We live in a world where consumers have increasingly deep and complex relationships with the brands they favor. Marketers understand that branding is no longer confined to business cards, billboards and websites; it’s an all-encompassing experience that creates more profound connections between customers and companies. But what about employees? More than ever, people want to derive a sense of purpose at work, and companies that are people-focused are looking at their organizations from an experiential standpoint. They’re connecting employees to the organization and each other by expressing the brand throughout the work environment.
If your company is implementing a rebrand — whether due to merger/acquisition or for other strategic reasons — this is the ideal time to re-imagine how the brand lives in the workplace.
Three ways to create a high-impact branded environment for your stakeholders
Build pride in the new brand
Any rebranding initiative sparks change in the organization, and it may be difficult for employees to get behind the change. They wonder what it all means, how their jobs will be affected, and whether they’ll be reporting to a new manager. Work may feel different, right when they walk in the door.
Representing the values and mission of the brand throughout the office space reminds employees of their personal connection to their work. Even simple brand expressions — updated color palettes, quotes stenciled on the walls, spaces that encourage collaboration — engender pride among the team. What’s more, an inspiring, energizing workspace can help your company retain top talent. It can be a strategic HR asset in an increasingly tight labor market.
Get employees involved
Before rolling out the brand in the physical space, it’s important to gather input. What’s important to employees in their work environment? What would they change? Can they participate? For example, you might create a half-day work session where staffers can help paint walls or update the décor. Perhaps there’s an interactive gallery or wall where and employees contribute to what’s displayed. Lighting and illumination may be adjusted for monthly employee-driven events, or employees can choose favorite brand images to share. If the goal of a branded environment is to deepen the relationship between people and their work, then you’re smart to invoke the brand’s values of trust and communication to involve them in the process.
Make simple, cost-effective upgrades
In the rush of a rebrand implementation, the workplace may be low on the priority list. Some marketers think of the branded environment as an all-or-nothing proposition: You have to invest big dollars in renovating the entire office or leave everything exactly as it is.
In fact, there are creative and cost-effective ways to bring the brand into the office environment. Here are simple ways to tell your brand story throughout the interior, including:
- Simple adhesive lettering or graphics can be inexpensively produced and applied to office walls. Represent the brand’s vision for service, respect, collaboration and other tenets through words and phrases that inspire employees.
- Update naming and signage for conference rooms and other communal spaces — using language that reflects the brand values.
- Give the space a quick visual makeover by painting key walls with the new brand colors.
- Refresh reception areas with the new brand identity and color scheme.
A simple paint job or wall décor is the base level of investment in the branded environment. As budgets allow, you might consider retaining an interior design firm to renovate furniture and materials or, at the high end, an architect to fully redevelop the space.
Here’s an example of how a creative approach can produce as much impact a big budget re-do. BrandActive is working with a technology company that renamed itself after a merger. Part of rebrand implementation is expressing the new brand in their office environments. The plan includes brand patterning to bring rich texture to walls and large, bold images to communicate the positive impact of the brand on humanity. The brand vision and values of this tech company come to life through quotes and statements using dimensional lettering. The overall effect is evocative and inspiring.
Branded environments support engagement. Let this human connection inspire the way your brand exists in the physical world. And it’s not necessary to have a big budget—small details can create a big impact.