What do your four walls say about your brand?

lobby of Epiroc headquarters

Branding is more than your company name, logo, a few colors and fonts. It encompasses any interaction that an employee or customer might have with your business — including your workplace. Let’s break down the ways a branded office environment can impact your company from the inside, out.

Creating consistency and authenticity. 

The clothes we wear, how we style our hair, our preference for mid-century modern design — these are all outward expressions of our individual personalities. And just like us, brands need to let their personalities shine beyond their websites and tweets. Now, we’re not talking about throwing up a few posters around the office or hanging banners with your four brand values spelled out in three-foot letters and calling it a day. Infusing your brand’s personality throughout your space should be done strategically (and sometimes subtly). 
 


To give you an example, if a brand positions itself as an innovator, then innovation should be a common theme people experience as they move from the parking lot to reception to meeting room to break room. This can come to life in any number of ways, including the integration of screens and technology in collaboration spaces, wall and window graphics, upholstery colors and even art installations.

Inspiring and unifying employees.

The beauty of environmental branding is that it gives you the opportunity to manifest your brand values in ways that are more tangible for your employees — allowing you to build your brand and your culture all at once. Our client, Epiroc, had first-hand experience with this.
 


After splitting from its parent company and spinning off into its own brand, Epiroc had a bit of an identity crisis. Internal surveys sent out by management even showed that many employees were confused about the direction of the new brand and were struggling to adapt to a new company culture. 
 


To help reconcile this, the president of the company moved the headquarters to a more collaborative space with intentions of making renovations that would mirror the collaborative and innovative spirit of the Epiroc brand. That’s where we came in. 

Our team worked with Epiroc to identify the values that were most important, determine what types of spaces would complement those values and provide design elements that would help foster a stronger sense of culture. As a result of the environmental updates, employee perceptions of Epiroc having a strong company culture increased by 52%. There was also a 155% increase in employees who felt energized to work in the new space.


Making a big first impression.

As the saying goes, first impressions are the most lasting. When it comes to impressing customers or hiring top talent, the last thing you want to do is provide an underwhelming brand experience the moment they walk through the front door. Here’s an exercise for you: take a friend, family member or mail person (anyone who hasn’t seen your space) on a “grand tour.” Next, ask them to provide three words that best describe their first impression of the space. The goal here is to determine if what they saw and experienced matches up with the feeling you want potential customers or talent prospects to walk away with.

Taking the first steps toward a branded space.

We know that “environmental branding” can sound like an expensive undertaking. But fear not. With the wide variety of production methods, materials and custom finishing options out there, there’s a way to create an effective environmental branding plan for pretty much any budget. You also have the option to tackle a few key areas first and then update other areas later.
 


The best way to get started is to do a walkthrough of the space with an architect, designer, building manager and a production manager from the vendor that will be producing the graphics for your space. This first step will help you begin to visualize ways your space can be transformed to align with your brand. It will also help you discover any limitations to avoid wasting time on designs that may not be feasible to produce.

Some challenges you may come across in these early stages of planning might include:
 

  • Working within the confines of an existing space


  • Confirming design constraints with building management


  • Securing city building permits (for certain installations)
  • Determining the permanency of the design or installation (i.e., will an element need to be swapped out at any point in time?)


Environmental design ideas we like.

The breadth of products, substrates and materials available today really provide the ability to find a design solution for any budget or space. Here are four of our favorite office-branding solutions

Vinyl

From temporary to permanent adhesives and finishes ranging from glossy to matte, vinyl is a versatile option for any budget and space. A great alternative to paint (even for large, solid-colored walls), vinyl can hide wall imperfections more effectively and allows PMS color matching to fit your brand palette. Vinyl can also be cut into precise shapes to fit a design or a unique wall configuration. And, there are a lot of frosted and translucent options — which are perfect for use on windows and glass panels.

wall graphic that says We Are Automation, Connectivity and Precision

Dimensional elements


Whether it’s custom-molded plastic, composite forms (letters and logos) or laser-cut PVC, metal or wood, dimensional elements can be produced in any number of ways and can keep a space from looking flat.

large Epiroc logo made of metal
Delta Dental history wall

Wrapping

Wrapping is an easy and cost-effective way to brand a generic item — like a pop machine, break room refrigerator or tabletop — or give it some visual “pop.

vehicle wraps

Pull-up banners

Easy to set up and inexpensive, pull-up banners are great for temporarily promoting specific events, spotlighting initiatives or welcoming visitors at the front door.

Remember, your company’s office is an extension of your brand. And to ensure you’re achieving brand consistency, unifying employees and making a memorable first impression, the design of your space should be approached as another element of your marketing mix.

pull-up banners

Remember, your company’s office is an extension of your brand. And to ensure you’re achieving brand consistency, unifying employees and making a memorable first impression, the design of your space should be approached as another element of your marketing mix.

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