Brand Unity Throughout Your Building
You’ve worked hard to develop your brand online and in your marketing materials or products. Why miss the opportunity to have brand unity in your buildings, facilities and campuses? Signage and wayfinding are two of the best ways to develop cohesion throughout your built space to make a lasting impression on people using these environments. There are few more effective methods of developing brand memory in individuals than by having them experience your brand in physical space, and one of the best ways to ensure this happens is through visual cues in the environment, like quality custom signage and environmental graphics.
Your brand is central for influencing human behavior. In her book Brands: The Logos of Global Economy(2004), Celia Lury states that your brand interacts with people in a similar way as an object does –something to which feeling and action are directed, something to which a purpose or intention is fixed. Consistency in colour schemes, typography, logos and design are all crucial points in the simplest branding techniques. Some of the most successful brands in the world go beyond this and spend a long time thinking about how their brand is perceived in the marketplace, and a huge part of this is how you place and organize your brand in physical space.
This is also important if your business is a mix of numerous services that comes to be associated with a particular place. In The New Strategic Brand Management (2008) by Jean-Noel Kapferer, the author uses the example of the banking industry where customers were asked to identify bank brands and were unable to do so, naming banking places instead. Clearly place, signage and brand unity are inseparable parts of the same process.
In an article from The European Business Review in 2011, researchers explored the effects of “multi-sensory brand-experiences” in built environments. This is just a fancy way of describing how you manage your brand within a physical space and can include environmental graphics, wayfinding tools, and general signage. The result is not just a brand, but a “brand-space” in which the position of your brand is improved, individuals develop better recognition of your brand, your brand is distinguished and more memorable than the competitors, and your brand’s overall value is increased for future investment.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that other companies are engaging in space-based branding efforts and this creates an expectation in people. When they enter your buildings – whether a store, office, medical facility, transport hub or campus – what they find there directly fills their expectations or falls short of them. This works in comparison to other businesses or institutions, but also according to the claims of your brand. If your organization claims innovation and expediency, the working environment should reflect those values as well.
An excerpt from Henry Miller’s Three-Dimensional Branding: Using Space as a Medium for the Messageoffers a clearer insight into just how important this process is:
The fact is space does play a role—an unavoidable one. A company’s physical environment communicates a message whether intended or not. The only question is whether that message is carefully crafted to reinforce brand identity or left unattended to weaken it.
Enhancing a sense of place through signage, while maintaining your company’s unique voice through customized and creative design, helps to offer seamless movement through space while conducting business. The same is true whether we are talking about an office building, airport, bus station, hospital, school or retail business. A purposeful sense of place results in memorable exchanges in an environment that reinforces your image. Clients come to naturally associate positivity with your brand and memories of the experience in your carefully built spaces: the ideal end-result of branding.
 Hulten, Bertil. “Sensory Marketing : the multi-sensory brand-experience concept” in The European Business Review, Vol. 23 Iss: 3, pp.256 – 273. 2011.