The most significant brands in history accomplish an extraordinary feat: They communicate essential truths about a business, team, or product, often with little more than a logo and a specific color palette. When thinking of these great brands, I immediately go to Apple to conjure the spirit of curiosity with a classic logo — while instilling a sense of serenity with a silver and white color scheme. But perhaps one of the most compelling elements of Apple’s brand is its in-store experience. You walk through the large glass storefront, surrounded by whites, silvers, a clean scent, and calming wood-grain surfaces. The space is free of clutter and feels wide-open — like the brand. The conceptual unity across every store location is part of a larger strategy known as environmental branding.
This unparalleled attention to detail works, considering Apple stores generate over $18 billion annually. But you can be something other than a Fortune 100 powerhouse to benefit from environmental branding. Nor do you need to be in retail, as I’ve helped Findsome & Winmore clients unlock the potential of office environments through environmental branding. Our Orlando HQ illustrates the power of environmental branding — a testament to the belief in the importance of your office being both an experience and an extension of your brand.
What is Environmental Branding?
In the nearly 20 years I have worked in marketing, I have developed a passion for branding. I decided to expand my knowledge during COVID-19, further seeking how branding can apply to Interior and Environmental Design (another passion). I chose a commercial and residential staging/environmental branding certification to help our clients gain a more cohesive visual example of a company’s mission and values.
Look around, whether you’re in the office or a line at the grocery store (did you remember to get milk?) and consider your experience in a recent environment. Maybe you’re staring at plaster-white walls or getting a headache from fluorescent overhead lights. Either way, your existing space can benefit from environmental branding.
No matter your setting, your environment is a storytelling opportunity to communicate truths about your brand, team, and culture. And in the same way we dive into your brand’s essence for visual assets, we leverage environmental branding to tell your story — only on a different, larger canvas. The result is a closer connection to customers and employees (think Apple store) with a better understanding of who you are simply because you share the same space. Even if just for a moment.
Why Does it Matter?
In a recent survey, 81% of office-working respondents said poor office environments were reason enough to reject a job offer. In other words, you could have name recognition, industry acclaim, and all the other alluring attributes that attract top talent. But if your office environment doesn’t truly reflect your company, these opportunities might slip through your fingers. From the wall art to the furniture arrangement to the choice of chairs in the reception area, your space should indicate who you and your employees are, what you stand for, and why there’s no other business exactly like yours.
Environmental branding can be as simple as dressing your interior in your brand colors or as complex as knocking down walls to create an environment as open and collaborative as your team — just like we did when we moved into our current space. In line with our flight-inspired branding, vintage travel ads and our firm’s “Flight Plan” can be found around every corner. If you’re unsure how to embrace environmental branding, I can dive into your “Why?” and help you create the atmosphere and ambiance your team and business deserve.
Why Companies Are Embracing Environmental Branding
While environmental branding can be the differentiator needed to attract top talent, the reason companies are adopting this approach is more visceral: environmental branding immerses employees, visitors, and key stakeholders in a company’s secret sauce for our client like Ashar Group — an idea reflected in the firm’s office environment—the Ashar team’s calming, solutions-oriented approach to office furniture and color palettes. “We treat our physical office space as a reflection of our company culture and brand. If done correctly, the office environment will inspire pride and confidence for clients and team members”, Aliah Cook Director of Marketing, Ashar Group.
We used environmental branding for the Children’s Home Society to integrate elements of the brand manifesto into team member touchpoints. Murals with photographs of smiling children and the “We do good” tagline remind employees that their work makes a massive difference in the lives of children and families. The outcomes of these environmental branding exercises differ for each client. Still, the objective is always the same: Shaping the office environment to reflect the company’s mission, values, and goals.
Transform Your Environment with Findsome & Winmore
Because of my experience with environmental branding, we have recently begun offering this service to clients — using environmental branding to execute brand visions of our design.
Whether you’re trying to attract and retain talent, stand out to clients in your industry, or create a more engaging and inviting setting for your team, environmental branding can help you accomplish these goals and then some.
Do you want to learn more about environmental branding and how we can help transform your space? Let’s get the conversation started.