, brand-centric communication should go in those high traffic areas like the entryway and collision zones, as those are where branding matters most. Quieter internal company mantras can live in more calming rooms and spaces. Team specific messaging can be more utilitarian, like on a TV screen near a pillar or central wall right next to or amidst a team, especially as it may need to communicate important day to day information.


The 5 Pillars of your Brand

Setup your Mood Board.

A mood board is a collection of images, words, fonts, and colors that, as a collection, are meant to evoke a feeling about your brand. Creating an interior space mood board will help better understand, gain cohesion and communicate your brand. You can then use this board to help you decide furniture choices, an accent wall, and lighting fixtures that are in line with your brand when you start exploring design options.  Your organizational brand style guide or brand guidelines should be employed and followed here.

Much like traditional marketing, it can also be helpful to incorporate experiential office design for certain spaces or common areas to really drive home a special feeling with which visitors can actually interact. Some bigger brands will have museum or gallery elements in their lobby and reception areas, as an example.  History timelines can be an important element in an organizations common areas as well.  Consider this element in an area with passers-by instead of common areas where meeting or collaboration may be happening.  Make good use of seldom used spaces and walls to communicate a message.  These can go a long way in helping provide a consistent brand image in your facilities.

Graphic word wall
Graphic word wall with Applied Vinyl lettering

As you map things out with your team and agency, do a physical walk-through of the open office space, passing by each area, to really get an idea of the look and feel you want to communicate. Focus on each individual thing and then how the branding all ties together and what the final takeaway is. Bring colleagues on a walk through who have a good handle on the brand and aren’t afraid to share their opinions. Consider bringing in an outside agency to provide feedback as well.  Try design ideas out on team mates to see how new visitors would react to the space .If you do it right, your office design will inspire employees to stay with and advocate for the company longer, work more creatively, and increase their measure of satisfaction with being a valuable part of your team.

For more resources about branding your facilities, check out our E-book: