The Significance of Branding In Your Workplace
Most small and medium sized businesses overlook an important first step when they start their company: their workplace branding. Existing businesses need to revisit their workplace branding from time to time as well because their products, employees or services change and the marketplace does too.
· How does workplace branding differ from branding in general?
· Why is it important?
Workplace branding is an extension of your personal or your company’s brand. Your workplace (skyscraper, office, warehouse, desk, etc.) is where you do your work. The simple branding model is YOU + your passion and knowledge or a company’s collective passion and knowledge. For companies of any size successful branding begins with the honest appraisal of your company’s main business, your strengths and your customers’ needs…and how you address them. Workplace branding is like putting the clothes on the model.
If you have not chosen the location for your business, or if you’re thinking of moving or upgrading, make sure your workplace and the company’s culturally distinct workspace inside it are a direct extension of the simpler branding ideal. Be it a warehouse, an office or a trendy loft, your workplace brand should reflect who you are and how you want both your employees and your customers to perceive you.
Why workplace branding is important: 1) You, your employees and most importantly your clients will enjoy gathering and engaging in your workplace. 2) Because you’re working and doing business in your true business voice and space, you’ll feel it and people will get a stronger sense of your overall brand.
Is your building your brand? The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco is a brand. And while you may not have the resources to build that brand, having a strong sense of your workplace will help clarify who your company is, what you’re offering, and the company’s personality and culture. Result: It will actually make your marketing and operating decisions much easier.
Warm-up branding questions
Is your company YOU or are you a group of people? Are you big or are you a boutique? Retail? Wholesale? Manufacturing? Specialized or more generalized in your offering?
Do you want to be “trendy” or highly stylized—or does a more buttoned-up description fit better?
Is your current workplace part of your brand?
HOW TO DO IT: 5 Steps to Defining Your Workplace Brand
Step 1 Take all the things about your company that can or will be seen or experienced by your customers and put each of them on a white board or on big sheets of paper on the wall. We call this your brand profile.
1. Your business name, tagline and logo 2. Who and what you say you/your company is 3. How you support who and what you say you are 4. The real products or services you offer 5. Your internal day-to-day operating style 6. Your marketing communications and voice 7. Your physical space [Examples: Retail storefront. “Democratic” office with lots of windows and no private offices. Dramatic dark, brick-walled cellar with bare-bulb lights, etc.] Does your workplace form follow its function and speak consistently?
Step 2 Take a coffee break or come back the next day to look at all of the elements together with fresh eyes (very important). Do they go together? Are they consistent? Do they speak with uniformity in the same “voice” to the same person, client, customer, and market? Is the sum of the total your ideal?
“Window shop” online for buildings you like. Print photos and add those to the Step 1 lists. Check out Pinterest for color and style ideas for your “dream” workplace. Print and stick your favorites on the wall. Post photos of furniture and fixtures. Pick up paint chips, samples of wall coverings, fabrics. While interior designers and architects are great at this, they are even better at it when they see what you’ve already thought of on your own.
Step 3 Evaluate the results. Even with the inconsistencies [and you’ll probably find some] you should be able to see what kinds of clients in general would be most likely to hear and/or be positively influenced by what these elements together are saying. Are these the clients you are targeting?Step 4 Fix the inconsistencies. If you’re targeting the right clients and can fix the inconsistencies, you can get started marketing. If not, see if you have the right target customers. Carefully check your assumptions. Chat with your architect or designer, too.
Step 5 Change or replace the brand profile elements in Step 1 to make your brand voice speak clearly to the target audience you’ve chosen. Then look at all of them again, making sure they’re consistent. We’re betting that the results of Step 1 to 5 will be:
You and your employees will be sure of and united by your company’s vision and purpose;
You’ll understand more effective ways to present your brand and your workplace brand;
Your brand voice will be heard more clearly and more often, and will be reacted to more positively by your chosen audience.
Standing Out With Workplace Branding Presenting your true brand and workplace brand may take more thinking time, adrenaline-charged courage and gut-wrenching honesty, but if you try to copy the competition, you won’t seem genuine and neither will your business. Working carefully through these steps may take a few days—but it’s well worth the effort, and you’ll begin to see even before you complete them that something very exciting is happening for your company.