Trend 4: User Experience and Branding - Cultivating Culture

Brand and Culture image from Emerging Trends in Cultivating Best Places to Work

Brand and Culture image from Emerging Trends in Cultivating Best Places to Work

The rise of user Experience and Branding

Recently, internal space branding and creating powerful user experience or (UX) has risen in importance as key design factors in planning and developing design strategies for office and workplace projects.  User experience when linked with the data from the rise in beacon and sensor technologies embedded into furniture, floors, walls, ceilings, lighting and more, provide the possibility for new insights on the power of place to support work, workers, and the workplace.  However, these new technologies must be met with authenticity of purpose, and transparency.

Cultivating great experiences - online to in person, and back

Creating and sustaining powerful experiences form an integral part to cultivating Best Places to Work and high performing workplaces.  Whether it's the WOW factor of creatively designed spaces, and or spaces really attuned to helping workers do their very best work, experience design matters.  For us successful experience design tightly aligns the mission, purpose, and core values of an organization.

It's especially powerful when done integratively with integrated online and internal space branding, starting from the initial brand identity, rolling it out company wide and online, to the outside of buildings, leading to the entry, waiting areas, into key common shared work areas, work neighborhoods, and individual workspaces.  As the quote from Steelcase above states, Brand reflects the DNA of an organization outwardly, while Culture is how brand manifests itself inwardly.  Where does the Brand DNA come from and how does in fuel Culture? 

Brand DNA Origins

Firstly Brand DNA is not actual DNA.  It is a metaphor we and many others in creative and strategy fields to describe the essential attributes of the look, feel, and experience of a company.  Hopefully in the best cases, Brand DNA links directly to a company's mission, purpose, and core values.  This sought after alignment when present, fuels a strong culture inwardly, and a strong positive brand outwardly.  Brand DNA is emotional, experiential, and can be very powerful, especially if linked tightly to story.

The power of story moves people

We believe businesses and organizations which have a powerful brand story can more positively engage, and move customers on the outside, and their own work community on the inside.  Finding ways to embed the Brand DNA authentically across digital to physical spaces requires collaboration between organizational and facilities leadership, communications creatives, architects, workplace strategists, and interior designers.  

To unleash the power of story, it's critical to create consistent user experience architecture and themes across digital, video, and social interfaces, site and building design, interior space planning, material and finishes selection, internal visual branding touchpoints, and wayfinding.  Great experiences emanate out of organizational authenticity and easy to understand experience frameworks. To fully embed Brand DNA, Creative teams must work to map the framework with major and minor themes circling back to mission, purpose, and core values. 

Culture arises from authenticity

Brand. Story. Culture.  All three emanate out of authenticity. When a company's brand is misaligned with the actions and behaviors of leadership and team members, a dysfunctional poorly performing culture is sure to arise.  A poorly performing culture does not lead to high performance or long term success.  We have seen this with the recent Uber scandals.  A strong culture springs from aligned teams, effective working processes, holistic benefits focused on well being broadly defined, and from our perspective a Place design providing the most effective facility resources helping a work community do their best work. 

Returning to the rise of the internet of things and beacon technology, it's critical to deploy this technology with positive authentic intent rather than the subversive drive to oversee and surveil from hidden place, in a 1984 Orwellian manner.  If you use and work with the data collected transparently and aligned with mission, purpose, and core values then its possible for it to contribute to sustaining a strong culture.   That's authenticity in the age of analytics. 

What comes next?

Does cultivating strong employee or worker engagement matter? Is staying focused on authentically telling your story and fostering your brand DNA important to your organization? Is your Place aligned with your brand and the culture you aspire to?  Or are you going through transformational changes of some sort causing misalignment in your how your Place supports your people to do their best work?  To help you answer these questions, and to engage in an free initial consultation, contact us below to learn more about our values driven design process and how we might help your organization thrive.  

If you would like to learn more about our Emerging Trends in Cultivating Best Places to Work presentation and workshop let us when reaching out.  If you'd like to receive periodic blog updates opt in when leaving your contact information.