Architecture as a Brand
The brand of a company has significant importance in its marketing strategy. Its brand will direct the customers’ view of the company to a desired optimal perception. It is truly an emotional experience and extends beyond the tangible, which impacts thoughts, feelings and other sensory reactions to a customer. This has been a proven method of marketing for very successful companies over time.
The value of branding has reached the architectural world. The emotional connection to an environment has been widely studied. People associate places and spaces with memories and feelings of the past. From this, quality, trust, integrity, value, and comfort become emotional connectors from the space to the individual. This has an impact on how individuals feel about an environment, which directly ties to the company's standing in the mind of the consumer. Because of this, having the correct holistic brand strategy reaching across an entire organization is strongly encouraged for organizations that want to be viewed in the best possible way.
The process is changing. In the past, architectural processes did not incorporate a research component within the programming stage of the project to vet this branding idea. However, more and more designers today are doing this exact process, as sophisticated clients have demanded it. In the concept design phase of a project, an architect / designer should collaborate with the client to better understand who they are in terms of brand and how their company wants to be perceived through the eyes of its customers. This approach does take time, but is time wisely spent for the client to fully comprehend the value of the services into the final end product that speaks to the brand. The richness of a quality design using this approach will reinforce the emotional experience of the environment; suitable to speak about the quality, value and identity of the company.
The approach that M+A Architects uses:
An example of this process is shown below for the design of the Bob Evans Corporate Headquarters Complex being constructed in New Albany, Ohio. They wanted a simple, comfortable, collaborative, and innovative design, taking into account light, function, their focus on food, and the Bob Evans heritage that they are so well known for.
The result is a building environment that speaks to their brand. It tells a story of where they came from and where they are going; inside and out. The sustainability aspects of the design speak to their values, and the contemporary farm theme articulates a high-tech company with a simple heritage. The environment will serve its users from a collaborative, function standpoint, while reinforcing the emotional experience of its customers and the public in general.
by Mark Daniels
Mark has been serving as president at M+A for over a decade. He enjoys traveling to Lake Cumberland and St. Lucia and cheering on the buckeyes.