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Why Spaces Must Do More Than Connect

Matt Freedman

BY Matt Freedman /

What types of spaces spark excitement? What about spaces that catalyze action?

Every consumer has favorite brands and favorite brand experiences. When a branded experience resonates with us, it’s often because we have realized both a rational and an emotional connection to the brand.

The rational portion of the connection equates to how we think about the brand. It enables us to make decisions about how we will be likely to engage with the brand in the future as well as how we will talk about it to others.

More importantly, the emotional connection with the brand tugs at our heartstrings and will work to illicit specific feelings. If we don’t connect emotionally with the brand and its related experience, then any type of rational communication will often fall flat.

As companies and institutions think about their strategies for engaging associates and visitors in physical space, it’s important not to overlook how to make the experience truly memorable—by conveying a desired action. It’s the branded experience trifecta.

What do you want your audience to do? That depends on the desired audience. If it’s an internal audience, we might ask our associates to perform an action that reinforces their pride in the company or that upholds existing behavior.

One famous example of this is quite simple. The last thing that football players at the University of Notre Dame see before they step onto the field is a sign that says, “Play Like a Champion Today.” It’s a specific call to action that’s a direct extension of the brand. It’s about achieving excellence and playing the game with honor. The sign specifies nothing about winning the game. Instead, it empowers the players to play a style of football that has been excellent for many generations.

For external audiences, we might want to create greater understanding and appreciation of our brand in order to catalyze greater brand advocacy.

A strong example of this is at Marburn Academy in New Albany, Ohio. As part of the environmental branding in the school’s new building, one of the more notable installations features a highly dimensional version of the institution’s logo. This intentional design directly correlates to the tactile learning style emphasized by Marburn. It’s a simple tactic that ultimately resonates with audiences who are just beginning to understand what’s unique about the Marburn brand.

Marburn Academy features a highly dimensional version of their logo to promote tactile learning
As you consider your strategy for branded space, it’s important to not lose sight of the emotional and rational messages that will connect with your audience. But if you truly want to engage, inspire, and motivate, then consider dropping a fluffy message and use more direct and imperative language. It will add a little bit of fuel to propel your brand.

Take your space to the next level!

Matt Freedman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Freedman

Matt Freedman is the Senior Vice President, Branding at Continental Office. He has been building brands and leading teams in both agency and client settings for more than two decades.

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Tags: Branding, Experiential Design

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