Debunked: Three myths about workplace branding
Maybe it’s because companies are more transparent, employees are savvier or tech companies are so progressive, but workplace branding is being widely recognized as a critical part of a company’s identity.
In the digital era, we interact with a brand in various ways. We shift seamlessly between physical and digital space, and it’s arguably more important than ever to have a cohesive, well-developed brand. One that looks, feels and communicates the same values, voice and aesthetic no matter the medium. Workplace included. While many companies have mastered their external branding, some are falling short inside their own walls.
Experiential branding inside the workplace is often overlooked or overdone.
Below, we identify (and banish) the biggest myths companies tell themselves when trying to brand their space to help you find that balance in-between.
MYTH: Your brand is most valuable externally
FACT: Your brand is critical to internal culture
Many companies only think about their brand through the lens of the marketplace as a way to attract customers and build awareness of products and services. But brand allegiance needs to start at home. It’s fundamental to company culture that people are able to experience the brand every day.
Culture can’t be seen, only felt. It’s built on the ceremonies, rituals, artifacts and language that an organization uses. Branding helps you communicate those messages, values and activities in a physical way.
This is admittedly a challenge for many companies that are deciding where to invest their dollars. But with culture comes engagement, then productivity and ultimately stronger success. An internal investment rallies people behind your company’s mission. It’s what enables them to be strong ambassadors for your organization and feel compelled to drive it forward.
MYTH: A well-branded space has a strong visual identity
FACT: Your brand is more than colors and a logo
Many people think about a brand in a two-dimensional sense rather than an immersive three-dimensional experience, which is precisely why it’s so difficult to transfer the visual strategy into a physical one.
When branding the workplace, it’s a strong initial instinct to literally brand the walls. But bringing the brand to life is more nuanced than slapping a logo on every surface. It’s about understanding your culture and creating immersive experiences that engage people at an emotional level.
That’s not to say your colors aren’t useful. But there’s a way to translate color that evokes a mood rather than a color pallete. There’s a subtlety, an art and a science to striking a balance that brings the brand to life and connects every sense.
To help people step into a company’s brand and understand its physical form, you must first understand its culture. You can’t feel the culture in a logo, but you can in a workplace. Define that piece then weave it into the office.
MYTH: Branding is the icing on a well-designed workplace
FACT: Your brand should inform design
Many companies don’t consider branding elements of a space until construction is almost finished. Not until the project is nearing completion do they realize the space could belong to any one of their competitors. Though the logo is prominent, there’s no real differentiation. The brand isn’t evident in the space.
Because branding fuels culture, which leads to engagement and ultimately productivity, it’s critical to consider your brand’s footprint at the start.
Determine how you want to behave as an organization and how your physical space can help you succeed in the market. The details dictate how teams will collaborate and communicate. Whether through furniture selection or lighting or layout, these individual elements accumulate to determine the power and impact of a space. They’re saying something about your culture and personality of your brand. Knowing what you want your space to say when it’s finished will help you make better decisions up front.
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