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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Live the Brand by BDG Architecture + Design

Adam Childs, Senior Associate and Creative Director, BDG Architecture + Design, discusses the importance of branding beyond the logo and into the workspace.

Of the near 500 business leaders BDG Architecture + Design surveyed since the pandemic began, ‘company culture’ has been identified as the second biggest challenge to long term remote working. The value of the office as an essential component of a thriving company culture, is now realised in boardrooms up and down the country.  Great workplaces can be the glue that connects people with purpose.

In the new hybrid working reality, people are spending less time in the office – so when they are in, companies need to make that time count. The relationship between culture and brand in the workplace is symbiotic. Brand is the outwards expression of a company’s DNA, with culture the internal demonstration of it. In a connected and socially networked world, companies increasingly can’t get away with saying they are one thing, whilst doing another. The office provides a unique opportunity for a business to live what it believes. When a space effectively communicates what a company values it can organically shape behaviours and create a sense of cohesion between people and work goals. When these things align, authentic culture can grow, and the brand can be felt and experienced. For this to be successful its application must be more than skin deep.

The first, and fundamental step to branding a workspace, is establishing that brand isn’t essentially a logo or ad campaign – these are merely symbols of brand. A brand is who an organisation is, what it does and what it stands for. Like a personality, it’s multi-faceted, layered and evolving. Workspaces should be the physical manifestation of brand and what makes it purposeful and unique. When you take the logo off the wall you should still know whose space you are in.

The marketing departments tool-kit of brand colours also comes with a health warning. Typically designed for web or print applications, bold colours can easily overpower interiors, blowing away any subtlety, nuance, or moments of discovery. It’s brand that’s simultaneously superficial and applied by sledgehammer. Colour and tone should form a part of the visual storytelling in an office but shouldn’t define it.

Work Space
Work Space

People are in constant dialogue with their surroundings, piecing together messages and cues to build a picture of the world and their place in it. Each touchpoint in the office provides an opportunity for a business to make a statement about who they are and how they do business. This works across multiple scales from the biggest concept to the smallest detail. Successful branded interiors are far more than just using the logo, the strapline, and the corporate colour.  The brand is baked into the architecture through the type and sequence of spaces, to the selection of materials and how they are put together. It’s augmented by the hospitality offer, the technology and the atmosphere and it’s brought to life by the people, their activities, and the interaction.  Businesses should take a multidimensional approach to brand with the understanding that the more these touchpoints correlate, the more the experience feels authentic, genuine, and compelling.

The workplace has the power to bring a brand to life. This can connect people to the purpose and values of a business, shape behaviours and contribute to a thriving work culture. In a hybrid working model, this is more important now than ever.


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