March 22, 2017by Margot Leong

3 ways to make sure your office reflects your company’s brand

Image and experience are everything in the ongoing battle for customers and talent. To do this well, you need a strong brand — a philosophy that defines everything from expectations and customer service to product design and tone.

It should also impact the look and feel of your office, a challenge that’s now been passed on to you. What should you do next?

Decor is part of the answer — but you can’t stall there. In fact, that isn’t even the best place to start. If your office looks like it’s part of your brand, but your organization’s values aren’t reflected in the way people work and interact, the disconnect is hard to hide.

Bringing a brand to life isn’t easy, but there are experts who can point the way and companies already walking the walk. Here’s a look at three things to think about as you get started.

Know your brand

Branding is the entire experience someone has with your company, and it starts the moment you land on their radar.

“Almost any person who comes into contact with your organization can influence your brand perception — from employees and contractors to unsuccessful applicants, unhappy customers, and more,” Deloitte noted in their report, Branding the Workplace. “You are responsible for ensuring that the real-world experience of working with your organization matches the competitive brand proposition you intend to convey.”

That impression isn’t built on logos and paint colors. At its core are the values that should permeate your organization — easier said than done, but also an essential part of being competitive.

Making sure your brand is aligned is also important as Millennials and Gen-Z start to dominate the workplace; it doesn’t top their list of priorities, but it is something they take seriously. A report by PwC predicts employer brand will become a bigger factor as an improving economy gives people better employment options.

Bring your brand values to life

As explained by Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany, brand values should encourage specific types of behavior. “They should guide all aspects of business, from the decisions we make to the talent we source to the way we interact with customers.”

What does that look and feel like for your organization?

It’s a goal that Headspace, a digital service focused on meditation and mindfulness, has taken to heart. Francis Aquino, Headspace’s Workplace Experience Manager, told Envoy he’s always looking for ways to incorporate values into workplace experience.

“We have three values at Headspace: authenticity, creativity, and kindness,” he said. “These values impact everything from the way we interact with co-workers, the way we work, how we use our physical space, to the language we use.”

This translates into features such as:

  • Collaborative spaces, where “impromptu meetings can happen or [employees can] just hang out with each other.”
  • Breakout areas and colorful sofas that encourage people to step away from their desks and give them mobility to work anywhere in the office.
  • Spaces where employees can put things on pause and get away, meditate, or nap. “One of the more popular rooms in our office is our Silent Room. There are just two rules for this room: no technology and no talking.”

Choose features with meaning

Another piece of advice from Aquino: Workplace experience is all in the details, and every detail contributes to your environment.

While office layout can influence the way people behave, it’s also a canvas that can show people what your organization is all about. For example:

  • Find ways to share your brand’s story. Use photos, design, even an actual timeline to highlight where your organization has been, what it does, and where it’s going.
  • Link design to your brand’s style and tone. How can you visually bring your brand off the page — or website — and into your space? Signage is an easy way to step away from the norm while adding personality and character around the office. (Check out these awesome examples from Perkins+Will‘s Meena Krenek!)
  • Think of creative ways to highlight your customers. If you’re a company that cares deeply about your customers, figure out ways to tell their success stories within the workplace. Highlighting your customers’ successes both impresses your guests and inspires your team. Looking for an easy way to start? Frame photographs of your customers, along with their testimonials and put them around the office.
  • Look for threads that tie you to your guests. From digital displays that showcase customer projects and feedback to interactive objects that let them have a bit of fun with your brand, there are a lot of ways to find common ground with the people who visit your office.

A well-branded workplace is a daily reminder of what you do and what you stand for. Get it right and you can do more than wow visitors and employees: You’ll make a lasting impression that inspires and gets people talking.