Corporate America’s Newest Branding Strategy: Property-Level Experiences

Waterfalls and cave-like conference rooms are among the elements office tenants are employing to boost their brands and retain talent, according to J. Wickham Zimmerman of Outside the Lines Inc.
J. Wickham Zimmerman  Photo courtesy of OTL Inc.

Corporations are constantly working to gain market share by distinguishing themselves from their competitors. To do so, they are investing billions of dollars into branding efforts.

In fact, a 2018-2019 Gartner Research study found that companies are now spending approximately 11 percent of their annual budgets on overall marketing. A large percentage of that money goes toward branding.

As part of these branding efforts, many corporate giants are increasingly investing in branded amenities at the property level. For example, the Coca-Cola Co.’s Atlanta headquarters features the company’s signature red and white colors and logo throughout the building, as well as a wall showcasing a giant animated “flip-disk” wall featuring the Coca-Cola logo.

Beyond cool, aesthetic features like Coca-Cola’s retro disk wall, the newest office amenities deliver unique brand experiences that immerse employees and guests in the look, feel and emotion of the corporate brand.

Some of these new, property-level brand experiences include:

Waterfalls and artistic structures. Infusing a corporation’s core values into property-level branded amenities marries concept with reality and reinforces those values. Water features represent nature, vitality, health, and tranquility.

Cave-like conference rooms. Company branding that offers outside-the-box experiences for employees during their workday leaves a positive impression and makes workers look forward to coming in each day. This unexpected environment offers employees a chance to “get out of the office” without actually getting out of the office and is meant to stimulate new ideas which may be stymied by more typical office surroundings.

Water features in the shape of a company logo. Today’s brands are focused on driving home their corporate message in an immersive and aesthetically appealing way. By incorporating water features, movement, lights and show elements into a commercial building, brands can create exciting, thrilling experiences that employees and visitors will remember and enjoy.

Through these experiences, today’s corporate tenants are leveraging branded amenities by integrating them into their development of corporate culture, recruitment, and social media and marketing strategies. These are substantial investments, that have a strong impact on these company’s bottom-line.

So, what is driving office owners and corporations to increasingly invest dollars in property-level experiences for branding purposes? There are a number of key priorities.

Attracting and retaining talent

Millennial workers are drawn to companies with a clearly stated mission that supports meaningful work. Branded amenities convey that mission. 

The 2018 Best Workplaces for Millennials study revealed that Millennial workers who believe their company has a high-trust culture are more than 22 times more likely to want to work there for a long time, and those who recognize their workplace as great are 59 times more likely to strongly endorse their company to friends and family.

These factors lead to increased retention and talent attraction, which helps to support long-term growth and stability.

Extending the company’s marketing messages

Branded amenities that are integrated into building exteriors communicate the corporate message to the public in a way that complements and yet is distinct from advertising and social media. These are deep messages that come directly from the place where the company “lives”—a powerful visual communication.

Bringing the company message to life

In-office branded environments bring authenticity and creativity from concept to reality, giving today’s brands a deeper connection with team members and visitors alike.

Improving productivity and profitability

According to Altitude, workplace branding boosts motivation and improves employee productivity, encourages loyalty in employees and attracts more clients.

Increasing leasing activity

Corporate tenants are more likely to lease space in buildings with owners that understand the importance of branded amenities to the companies’ overall marketing strategy.

Distinguishing the property from others 

Landlords who incorporate branded amenities in their building have a distinct advantage in the amenities war over those who don’t. Signature water features, rockwork, and branded, immersive environments are viewed as standout tenant amenities.

By investing in branded property amenities such as fountains, water features, and rockwork, today’s corporate tenants and office owners are deepening the ties between companies and the buildings they occupy and are increasingly seeing positive impacts on their bottom line.

Wickham Zimmerman is Chief Executive Officer of Outside the Lines Inc., a design-build themed construction company.