By Laura Wallace, Owner/Creative Director at Worx Graphic Design
For the last 10 years, the Worx team has operated our branding studio out of my home. The space has evolved a few times to accommodate growth, going from a kitchen table to a garage and, ultimately, a custom built-out basement. Each day, my team came to our office through the back gate and worked as hard as if it were a “typical” office.
One day we were chatting with a client about how the office environment impacted potential clients and their team, and just like that, the perception of our basement office changed. Could we perform our work? Yes. Did it provide a reliable location for our team to report to? Yep. Did it reflect who we were as a team? Nope. The basement was fully functional, but the underlining perception that we were ‘five women that worked in a basement’ kept us from realizing our fullest potential.
As branding and marketing experts, we invest a lot of time creating consistent and visually appealing marketing strategies to create brand awareness for our clients. How a brand appears “out in the world” affects the way people think about a company. When customers or employees come to your space, how do they feel? In our case, we prided ourselves on being branding experts, but our office environment was woefully uninspired and was a missed opportunity to “wow” prospective clients visiting my basement for meetings.
Branding your internal space, no matter your location, is an essential part of your brand. A misaligned office space can reduce productivity, perception and inhibit growth. Particularly in the creative industry, your surroundings can have a tremendous effect on inspiration. Do you feel that your office best represents who you are? Do you take pride in bringing people into your space? Does it inspire you to grow and cultivate potential? If not, it may be time to brand your space.
Inside the Worx office
We found a new office space that spoke to our culture, morals, and goals. I can say that in a very short amount of time, it has elevated everything about our brand experience. We carefully selected the colors, furniture and layout of our new space, and made sure all visuals aligned with our overarching brand. In other words, the branded office space needed to have a consistent look, feel and tone as our other branded collaterals – such as our website, brochures, online ads, etc. As creators, our clients turn to us for ideas. What better way to encourage a client to invest in their brand than to lead by example?
Here are a few things we’ve discovered about branding spaces by branding our own office environment:
A well branded space supports the visual brand by supporting the mission and purpose. It gives a familiar experience that customers are used to interacting with through print and digital advertising. It supports brand standards such as color, fonts, and messaging. If you show that you care about the customers’ experiences, it builds brand loyalty and longevity.
A sense of belonging
When your office is “vanilla” and lacking character, it shows in the team pride. When your space is aesthetically pleasing, supports the overall mission, and invokes creativity, it creates an area that your team and your clients are proud to come to. It also serves as a reminder of the team’s common goal. Team morale increases, ideas flow, and people are excited to come to work.
It’s hard to be productive in a space that is unorganized, uninspired, and lacking character. By creating an atmosphere that is inviting, visually appealing, and comfortable, you help to engage your team as well as customers and prospects. The visual design invokes creativity and creates a sense of purpose while the structure gives people a clutter-free place to work. People are more productive when they are comfortable in—and inspired by—their area.
One of the things I love about space branding is the opportunity to inspire others. When a potential client walks into your space and is immediately wowed, you build an immediate sense of credibility. Through visual cues, you’re reinforcing who you are, what you do, and how it makes a difference. You’re also practicing what you preach, showing them the impact a strong brand can make.
Most people need to see to understand. Inviting people into an office that showcases a brand without having to say a word is an immediate way to reinforce your dedication and expertise. It helps guests see what is possible, increasing your chances of sealing the deal. While coffee house meetings are tasty, a meeting in a space that reinforces why a client should choose you takes the cake.
When you invest in office branding, you’re investing in your future. I can attest to the opportunities it creates, the renewed company culture it enhances, and the sense of pride it creates among your team and clients.
Laura Wallace is the owner, creative director, and resident fire-starter at Worx Graphic Design. Author of Brandstarter and founder of The Green Couch Project™, Laura approaches each project with strategic vigor fueled by possibilities. She is a calculated risk-taker and industry notable who brings to the table an award-winning, nationally recognized creative mind that knows no bounds. She is a sought-after speaker, and regularly writes about industry issues for a variety of media outlets.