Workplace branding is more prevalent than ever. This means that basic environmental branding is table stakes. The onus is on employers to be more thoughtful and strategic about their branding to provide a holistic and authentic branded experience that will resonate with their associates, business partners, and clientele.
While there are a multitude of ways to approach a new branding project to ensure it’s both impactful and lasting, here are some important questions to ask yourself before you invest in a branded environment:
How can I leverage my existing brand guidelines to inform our branded environment?
A thorough review of existing brand strategy is the best place for a design team to start when it comes to concepting a branded environment. The guidelines will provide for the most accurate and authentic translation of your brand strategy so that the basic tenets can be conveyed through the branded experience.
We have so much to communicate via a branded environment. Where should we start?
Keep it simple and remember that with branded environments, less can be more. Start by considering why you need a branded environment. Is it to instill pride in your current workforce? To help with recruitment of future associates? Once you answer the question of “why?” then you can move on to the question of “who?” Who are you trying to reach? Consider working with an outside firm to complete a journey audit to analyze what zones throughout your workspace are most likely to reach different audiences. Finally, once you’ve answered why you need a branded environment and to whom you’re communicating, then you can best focus your message and what you want to convey to each audience. Make sure that the message is direct and meaningful to each audience that you’ve identified.
Should our branded environment reflect or communicate our corporate culture?
There is likely a portion of your branded environment that can and should reflect your corporate culture. But those opportunities should be limited to areas that are accessed mostly by your current associates. Too often, we are asked to communicate a company’s culture in areas that are mostly focused on external audiences. While your visitors and business partners might perceive that you have a positive culture, it’s hard for them to correlate that culture with reasons why they should do business with you. Instead, consider communicating aspects of your brand that will instill better understanding of your brand so that your visitors and business partners are more likely to become brand ambassadors and brand evangelists for your company.
I work with a great agency. Should I let them work on my branded environment as well?
Most companies can be well-served by aligning with a basic ad agency or “full service” agency to complete a variety of marketing needs. But before investing a sizeable investment in environmental branding, it’s important to make sure that you have the right agency partner. Be sure to review their recent portfolio of similar projects and ask how much of the work will be done in-house as opposed to being outsourced or completed by a freelancer. Also ask if there is a trained interior designer on staff who can consult with the graphic designers to make sure that the branded environment works well with the holistic design scheme for your workplace.
A new branding project doesn't have to be overwhelming for you or your business. By asking yourself these questions first, you'll be well on your way to bringing your brand to life in your space.