A branded environment can be a key touchpoint in the experience of your organisation’s brand.
A branded environment extends the experience of a brand or distinguishing characteristics as expressed in names, symbols and designs, to the design of interior or exterior physical settings. There is no more tangible expression of a touchpoint for a brand than the physical embodiment of the built environment in which it’s encountered. Achieved through architecture, interiors, lighting, graphics in spaces such as an airport lounge, corporate headquarters, retail outlet, showroom, trade-fair booths or office environments.
Your brand is a promise and that’s a collection of perceptions and emotions in the mind of a customer or user that add value and enable choices. Strong brands are consistent, they know their audience, they differentiate with memorable experiences, and they inspire positive emotions among their users or audiences. A brand may be experienced in a variety of media and forms. These branded touch-points can include a website, a piece of printed collateral, a television commercial, an event or experience, or any other form of communication. These are all relevant and practical methods of connecting to target audiences, but your branded environment has the potential to create a long-lasting impression for your intended audiences when they encounter your brand.
Where should I start with a Branded Environment?
While there is a multitude of ways to approach a new environmental branding project to ensure it’s both impactful and lasting. Your branded environment should tell your brand’s story and reiterate what you stand for. Blending space planning, interior design with your brand strategy and visual uniqueness in a way that considers how and why people interact with the location, anticipates their needs and evoke the kind of emotions they should be feeling. You need an accurate and authentic translation of your brand strategy so that your brand can be conveyed through the whole branded experience.
Done well you can create an emotional connection with the brand—think of Hamleys in London, Disneyland or Apple, all let you experience the brand in a way that enhances your experience. Done poorly, it can lead to brand confusion and dissonance.
Your brand’s attributes have strong functional and emotional associations assigned by consumers. Tangible visual aspects might include a “connection to nature” that is brought to life as abstract patterns designed in the architecture or organic materials incorporated throughout the interior of a space. Non-tangible attributes like “honesty and transparent” might be communicated with design features like open spaces and vision glass.
Who benefits from Branded Environment?
Does your environment reflect your corporate culture?
Tangible visual aspects might include a “connection to nature” that is brought to life as abstract patterns designed in the architecture or organic materials incorporated throughout the interior of a space. Non-tangible attributes like “honesty and transparent” might be communicated with design features like open spaces and vision glass. Purely focusing on external audiences can result in a mismatch if it doesn’t correlate with the culture and environment internally. Your employees can be your biggest brand evangelists for your company and maybe the first port of contact for your customers. Imagine an environment that embodies the company’s values and set the stage for you to communicate with employees.
What are the benefits of Branded Environment?
There are three main areas of benefit with a branded environment are.
Inform – Getting people to understand your brand. Getting people to where they need to be. Showing them how to engage with you.
Engage –Building emotional affinity for the brand through messaging, digital experiences and space design that aligns with the brand essence. branded environments can be very effective in attracting and retaining top talent for your company. Especially in corporate offices, employees place a lot of value on the character of the space they work within. Introducing inspiring and energising visuals that communicate your brand helps staff to feel that they are part of your brand’s meaningful purpose.
Inspire – Encouraging people to take action, whether interacting with a digital kiosk, talking with someone, picking up collateral to take home, or sharing the experience with friends.
No matter if it’s a retail store, hotel, restaurant, company headquarters or local office, branded environments combine architecture, interior design, graphic design, technology and features to create a holistic user experience. At a minimum, all branded environments should provide a clear route for accomplishing a set of tasks or intuitively moving people through space. But a truly memorable environment – the kind that can make a lasting emotional connection – is able to accomplish all three of these goals simultaneously.