A little quiz. Look at the images below, then match each with one of the following companies:
- University of Cincinnati, Rhodes Research Center
- Intuitive Surgical
- Getty Images
The answers are at the end of the article, but chances are you got them all correct. Why? Because they are well branded, even though there is no logo.
Branded space isn’t just slapping a logo on a wall. Sure a logo on a wall qualifies, technically, as branded space. It’s a space and you have branded it. But that isn’t really what we are talking about.
What is branded space? What does branded space do for your company? What should it do for your company?
Branded space is where you immerse your audience in
- your brand image
- your brand story
- your brand vision
When you work with architects, they will refer to this work as environmental graphic design. This is where they pay attention to the art, the signage, and the wall treatments. This can get into weedy details like how the restrooms are labeled. The designer probably won’t focus on your brand story or vision. But they do try to communicate your brand personality.
The lobby spaces in the photos have good environmental design. But they have something more. They have a strong brand message.
As marketers, we focus on how you are communicating your brand message in your physical space. There are a few ways our industry will label this effort. Brand space and brand environment are pretty common terms. But there is no universally agreed-upon label.
We at TeamWorks decided to call our practice group the Branded Space team.
What does our Branded Space team do? We look at the environment where your audience has the opportunity to engage with your brand story. That can be your lobby, your visitor center, and pretty much every public room at a museum, corporate headquarters, or educational institution.
Branded space is every physical location where people interact with your brand, whether you have put branding up or not.
So even if your lobby area is just a desk, a logo, a chair and a lamp, visitors will believe it was decorated to communicate some essence of your brand. For example, if your lobby photos are stock images from 1988, you are communicating to every visitor that your brand isn’t modern. And trust us, every visitor through your doors knows those images are ancient.
But your branded space can do much more. It can give your audience a sense of your brand history, mission, vision and values, even if your visitor is only in that space for 5 minutes.
Look again at the images. These lobbies are not cluttered or busy. They aren’t Las Vegas light shows. But they give you a strong sense of each company’s purpose. When you find out what the companies do, your response to the design is, “Well, of course. That makes sense.”
As you walk out of your office today, stop and look at what others see. What are they learning about your company? Is it what you want them to learn? Are you sending the message you want to send about your brand?
If not, then it might be time to consider investing in some branded space work.
A) Getty Images Chicago Office, designed by Box Studios
B) University of Cincinnati, Rhodes Research Center, designed by Downing Displays
C) Intuitive Surgical, designed by Group Delphi