Despite today’s focus on online marketing, there is nothing that matters quite so much as the impression made by your business premises. They are the nerve centre of your operations. They affect how customers, trading partners and potential funders perceive your business, and they’re vital in helping to build your brand. How should you go about embedding that brand within them?
Extending your style
The first step is to recognise that, while your logo and colours are important, your brand identity is bigger than that. It’s about your organisation’s values and personality. It should be visible in every aspect of the architecture and design of the space. Think about the mood you want to create. Is it warm or cool? Friendly or authoritative? Sleek, quirky, modern, traditional or family-focused? These factors will affect how you arrange the space, the materials you use and the overall impression you try to create.
The first thing people see when approaching your premises is of course the facade. If you run an eatery, a garden centre or a similar business, it could include an outdoor space, giving you room to send a message with banners, awnings, parasols or even flags. You will almost certainly have room for a sign and perhaps for chalk signage that changes daily. The Wholesale Glass Company can turn your front window or glass doors into a sign. They can apply the name of the building/business, a company logo or street number to the glass using removable vinyl film or by sandblasting, which gives a permanent result. Numerous colours and styles are available.
Painting and decorating
Choosing paint or wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to bring your signature colours into your premises, but it needs to be handled sensibly. Match materials carefully to make sure they are actually the same shade and don’t clash. Don’t overwhelm the space – in most cases it’s better to use colour as trim rather than covering whole walls. Keep it in balance the same way you would on a page. You should also think carefully about flooring. Carpets make spaces feel warm and welcoming, but choose hardwearing options so that they’re easy to clean, long-lasting and easy to move goods or wheelchairs over. Lino is the best option for spaces like clinics where you want to create a hygienic impression or for supermarkets, bars and eateries where mess is likely to be an issue.
Lighting sets the mood for your premises. Choosing LED lighting gives you very precise control over colour, letting you send subtle signals or adjust it to take account of the weather outside, and it’s also long-lasting. Low lighting and lamps create an intimate mood. Lights that are high up or recessed give a modern, professional impression. Lighting can also be used to draw attention to particular parts of your premises or to create a localised ambience, for instance by making a bar look warm and welcoming or by making fruit piled up on shelves look bright and fresh.
The furniture in your premises says a lot about your organisation. Everything from reception desks to lobby furniture, the sofas in your waiting room or the chairs your office workers sit on sends a message. Choosing different basic colour options doesn’t usually add to the cost and can really help build your brand. A single piece of highly visible high-quality furniture can make your company look really upmarket but could also make customers think they can’t afford what you have to offer, so you will need to strike the right balance.
Your premises will generally create a better impression if they incorporate some decorations. This keeps them from looking too sparse and unwelcoming. Choosing decorations gives you lots of options for promoting your brand. It could be as obvious as using images from your adverts or enlarged versions of your logo, or as subtle as choosing artworks that suit your organisation thematically and in terms of their colour palette.
You might not immediately think of them as aspects of your company image, but your staff are major contributors to the impression your premises make. Uniforms should carry your logo, incorporate your colours and fit the overall style of your brand. Whether they’re smart or casual, whether they put elegance or practicality first, they have to complement the rest of what you’re doing with design. This also makes it easier for visitors to identify staff members quickly.
When thinking of design, people often focus on the visual to the exclusion of other possibilities. If you play music on your premises, it also has to fit. You can start by keying it to the demographic you’re trying to attract. Do your research carefully. You should also think about the atmosphere you want to create, for instance when you choose between slow and fast pieces. If you choose contemporary popular music, remember that you’ll have to update it regularly to maintain the same appeal.
Some brands find that choosing a signature scent contributes to their success. This could be used to create a sophisticated mood in a jewellery or clothing store, for instance, or a scent like fresh coffee or bread could be used to whet the appetite or make visitors feel more relaxed in a grocery shop or delicatessen. If you choose to use a scent, do your research and make sure you’re not using one that’s likely to cause allergies. Keep it subtle – scents are often most effective when people are not conscious of them.
Few things appeal to visitors more than free gifts they can take away with them. This is great from a business owner’s point of view because those gifts are an opportunity to decorate your premises and to spread your branding out into the world. From pens to placemats, mugs and t-shirts, there are a great many things you can choose, keeping the style suitable for the overall impression you want to create.
Building your brand into your premises helps visitors feel that they’re really getting to know you, forging the emotional connections on which loyalty depends. It also helps you to understand your brand more deeply so that you can present it more effectively in every situation.