Environmental Branding: Using Your Commercial Property to Tell a Story
Environmental branding has become a popular term as businesses look to share the history of the company and create more immersive customer experiences. It’s not enough to have good products and customer service in your brick-and-mortar locations. You also need to connect with in-store customers through a good story and a strong brand.
Environmental branding is one way to do that.
What Is Environmental Branding?
Environmental branding is the process of using design features on a property to create a unified branded experience. Environmental branding elements such as signage, architecture, and landscapes are used to introduce and reinforce a brand to visiting customers as well as the staff. Each element connects people to a place while improving wayfinding, communications, and customer experience.
If you’re thinking about improving the customer experience on your property, follow this guide to learn more about how you can boost on-property experiences through environmental branding.
The Key Elements of Environmental Branding
Environmental branding is all about creating a “whole body” approach to your building design.
For example, consider our work with Legoland Beach Resort, which needed wayfinding signage to guide visitors to their rooms. We developed signage that looked like LEGO bricks and matched the branding of the different floors and hallways. This small contribution plays a significant role in environmental branding. It makes even something simple – like wayfinding – part of the engaging experience that customers pay for.
Consider a few of the key elements you can touch on with environmental branding.
- Assist with Wayfinding: Wayfinding signs help people navigate around a property. When environmental branding is added to wayfinding signs, it helps people find their way while also reinforcing brand identity and feelings.
- Share Information: Environmental branding signage can share other types of information. This ranges from important information for customers (like your return policy or hiring practices) to information about your brand and company. It is important that the information isn’t lost in the design process.
- Communicate Identity: With the right information in place, brands can use environmental branding to communicate identity. They can highlight what sets them apart from their competitors and makes them the best choice for customers.
- Create Experiences: Customers expect experiences. While 80% of companies believe they offer “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. Environmental branding enhances the customer experience and elevates companies above their competitors.
- Connect with the Community: At its core, environmental branding is connecting a business to a community. This can mean the literal community, referring to the city and neighborhood where the business is based, or the general community of customers. For example, brands like REI connect to the community of outdoors people, regardless of where they are or where they are going.
To implement environmental branding, you need to know your brand and use it to guide all of your decisions, from the signage you choose to the interior design of your offices.
Using Environmental Branding To Tell a Story
There are many ways to engage customers with your brand. Almost every element of your brick-and-mortar business and your customer experience reflects your brand. Consider the success of Disney, where even the trash cans at the theme parks have become iconic. This is brand storytelling.
Look for the small details that can connect customers to your brand in your own business.
Consider updating your wayfinding with creative designs or adding an interactive exhibit that shares details about your brand or industry. The more all of these small details point back to a unified brand, the more effective your story will be.
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle with so many brands competing for the attention of your customers, but with the right attention to detail, you can tell a story that your target audiences won’t forget.
Using Environmental Branding To Share Company History
If you are looking for a place to start with your environmental branding, turn to your history. Tell the story of how you built your business from the ground up. Use your interior design and exterior elements to celebrate your success and mark your place within your neighborhood.
This story can be told in several ways. Look at historic icons in your area and see how they bring history to life. This can be as simple as highlighting your history on printed materials (like a family restaurant sharing their story on their menus) or as creative as dedicating entire walls or exterior facades to your brand. Signage, murals, photographs, interactive exhibits, and artifacts can all come together to highlight your history in the region.
A strong example of comprehensive environmental branding that focuses on history is our work with Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay. They needed signage that highlighted their brand, their donors, and their history with the community.
Our team at Creative Sign Designs stepped in to do just that. We installed more than 25 signs throughout the campus to improve overall wayfinding, preventing visitors from getting frustrated by the new environment. We set up a Founders Wall of Honor, a 4-tier plaque system honoring donors who made the campus possible. Finally, Junior Achievement installed a timeline dating back to its founding in 1919.
Each of these elements came together to create a cohesive brand, celebrating the organization’s centennial and encouraging its growth within the Tampa Bay region for decades to come.
Bring Environmental Branding to Your Property
If you need help developing an environmental branding plan or making your brand dreams a reality, Creative Sign Designs is here for you. We work closely with each of our clients to conduct a needs assessment and develop a master plan to get you the signage you need. You don’t need to have all of your signage planned out; you just need a big picture idea of your end goals. We’ll do the rest.
Contact us today to meet with our brand specialists. They are happy to talk about your environmental goals and brainstorm ways to help you reach them.