Brand: reflecting your workspace and facilities.
Brand can be a confusing concept for many businesses and business owners to get their head around. Is it a ‘look and feel’?, a logo?, a website?, a promise, a belief, a relationship, perception, a set of values, a personality, your language, your online voice, your Facebook status, or even your personal presentation or ‘image’? The truth is, it’s all of these – which admittedly complicates things further, but at the same time this highlights the purpose of the Brand Entrepreneur blogs: to educate, inform and inspire businesses, busy business owners and eager entrepreneurs to build a blueprint, step-by-step,
for business growth.
As the Brand Entrepreneur, my mission through these blogs is to explain, extract and present as much relevant information as I can about how ‘brand’ can work for you – businesses and business owners who have experienced success to date but who are looking to go to the next level and importantly feel they are ready in themselves to do so. Because brand can be a very personal experience. It asks a lot of you and demands consistent behaviour (check out the last BE blog about ‘behaviour’ here) to align with your promise. But, like a mirror, it reflects much more back to you if you invest yourself in it. Brand is therefore not something you can easily delegate.
Crucially it is about what both you AND your customers believe or hold dear. These two factors need to be ‘in sync‘ to build an effective brand. It is not however for everyone. While brand can work for everyone, the timing has to be right for you. Its a serious option for those people who understand it is a business tool for investment. That said, you may feel there is something of value in ‘brand’, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it and are gathering information that can help you discover more? If this is you, making brand ‘easier’ by following a blueprint for growth will appeal because, like most people, you’re time poor, but unlike most people, you believe and have learnt that making the time to do what needs to be done is the only way to succeed in business. Further to this, although you might be reluctant to admit it, you know deep down that you need outside help to ‘facilitate’ or ‘guide’ you through the business transition before things get out of hand or you get in too deep.
As a business owner or an entrepreneur, you’re also looking to find that one ‘someone’ out there in business who ‘get’s’ what you’re trying to achieve, can add the missing jigsaw pieces that, so far, you just haven’t found yet. What’s more, you need help delivering your unique message and building a brand identity that positions you or your organisation as a viable platform that people need to listen to. Why? Because your message is relevant and because you feel you can make much more of a difference than you currently do.
Aspirations aside, your brand needs to be grounded in reality to be relevant and congruent. It is therefore reflected in your work infrastructure and facilities. For those large enough, are your premises inviting, open and inspiring to employees and clients alike? For organisations that are truly brand-focused, these organisations understand that ‘design facility’ i.e. the layout of the premises or facility implicitly affects perceptions and builds a brand reputation.
As a website needs to be appealing, intuitive and engaging to your online viewers, that online experience also needs to be translated to the work location so your ‘brand promise’ is congruent from the journey from the digital world to the ‘real’ world – where customers ultimately meet ‘real’ people. Using a mirror analogy again, your physical office must reflect your brand – is this about conveying a sense of comfort or space, should it be well maintained and conveniently located. Yes, it’s a big ask but worth the investment if this is your space. Although online has reduced the need for traditional bricks and mortar business, you still need to work from somewhere! Even a simple home office needs to be managed and well presented.
For those smaller operators out there, where do you meet clients and prospects? Where do you grab a coffee meeting? Where do you conduct business? Is it noisy yet comfortable? That’s your brand. Is it sterile, cold and quiet? That’s a reflection of your brand. The choices you make create your brand in the mind and hearts of your customers. Poor quality coffee? That’s your brand experience. Harsh but true. Poor quality execution? That’s your brand. Let’s not forget we’re human – we’re not going to get it right all of the time, but we can apply a policy of continuous improvement to counter complacency and maintain standards and expectations. The ‘experience’, unfortunately for the cynics and disbelievers, is all part of your brand. Why? Because your prospect won’t remember what you said or did in the meeting 6 months or 2 years down the track. They’ll just remember how you made them feel. BE clear on what feeling that should be. Secure? Reassured? Relieved? Inspired? Excited? So how do you want your customers to feel or associate with your brand and work on that.
Are your office lights on, or does your team work in darkness? That’s your brand.
Air-con constantly on the blink? That’s your brand.
Front of office immaculate but behind the screen its uncluttered and chaotic?
Meeting room impressive but worker conditions a complete contrast? (I’ve been there too.)
Is the external and internal signage consistent with your visual standards?
It’s the little things that make the big difference for a brand.
On a basic level does your place of work look and ‘feel’ alive?
Yes, your ‘business’, your workspace and your facilities are absolutely your brand!
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of workshops designed to help businesses realise and communicate their ‘Why?’ to resonate with ideal customers and make a difference in the world. Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now. I’m passionate about creating brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers they care about.