These days everyone is trying to leverage their brand to drive growth and stand out in the crowd, whether for expanding the client base or attracting talent. In today’s environment, authenticity is expected and if your brand strategy has not been holistically considered, it can be seen as a broken promise both externally and internally. Here are a few things to consider where first impression spaces are concerned.
1. Experiential Graphic Design
Adding a logo behind the reception desk is a start but no longer enough. Using Experiential Graphic Design (EGD or XGD) to convey brand is essential. EGD as described by Peter Dixon with SEGD:
“Experiential Graphic Design involves the orchestration of typography, color, imagery, form, technology and, especially, content to create environments that communicate.”
Your brand is so much more than a logo and through proper use of EGD, brand can expand to tell a story or evoke an emotion. Adding an EGD component is easy, scalable and often inexpensive compared to construction and renovation. It can be as simple as typography through dimensional lettering or wallcovering.
Often organizations will select finishes based purely off of aesthetics; however, there is so much more that can be considered for subtle reflections of brand. Paint colors are the easiest approach. Colors used do not have to be a direct match of your brand’s color palette; that often works for college athletics but not typically for everyone else. There are psychological effects of color when applied to physical space that need to be taken into account. Look deeper into your brand and culture to pull out values instead. For instance, if a company value is “integrity”, you may want to use real rather than fake woods or stones to reinforce the company’s value of being honest.
So many times the furniture solution to reception spaces is a predictable waiting room approach. While this idea may seem to make sense since these are transitional areas, the opportunity to create a distinctive experience aligned with your company’s vision and goals is far too great to pass up. If one of the goals is to foster collaboration, what better way than to accommodate your visitors with a variety of seating options with access to technology and power.
Not only do employees act as brand ambassadors at events and client meetings, but they are also on the front line in first impression spaces. Your brand and culture need to extend through these individuals through their social interactions as well as their body language and even tone of voice.
5. Celebrate the Weird
By weird I mean unique and original cultural aspects of your organization. Being able to share something fun or something uplifting goes a long way to earning authenticity points. People often think these elements belong only on social media, but they can also manifest in the built environment. I have seen it done through technology on large screens and through interpretive areas showcasing recent trophies for participation in charity events.