Defining “brand” can be difficult. In very basic terms, it is a person’s perception of a product, service, experience or organization. As business leaders, we are constantly looking for ways to create the best impression to customers, employees, guests and prospective new hires. For this, we tend to focus on creating targeted messages that we typically promote on our website, in brochures and in advertising. One of the most important and effective ways to express your brand, however, is through your workplace.
Creating an Experience
When determining how to brand the physical workplace, you need to be clear about the principles by which your organization works and lives. These principles will be used to guide how people experience the space and will create the foundation for all aspects of design. As guests are immersed in your space, it should tell a clear story about what you represent and value.
To your guests, employees and prospective new hires, your office address and space say a lot about your business. Does it reflect who you are and what you do? Does your space have good “curb appeal?” What kind of first impression does your space makes to visitors? Is your reception area welcoming? Does your neighborhood, building and space offer plenty of amenities to staff that will keep them there for a long time? Does your layout inspire people to do their best work? Every point of contact with guests should reflect your brand, from the elevator lobby to the way you answer the phone to the cleanliness of the bathrooms. If there are areas of your office that don’t reflect your brand, think about the impressions they make. These are the things that people will remember.
Carefully planned layouts can help your staff work more efficiently, productively and happily. If you provide things like flexible furnishings, abundant amenities, quiet areas for privacy or head-down work, areas for collaboration, access to technology, good air flow and good light, it says that your brand embraces an optimal workplace for all and has a strong commitment to staff. This will keep employees engaged and connected to their work. It will also encourage behavior that’s consistent with your brand and its values. For both employee retention and recruitment, remember that engaging communities are where the best talent want to be! A clear reflection of your brand and culture will give them a reason to want to come to work every day!
Visual Brand Elements
A visual framework of messaging, graphics and brand expression can also be incorporated into office design. Brand colors, logos and messaging can be infused into the space in very bold or very subtle ways. Reflecting the brand across many touchpoints can demonstrate a unifying cohesiveness and commitment to your values and make the inhabitants of the space feel engaged, valued and connected.
Effective Workplace Branding
Basically, for effective branding in the workplace, think about the characteristics that make your company great and ways that you express them in your space. When implemented with care, it creates an immersive experience that will engage guests and enhance learning, collaboration and productivity with staff.