Create Brand Cohesion Across Physical & Digital Spaces

April 27, 2018 Cathy Lynk

Originally published in Construction Executive.

Imagine the feeling of déjà vu. You walk into a store and feel like you’ve been there before. Yet you’ve only previously visited its website.

Whether a business is redesigning its office or constructing a new environment for hosting customers, its brand should be authentically represented.

Employees and customers walking into this space for the first time will experience an immediate emotional reaction that will be inherently tied to their feeling about the company itself. Similarly, when prospects visit a company’s website for the first time, they instantly form an impression.

From a design standpoint, it is important for those two experiences to align. A cohesive brand experience across both physical and digital channels should be top of mind when creating a new space.

Double that First Impression
The benefits of properly branded physical spaces are widely understood. Whether the client is a white-shoe law firm that regularly hosts pressure-packed M&A meetings or a white-hot tech startup that prefers Swiss balls to swivel chairs, construction companies should aim to mirror the same impression generated from the client’s website when designing their physical space.

A strong brand evokes the same impression and feelings across all channels. Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman says each of her company’s retail stores is “a piece of our customers’ experience.” Whether customers shop at Rent the Runway/DC or RentTheRunway.Com, they enjoy similar interactions with the brand.  

Beyond improving customer encounters, a well-branded physical space can enhance loyalty, productivity and creativity among employees. When employees work in a branded physical space, they become better advocates for the brand. So, if a company emphasizes teamwork and collaboration, consider designing an open, activity-based workspace. If a company website boasts transparency, consider using glass walls throughout the office space. 

Align Physical and Digital Experiences
Builders can distinguish themselves by creating physical spaces that represent their clients’ brands authentically. Here are a few examples that tie online and offline experiences together:

  1. Consider visual identity: Examine the client’s visual design system, including color palette, typography and image styles. How does the website express these visual attributes of the brand? Is the site bright and whimsical or dark and sophisticated? Does it use color gradients or perpendicular lines?

    The Clubhouse, a London-based business lounge by global accounting firm KPMG, exemplifies elegance and features smooth-surface textures, both of which similarly reflect its light and airy website.



  2. Draw from voice and tone: Consider the words a company chooses to describe itself. How does the client define its mission, vision and brand promise on its website? How does it organize and market its services? Such content helps builders understand what a brand aspires to be.

    GE demonstrates its “Imagination at Work” tagline at its new Boston headquarters. The office space will have communal tables, direct access to the waterfront and cubby-style lockers, all to promote a work-from-anywhere environment and foster creativity and critical thinking among its employees.

  3. Integrate digital touchpoints: Identify ways to extend digital experiences into physical spaces to deliver greater brand value. For example, KPMG’s Clubhouse website allows members to take actions online that can be carried out seamlessly within the space, such as reserving a conference room.

    Instagram's office space is a reflection of the digitally-native brand

    Instagram’s office in Menlo Park, California, offers colorful 3-D “creation spaces” that allow employees and guests to shoot and share pictures on the app. State Farm, the “good neighbor,” welcomes visitors to its Next Door Café in Chicago. The café is not a conventional sales office but rather a community workspace with laptop charging stations, free WiFi and “coaching cubes” for meetings with State Farm agents. 

Embrace the Brand to Add Value
Increasingly, companies strive to keep their digital and physical environments updated and aligned to their core brand values. As creators of physical spaces, construction companies can draw inspiration from a client’s digital presence to establish greater brand continuity and build memorable, engaging experiences for customers, prospects and employees.

Reprinted from ConstructionExec.com, April, 2018, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Cathy Lynk Senior Digital Strategist

As a Senior Digital Strategist, Cathy partners with our clients to create and execute long-term digital strategy programs. Her background in User Experience design drives her to stay close to the needs and behaviors of target audiences through user research and testing. Cathy brings new ideas and data-driven insights to the strategic marketing programs she helps create and execute.

  • Favorite hobby: I love to run for fun. I try to run at least 3 miles in every city I visit.
  • Creative interests: I recently completed a full-stack design program where I had the opportunity to create functional prototypes for Chicago-based startups.

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