What do you need to consider when branding your workspace? What’s involved? And what are the benefits of incorporating it into your internal communication strategy?
We’re often asked these questions about workplace environments. Having been part of many office branding projects, we’ve been using our own experiences to consider the benefits.
We came across a new study from the British Council for Offices, revealing that 54% of respondents felt their corporate culture did not support their wellbeing. The study reminds us that the office remains the centre of working life and ‘companies must consider ways to make the physical office the embodiment of a positive workplace culture.’
Applying brand to office environments can help to improve wellbeing. In fact, workplace branding enhances the experience of employees, associates and stakeholders and can support the success of the business, reinforcing the external brand message through the organisation’s ambassadors – the workforce.
Ultimately, when implemented and supported in the right way, as part of a wider strategy, the benefits of a branded environment are powerful and far-reaching. They include enhanced employee satisfaction, retention and attraction, increased productivity, and a better understanding of an organisation’s overall philosophy.
Let’s be clear about what we mean by a ‘branded environment’
We’re not just talking about well-intentioned but haphazard logo slapping or the occasional wall in one of the brand palette colours, or perhaps pushing the boat out and using the rarely seen secondary colour palette, although we accept that this is a small step in the right direction.
Let’s think more about reflecting the culture of the organisation in the spaces and form of the office environment, creating something that echoes the essence and values of the brand and not just applying the ‘corporate branding’. This can be implement in many ways from wall art, vinyl graphics, fixtures and fittings, furniture, quirky meeting spaces, signage, way-finding, digital installations and much more, all created as an immersive brand experience. This would also be mixed with temporary ‘installations’ supporting campaigns and initiatives.
In addition, consider things that aren’t so literal. It’s not just about words and images, think about finishes and the overall office space – Are there enough quiet working areas? Does hot-desking work? What about open plan spaces? And what type of meeting rooms do you have?
Consider these additional thoughts on how you can use a branded workplace to benefit both your business and your employees –
Tell your story
Sharing the story of your business can be a powerful way to inspire individuals and generate a feeling of belonging. Use your environment to build a storyboard about where it all began, meaningful historic imagery and proud displays of momentous milestones. This can be particularly important when brand messages are delivered more through people rather than through products, packaging or advertising.
Enhance levels of creativity
We recently ran a survey which included questions about creativity levels in the workplace. Internal communicators gave their opinions on workspace design and how their environment affects levels of creativity, motivating and engaging employees. Ambient communications generate conversations, which in turn generate ideas and innovation. Respondents also commented that positive key messages are indirectly absorbed, helping to shift and lift a business culture.
Branded spaces can be a vital tool for spreading knowledge and promoting initiatives.
We were involved in a project with a client who was embarking on a Europe-wide change programme. After recognising the need for a shift in culture, Kimberly Clark devised their new Ambition Strategy and we were tasked with rolling it out. We developed creatives to be installed, applied and displayed around their offices and meeting rooms, creating emotional connections to support embedding the new ambition. This was combined with twists on brand imagery and assets making them more fun within the spaces. The creative took employees on a journey through the Ambition Strategy and beyond, reinforcing a positive perception of the business and promoting it as a supportive and forward-thinking place to work.
Support your vision and values
Work environments have a significant impact on how well employees or associates connect with the culture and brand of the organisation. Displaying key messages that highlight your vision can generate a better understanding of where your organisation is heading, reinforcing values and reminding employees how the brand should be portrayed to customers are all important.
We work closely with a dynamic firm of accountants, supporting and reinforcing their bold brand identity. After a recent expansion, doubling their office space, we rebranded the workplace to reflect The Wow Company’s vibrant personality and their own individual approach. The result was a bright and bold office space featuring inspirational ‘values’ related quotes and stimulating spaces for Wow’s bright sparks and ‘Wowees’ to enjoy.
Transforming offices and workspaces into inspirational, engaging and enlightening spaces is one of the best rewards a business can offer its employees, asserting values, fostering personal connections and enhancing wellbeing. This in turn, presents a number of ways to drive business success, creating a higher perceived value and providing a vital competitive advantage.
Take a look around and consider the difference you could make by using your environment to inform, inspire and align.
You’re welcome to tweet us @AliveWithIdeas to share your thoughts and experiences. We’d love to hear from you.