This week, my team and I pulled together a proposal to invest in the visual identity of our head office.
The pretext is simple. Many of our customers, partners, analysts and suppliers visit our head office, so it is therefore paramount that they ‘feel’ the brand when they are here. They need to understand what our brand is about, they need to have an appreciation of what we are doing with that brand and, above all, they need to be reminded where they are when they are here.
However, despite being the marketing director of a major brand, I do not have custody over this building. That lies within the jurisdiction of the property and facilities directorate. Now, I am more than happy to leave them to deal with the problems of a blocked toilet and am the first to seek them out when the lifts don’t work.
Our head office is far from the innovative, passionate, customer-focused image that I’m seeking to convey through other media
But I do think I should have a say in specifying what our visitors experience when they arrive at our front door, make their way to our reception desk, wait in our reception area and then go to the room for the important meeting that brings them here.
This is even more the case when it comes to events. Like many companies, we have stopped using hotels and conference centres for our trade shows and external lunches/dinners. Instead, we encourage customers and stakeholders to come to our head office and be wowed by all that is great about our business.
But if the fabric fails to reinforce the message, we are missing a trick.
The current building is a very nice working environment, but it is also a little anodyne, hygienic and, if I am cruel, a little unexciting. Our head office is far from the innovative, passionate, customer-focused image that I’m seeking to convey through other media.
My brand is associated with a very strong colour; and we operate in a fast-moving, technologically advanced sector. None of that is conveyed in a wide, white walled, blank canvas.
But how do I convey this to a team that has little contact with our end customers? And which is focused on ensuring that the air conditioning is working and that the nasty smell in the stairwell goes unnoticed, rather than letting me paint the stair rails and install a hi-tech video wall?