Company HQ as a part of branding

Branding, ah yes the true cash cow of a consumer product company, but how far does it extend? If you were desiging a new consumer product and brand how would you deal with the architectural aspects. Should the lobby, location etc reflect the brands core “story” or project some other image? Does it matter…worth chewing on.

Longaberger Basket Company, Newark, Ohio

If you grew up in the midwest you might remember:
Brooks Ketchup, Collinsville, Il (1940-60 something)

G. Heileman Brewing Company (Old Style Beer), LaCrosse, WI

I think you know the answer I’ll give, but I’ll say it anyway.

Of course.

A brand is the personality of a company, and it should fit with everything. The architecture, the location, the music you hear on hold, the welcome from the pretty office assistant at the front desk.

If you imagine the company as a person and the brand the individual’s personality, you can see that everything that makes that person what they are is a part of the personality. The choices in that case are made by the individual so come naturally, but with a corporate brand those decisions need to be informed by the brand. When it’s a good fit, you might not notice, but when it doesn’t it’s like your old timey traditional uncle showing up at the family party in a rhinestone encrusted Justin Bieber shirt and a mohawk .


Actually what first came to mind is Oakley’s pretty stunning HQ.

I always thought it was silly, majestic and very effective to the brand, all at the same time.

Actually. my dad used to work as a production manager for a mid sized German food company. One day in the early nighties he had the idea to put up one of those windmill towers. He put a big sign of the company on it so it could be seen from the highway.

It was quite amazing how many functions that thing filled: It said “we are environmental” and “future driven, using new clean technology”. It was also a moving object that is quite large so everybody saw it from the high traffic street that often had queues at that particular point.
… and needless to say, it did contribute some power to the factory.

That spooky basket is getting me down :open_mouth: Does Oakley have aliens breeding in there? :sunglasses:

yup, its also a great rational for a Maserati quatraporte or 3 in the parking lot (passionate, exotic, ultimate, seductive, a bit mad)

Well stated!! Below is a pretty bad internet pic of our office. Our office screams M&M’s but also shows off our other brands. From the large characters outside to the Conference room shaped like a Snickers bar and the colors and M&M’s character murals on the walls inside. We even have large screens with our commercials playing in the lobby and m&M’s themed hold music. Everywhere you look you know who we are and what we stand for.

The point is like R mentioned is that a brand is more than just a product. It is the personality of the company. The one thing I would add to R’s comments is that when it is done right, your employees start to live and breath your brands. It is not just what your work anymore, it becomes more than that and you start to have an emotion attachment to them. They almost become your children and when the crazy uncle shows up you quickly show him the door.

Edit: I will post better pics tomorrow.

A brand is the personality of a company, and it should fit with everything. The architecture, the location, the music you hear on hold, the welcome from the pretty office assistant at the front desk.

Totally agree.

as a former IBM designer, I can share firsthand details about another company that strived for a strong unified design brand in their glory days.

  • Most of the furniture in IBM buildings is is still 50’s modern. There are tens of thousands of Sarrinen, Eames, vintage Herman Miller, Knoll, and Steelcase designer chairs / tables. It was funny when I was there, the modern and uninformed hated the old stuff, especially the aluminum group chairs!
  • Much of the important building architecture was done by famous designers (Mies Van Der Roh, Saarinen, etc)
  • They hired great designer consultants to lead the ID groups, including Noyes, Eames, and Sapper.

They used to have a suit & tie dress code and even an IBM song the employees used to sing (it’s on Youtube). Thomas Watson and his successors correctly believed that making a strong company meant good internal and external branding

Absolutely it should.

Here’s something I helped out with for Campbell’s new employee building at their HQ in NJ.

What else would you do at Campbell’s besides the white script on a Red Background?

So should the design be built around a mission statement or key words like “personalization, empowerment, perfection, selection, and comfort”

Not exactly corporate headquarters, but the Donut Hole’s drive-thru in L.A. is one of my favorite examples of a brand being extended into a building.

Customer and company values drive core positioning strategy. Core positioning strategy drives external branding/product strategy and internal culture strategy. Product strategy drives design. Culture strategy drives the mission statement.

A lexicon (key words) developed from the customer/company values is used in creating the core positioning strategy. A core positioning strategy can create additional lexicons to clarify product, branding, culture, etc. strategies. Words in the “new” lexicons can be recycled from the values lexicon.

So mission and design are related, but I wouldn’t use either one to drive the other. The correct key words can certainly drive design.

Hopefully this post doesn’t come off as too much marketing bs. :blush:

guess where

Our company is aware of brand extension into our properties but it is difficult to implement into older buildings. As a result, much of the interior spaces are heavily branded. In our Chicago HQ, each floor is branded with a MillerCoors product with a skew towards those professions on that floor. For example, the innovation group’s floor has images of inventions (light bulb) blended into the graphic treatments on the wall.

Coors Brewery

Miller Brewery

MillerCoors HQ

another obvious brand extension into the architecture…