Is Your Office On-Brand?
By Steve Gilman
Your Office Space Matters
What your brand stands for should align with how your brand looks, feels, and behaves. This doesn’t just apply to your visual identity and external messaging—it matters within your office space as well. The best way to ensure that your brand is clearly internalized and communicated by employees, as well as understood by office visitors, is by designing a space that connects with the heart of your brand and expresses what differentiates you from others. This will help both employees and customers alike have a positive experience with your brand on an intuitive level when they are in your space.
Your Space Communicates More Than You May Think
Your office space is an important part of your brand experience, and it can deliver a meaningful brand experience for customers and employees alike if you are intentional about it. As someone enters your office space, they get an instant and subconscious impression of your brand.
You may want to take a few minutes to walk through your office space and experience it with fresh eyes as a visitor or new employee would. How welcome do you think they feel? What are the colors, artwork choices, and other furnishings communicating about your brand’s personality?
Example: Designing an Office That Says “Forward-Thinking”
As an example, say you want people to perceive your brand as forward-thinking. In that case, your office space should highlight your innovative side, sending messages about your ability to create unique solutions and take new approaches. One way to do this is through the use of uncommon office decorations, such as everyday items used in surprising or creative ways. There are many other ways to communicate this same message, with different nuances that might fit your brand. This kind of approach leaves people with a clear and memorable impression of your brand, even after they leave your space.
Example: A Clean, Organized Office Communicates Dependability
Another example of how your office communicates is how clean or organized it feels. If your office is tidy, people tend to feel more at ease. Because of this, they are more likely to do business with you or want to work for your company. “Clean” and “organized” are symbols of dependability and they build trust. If you want your business to project an image of reliability, focus on your space first. An orderly, clean space can provide an instant upgrade and send positive brand signals.
Let’s look at a few national and local examples of office branding.
The lobby and interior work spaces of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reinforce the foundation’s mission while encouraging people to think big.
IDEO’s offices communicate who they are: the design is transparent, innovative, and playful.
Our office at Gravity Group is welcoming, comfortable, and creative, and color is used to give it an energetic feel.
A Step Further
Every interaction your brand has with people should reflect your brand’s meaning and purpose. You can take this thinking a bit further and begin applying it to every aspect or “touch point” where your business interacts with customers and employees. Identify all the big and small touch points that could communicate positive emotional meaning. Your brand experience should ring true at every one of these moments, no matter how small.
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