When we think about successful brands of the world, we visualize Apple, Google, Nike, or Starbucks. These images strike an emotional chord which often times come from an experience. Most likely; we share that same emotion when we think of these brands. Think about Starbucks – we are taken to a hip and active place, filled with conversation, laptops, headphones, hustling baristas, and coffee shop jams. It’s not a logo, slogan, or uniform – it’s a culture that is derived from the lifestyle within the organization. It’s authentic and their workplace environment encourages it.
Encouraging the Brand: A Corenet & Steelcase global research study revealed how brand is expressed in the workplace. Interestingly, only 50% of employees claimed that “their workplace is designed to encourage behavior that is consistent with the brand”. This study confirms an unfortunate truth that many organizations don’t live up to their brand. What if Google spaces consisted of a sea of cubicles with primary colored stationary and screensavers? I can’t imagine that such an environment would inspire the cultural spirit which has made Google such an admired workplace.
Defining the Brand: A well-defined brand is a reflection of an organizations personality. It is a representation of its people and places. It should be authentic and should serve as a tool for recruiting and retaining like-minded talent that ultimately reinforce the company’s culture.
The right physical environment should help shape the personality and function of an organization encouraging the culture. It should tell the story and stimulate creativity by bringing together a lifestyle that represents your brand and emotionalizes the work environment.
Living the Brand: Be honest in developing an authentic message that is a true representation of you. Understand what makes your company unique and embrace it. Finally; provide the environment to foster a culture that will manifest the brand. Understand that you can define the vision, but the true reflection of your organizations message will be projected by the employees themselves and the actions of the company.
Dustin Seager, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C directs the Interiors Studio at Liollio Architecture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org