Originally published November 2019, updated February 2022 to include pandemic considerations
If there anything we have learned over the last 2 years, it’s that balance and agility are crucial to success in business, but in life as well. The relationship between employee and employer, between supplier and customer, between working from home and in the office, are indelibly changed for forever.
Work environments are now hybrid work environments, but they are still crucial and relevant to allowing companies and their leaders to achieve critical corporate goals.
The temporary reduction in face-to-face (F2F) gatherings at work, conferences, and events reinforced the essential value of meeting in person to better learn from and evaluate each other, gain trust and credibility, and strengthen relationships. For many, there’s a hunger to return to pre-pandemic levels of personal interaction.
The hidden value of corporate environments you control
As a corporate leader driven to achieve your top business goals, you have a surprisingly large, yet underutilized asset ready to help you: your environments and interiors.
Your F2F marketing environments already host all the key audiences necessary to your corporate success: employees, managers, customers, prospects, job candidates, channel partners, vendors, inventors, and media.
These crucial stakeholders are already within areas you control, some for a few minutes, some a few hours, some for most of their waking day. While the amount of interaction time has changed for some key groups due to the pandemic, the value of reaching them not only remains, but has expanded.
You can increase the value of meeting F2F by re-interpreting your branded environments with technology, graphic messaging, dimensional details, and new ways of organizing workspaces. This will help you markedly increase your influence upon these vital groups and their positive relationship with your brand.
Which of these 5 key business goals matter most to your company success?
These are the 5 most common business goals our clients ask us to help them achieve through branded environments within their facilities and beyond:
- Instill corporate strategy + culture
- Attract + retain top talent
- Improve employee productivity
- Amp up innovation
- Increase sales + enhance brand
These are common top goals sought by CEOs / COOs / CFOs / CMOs, VPs of Sales, VPs of Human Resources, and VPs of Innovation and Product Development.
In this article, we will discuss the 5 key business goals commonly pursued via branded environments, the targeted audiences identified to help achieve those goals, and the most common sales and marketing settings for branded environments.
Goal #1: Instill Corporate Strategy + Culture
“It’s not the size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture – the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share.”
— Simon Sinek, Start with Why
As a corporate leader, you have likely repeatedly met with your top management to brainstorm and craft your company’s strategy and desired workplace culture. But how do you make your entire workforce as fluent on your strategy and culture as your boardroom team? And how do you do it when more of your workforce is working from home?
You do it with branded environments. Branded environments immerse all your employees within oversized images, evocative messages, inspiring furnishings, and culturally aligned workspaces. This creates a workspace that informs your corporate team about your history and values, and inspires buy-in and commitment.
Content that builds your company culture for branded environments includes statements about mission, vision, and values, but also about your company strategy, logos, clients, heritage, achievements, locations, founders, top achievers, brand artifacts, and more.
The best places to add branded environments are in the most popular locations where groups of employees work, move, and gather, such as lobbies, elevator banks, work spaces, meeting rooms, transition areas, break rooms and cafeterias. And since the pandemic, as some employees seek to “get more steps in” and avoid enclosed elevators, adding branding graphics within stairwells has gained in popularity.
It’s recently been said that when the growing contingent of work-from-home employees come into the office, it’s now the new “offsite meeting.” Get the most company culture impact from those “offsite meetings” by hosting your own employees in a branded interior.
Also, a strong cause of “The Great Resignation” is that many employees have reevaluated their priorities because of the pandemic and from working at home. A greater number of workers are choosing to work for organizations that align with their personal values. If your work spaces do not feature branded interiors that make it clear what value you bring to the world, you will have a harder time attracting and retaining these mission-driven employees. Your culture is more important than ever.
If your corporate team has adopted a popular business book, such as Good To Great or Traction to inspire its strategy, you may be interested to read one of our other blog posts, entitled Using Branded Environments To Instill Recommended Business Cultures From 6 Top Strategy Books.
Goal #2: Attract + Retain Top Talent
“77% of executives say hiring and retaining talent is their most critical growth driver in 2022”
— Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) January 2022 Pulse Survey
While attracting and retaining top talent is traditionally the main concern of VPs of HR, the “Great Resignation” has forced it to the very top of all C-level executives’ to-do lists.
And while more employees plan to work from home even after the pandemic, the majority will still be either full-time in office or will work a hybrid schedule. Thus, the continuing need to impress your workforce with branded environments throughout your facilities.
Branded environments help make current and potential employees more eager to work at and for your company.
Create great first impressions with branded environment lobbies and elevator banks that set the tone from the first visit and the start of the work day. Motivate workers with “Google-Plex” style branded environments in cafeterias, transition areas and other common areas, plus breakout rooms, meeting rooms, and internal events.
Because of the “Great Resignation,” companies need to “turn up the volume” on branding their corporate interiors to imprint and impress employees who work less than 5 days a week in their facility. It also places a greater value from branding common spaces where full teams gather occasionally for meetings, and branding shared office spaces.
Whether you are in Human Resources, executive leadership, or management, read in a separate Holt blog post how to attract and retain employees with branded environments here.
Goal #3: Improve Employee Productivity
“At a time when so many companies are starved for growth, senior leaders must bring a productivity mindset to their business.”
— Michael Mankins in Harvard Business Review
When it gets harder to recruit new employees, then corporate growth depends upon getting more productivity from the employees you already have. Your facility can improve employee productivity when you:
- Design spaces around 5 generations of workers in the changing work environment
- Create collaborative work spaces with images, messages, furniture, and tech that invigorates
- Provide a variety of work space options beyond the traditional cubicle
With more employees wanting to work from home part time, your facilities can make the most of the time they do spend in the office with a variety of work spaces designed around the various needs they have. Spaces for individual quiet work, collaboration, concentration, and privacy. This will increase their productivity while in the office, and also encourage them to spend more time in the office with their team.
Employees that are aligned with your corporate strategy and culture will spend less time spinning wheels or going in a counter-productive direction. Employees with greater workspace choices will be more productive as they rotate through areas best suited for their task, mood, and need for solitary or group interaction.
Intertwined with branded environments are smarter choices about color, environmental graphics, nature, furniture, and technology. Workspace design, informed by your brand elements and scientific research, can boost your employee productivity by surprising amounts. Learn more about increasing employee productivity with branded environments here.
Goal #4: Amp Up Innovation
“Innovation is vital … because it gives companies an edge in penetrating markets faster and provides a better connection to developing markets, which can lead to bigger opportunities.”
— Theodore Henderson, Forbes
There has always been a strong need for business innovation, to produce the new products that drive greater growth and higher profit margins. But digital disruption threatens traditional companies’ very fabric of being.
And now, the pandemic has accelerated digital disruption, and provided disruptors with greater tools. Tackling digital disruption head-on is an even greater business imperative.
These amplified threats call for a new paradigm of innovation, that expands the collaborative team beyond marketing and engineering, and brings in outside tech experts, universities, and alternative partners. The goal is often innovating new businesses, not just new products, because building new businesses is an effective growth strategy.
Ground zero for these new ways of innovating are Innovation Labs. These unconventional workspaces are located and designed to boost internal and external teams in their quest for new products that leapfrog today’s business paradigms.
With a well-designed Innovation Lab, you can not only revitalize your new product process, you can also explore new partnerships and business models, stave off digital disruption from outside forces, and boost your revenue and profits.
Businesses can reallocate some of their under-utilized space that formerly housed 5-day-a-week employees to an Innovation Lab. And to better involve your remote and hybrid team members, your Innovation Lab should be outfitted with even more tech, such as streaming team video, and virtual white board for brainstorming.
Learn more about Innovation Labs here.
Scott Safety wanted to signal their shift to a more innovative company culture among their engineering and product development teams. To make that shift more visible, Scott Safety retained Holt Experiential to create a more energetic and collaborative workspace for an internal “think tank,” called the Franklin Hub. This creativity-boosting space gave engineers affirmation that their idea generation was creating a new direction for the company. The space also allowed for teams that were typically siloed by function throughout the facility to assemble across departments to prove out new ideas in a more inspiring and collaborative workspace.
Goal #5: Increase Sales + Enhance Your Brand
“You are twice as likely to convert prospects into customers with an in-person meeting.”
— Michael Massari in Forbes
For the first 4 goals we discussed, your branded marketing environments are almost entirely within your own facilities. But when your goal is to increase sales and enhance your brand, you are often building branded marketing environments outside your buildings, at trade shows and corporate events.
Increase Sales + Enhance Your Brand OUTSIDE Your Facilities
Companies exhibit at trade shows to increase company awareness, generate sales leads, and strengthen key relationships, especially with customers. For manufacturing companies, trade shows often represent about 40% of their marketing budget.
We have found that exhibitors succeed when they:
- Give themselves enough time to plan the myriad of details for their shows
- Focus as much on their trade show marketing (promotions, strategy, graphics) as they do on logistics
- Ensure their staff is prepared to gather qualified leads at the show, and follow them up thoroughly after the show
- Have a culture of calculated risk-taking that encourages smart experiments (marketing campaigns, staffer selection, show selection, exhibit design) that are measured post-event
Corporate events, such as user conferences, sales and annual stakeholder meetings, and product launches, have become more valuable touch points to reach hard-to-engage clients and partners. At these events, companies are no longer solely relying upon the venue to adequately carry their brand message. Instead, event marketers are expanding their use of modular exhibit properties, large-format graphics, and unique digital solutions to brand the space as their own.
Live, in-person trade shows and events were paused during the first 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, until widespread vaccine use. That changed almost overnight, as the last half of 2021 saw the busiest trade show season ever, as a full year’s worth of shows were crammed into 6 months.
Many companies reluctantly relied on virtual shows to temporarily reach their clients and prospects, and gladly resumed their full trade show schedule when possible. However, some shows found success bringing in much larger audiences with virtual shows, and will continue to offer access to that remote audience via hybrid shows. Thus, exhibitors now have greater choices: in-person, virtual, or hybrid events.
To keep their F2F options open no matter what, more businesses are also bringing mobile branded environments right to their customers and potential customers with road shows, trailers, and pavilions. These mobile marketing environments can go where key audiences live, work, play, shop, and travel, at short-term events or permanent locations. So, you can create sales and branded environments wherever you want.
As pandemic-related corporate travel restrictions diminish at large corporations, there is an even higher value of branding those corporate event spaces to forge tighter bonds with workers who work from home.
Increase Sales + Enhance Your Brand INSIDE Your Facilities
Manufacturing and other industrial corporations recognize the need to create permanent branded environments within their facilities for their valuable F2F sales opportunities.
These permanent spaces were initially called Executive Briefing Centers, in which visiting CXOs were wooed by top sales execs. They have evolved into Customer Experience Centers, where more than just top executives receive star treatment, and where potential clients are engaged in a more collaborative, problem-solving dialog.
Customer Experience Centers help tell your story in a more experiential fashion. They can have one or more rooms within a facility for functions including greeting, presentation, group discussions, temp offices for visitors, and catered dining.
Digital technology solutions can be integrated for presentations and virtual meetings. The walls can be partially or completely covered with graphics to convey brand, products, history, and story. Learn more how to grow B2B sales and strengthen key relationships with Customer Experience Centers here.
During the early pandemic, when trade shows were on pause, some companies installed a Customer Experience Center to retain a branded environment for F2F conversations with high-value clients and prospects. Now, with interior space more available because of work-from-home employees, more companies are considering adding a Customer Experience Center, also as a hedge against future potential pandemic disruptions. And with visitors being potentially reluctant to meet in-person and more capable in using tech, there’s now a greater need to integrate tech that allows remote visitors to stream into meetings.
Showrooms are another common space dedicated to boosting the sales results of F2F visits to corporate facilities. Showrooms put your products at the center of customer visits, rather than in a presentation or an off-site dialog. With a greater emphasis on products comes a greater need for product merchandising, be it with displays, pedestals, mounts, and shelving. Graphics and interactive technology further help tell your story, and higher-end finishes and design creates more impressive spaces.
Also during the pandemic, showrooms have become more valuable for demonstrations to prospects who are not traveling to trade shows. Moreover, you can even duplicate your physical showroom with a high-resolution interactive 3D virtual showroom to continue to demo product when you can’t meet in person. Read more about boosting sales results with showrooms here.
Whatever Your Top Business Goal, We Design A Branded Environment To Achieve It
To recap, these are the 5 most common business goals discussed in this article:
- Instill corporate strategy + culture
- Attract + retain top talent
- Improve employee productivity
- Amp up innovation
- Increase sales + enhance brand
While they are all important goals, your corporation very likely has one or two goals that your management team feels are especially urgent.
Holt would love to help you achieve your key company goals with a smartly designed, expertly fabricated, and meticulously installed branded environment. To get started, call us at 1-800-849-2601, or contact us via the form below.