Every company’s unique culture, values, work practices and processes are what transform visions and ideas into reality. And the space in which a company resides is integral to fostering a creative and dynamic culture, and in turn, to attracting talented and committed employees to drive the brand. This is why workspace design is becoming a crucial part of modern company strategy.
Naturally, companies spend a great deal of time developing the brand’s essence, and finding ways to differentiate it in the market. As part of this process, organisational culture must focus on how to make the brand an essential part of daily company life. Without that, carefully developed brand identities will remain a mere concept and never evolve into reality.
Here are a few simple steps to creating a ‘branded culture’:
- Begin at home. Make sure to understand the essence of your company, its mission, culture, brand, people, products, etc. In addition, understand the behaviours needed to ensure that employees support the brand and culture. Only then can a space be designed to support those desired behaviours. By engaging all levels of the organisation in the planning process, it creates a better overall solution and builds company wide support for a new space, culture, and behaviours.
- Be multi-layered. A brand is an eclectic mix of different customer communications and experiences; i.e. layers. As a result, the space should be similarly multi-layered and diverse. Make use of corporate colours, logos, product imagery and messaging. Drive culture and brand behaviour through adjacencies, traffic flow, different work settings and by paying close attention to the products and materials used in the workplace. For example, a company committed to sustainability should consider energy-saving lighting, low VOC materials, etc.
- Use different symbols and rituals. Remember that product displays are important. However, consider which other artifacts and traditions can help inspire people to build the brand and culture. For example, Wilson Sports Products employees work in a sports arena-style office – not just as a marketing statement – but also as a symbol of their culture and ideals. Always express the company’s cultural tenets in the symbols, artifacts and rituals to help make the space a true representation of the brand essence.
- Think long-term. Be aware that a depressed economy does not negate the need or the ability for any company to use space to develop and enhance brand and culture. Everyone has constraints with finances and space, but that does not mean your space can’t contribute to future growth. There are always new ways to push collaboration, trust, ideas, knowledge sharing and innovation with a great use of space.