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California  + Orange County  + Office  | 

Q&A: How Environmental Branding Promotes Collaboration

By Dennis Kaiser

Employers are paying closer attention to the office space they provide, since attracting and retaining people is more important than ever today. The emergence of creative space as a recruitment tool has led to a host of envelope-pushing ideas. But the big question is, how can companies adapt the ‘cool just to be cool’ theme into functionality and productivity?

One of the ways architects and designers are introducing better workplaces is through environmental branding. Connect Media spoke with Kelly Taylor, founder and CEO of Metropolitan West, a proponent of innovative systems that enhance collaboration. Here’s her insights in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: As companies implement a creative office design to boost employee productivity and retention, how can they reinforce their image and “cool factor” through environmental branding?

A: Environmental branding refers to reflecting an organization’s brand through the design of its physical exterior or interior space, and it’s a powerful tool that often goes overlooked in a traditional marketing mix for most companies. Architecture firms, property managers, and others who install creative office workspaces are well aware of it, though, and its benefits in recruiting and retaining employees, and increasing worker productivity. Our “peerhatch” writable wall surface product was part of an award‑winning workplace design at the worldwide “EDQuarters” for Edmunds in Santa Monica, which features a 6,000-lb. installation of 1966 and 2016 Corvettes rotating above the reception area. When you see that type of environmental branding, there is an undeniable “wow factor” that immediately attracts people.

Q: How can environmental branding become more than nice imagery, and actually contribute to collaboration?

A: A lot of environmental branding is meant to be seen more than used. It’s a giant photo or image, logo, text treatment, or textured surface that offers a nice look, but it has very little function otherwise. That can be a lost opportunity for organizations with employees who miss the chance to engage with the brand in the physical space where they work every day. What if that space was actually used by employees regularly? It would marry environmental branding with the collaborative nature of creative office design. That was our thought process when we developed peerhatch, the industry’s first graphics‑infused writable wall surface. Our contribution to the Edmunds EDQuarters was the largest writable wall surface in the world, with more than 10,000 square feet of custom‑designed wall coverings for employees, partners and visitors to collaborate.

Q: What should architects, property managers, and others consider in their environmental branding design to get people to use it for collaboration?

A: We’ve designed and installed decorative wall coverings, glass film and other custom film for environmental branding for 25 years, and the three takeaways from that experience can be summed up as follows:

  1. Know the Brand: Get to know your clients’ brand, core values, business goals, and culture to determine the right type of design for their environmental branding.
  2. Find Out Where Employees Collaborate: Understand how and where workers will use collaboration tools like writable wall surfaces, and let that knowledge guide your design process.
  3. Focus on Function over Form: Engaging with a branded element at work, such as a writable wall surface, will change the way that employees experience an organization’s brand. Look for ways to add that experiential, functional element to your space design.

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For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


Inside The Story

Connect With Metropolitan West’s Taylor

About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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