Understanding ‘Branded Interior Experiences’
Often overlooked, Brand Interior Experience is the key link between a brands identity, their physical environment and their customer. It’s the difference between a space just being designed to look nice and a space that is designed with brand purpose.
Tangible & intangible | Essentially, when creating a brand interior experience we must consider tangible and intangible brand elements and pay careful attention to all ‘branding’ and design elements from colour palette and lighting to material choice and functionality. It’s about taking the tangible and intangible assets to curate and mould a physical brand experience that personifies your Brand’s culture. It’s important to get this right.
Why is brand so important for interior experience?
A Human need for connection | In a growing digital world, humans are looking to reconnect, not to connect online but through authentic experiences. More than ever people need a sense of belonging, they want to share relatable feelings and similar values with the brands they interact with. Buying from a brand is no longer just about the product or service anymore, a customer’s whole experience is now the priority and there is huge success when this is executed mindfully through brand interior design. Essentially, an ‘instagrambale’ interior alone will not create enough of a connection with your desired audience.
Igniting a customer connection | When the perfect balance of brand and interior design is curated your customers will not only experience your brand but it will ignite a ‘feeling’ and ‘connection’ with your brand. It provides a much more consistent and deeper experience for the customer – it doesn’t want to be gimmicky but everything is more considered with your brand, values and story. Implementing brand into your interior in this way allows you to access a wider community of people who share your goals and values and believes in your brand’s purpose. They also want to be part of your story and community.
Providing value | Integrating brand into an interior space has the unique opportunity to be able to tell the story of your brand in a way that could not be achieved when these two elements are disconnected. Every visit should provide your customer with value and build up a stronger relationship between the brand and customer.
Gaining loyalty | Creating unique customer experiences has a huge impact on a customers loyalty to the brand, by giving them this memory you are already providing them with a consistent and coherent experience that many other brands do not. An authentic brand interior experience provides a richer insight into the company and builds trust with your customer, and with trust comes loyalty.
A successful Brand interior experience should be able to create an experience and setting that speaks for itself, it should implement every element of your brand in a curated way. The very best brand interiors should be able to be identified without the name or logo above the door.
The process of aligning brand and interiors
Brand always has to come first, it’s essentially the foundation of the project and it then helps to direct the look and feel and provides more creative direction for the interior concept.
It’s only when you break a company down and carefully consider each element on a deeper level that you get a sense of the brand’s true and authentic culture. A brand’s internal purpose and culture should be reflected through its external culture and vice versa. In today’s society customers are seeking fulfilling experiences above and beyond a brand’s products and services.
A holistic approach | There are so many moving elements in the development of a brand interior and often you have to start beyond the physical aesthetics. Brands must take care of each and every customer touchpoint. Providing staff with a greater understanding of the brand and brand culture will help to enhance the customer service experience. Ensuring that there is consistent brand experience online and offline will ensure a more connected and unified experience for the customer. This approach is what we would call a holistic brand approach.
A holistic brand approach will inform all aspects of the branded interior process, making sure that the interior space isn’t just an afterthought. Aligning brand and interiors ultimately strengthens a brand and the connection between a brand and their customer. But how?
How brand can help to create a more valuable interior experience
Brand Awareness, as described above if it’s simply just a nice space then there is no brand value or awareness. If everything is more considered and aligned with your brand it will serve more purpose to the customer. They become invested in your brand, wanting to know more about the story and what else you may do as a business.
Understanding your customer’s behaviours is vital when curating a brand interior experience, in fact putting your customer at the heart of everything you do as a ‘brand’ allows you to provide value they didn’t know they needed.
Retail and hospitality sector:
Restaurants or Cafes can embody their specific cuisine or niche through the interior brand experience. It has the power to transport your customers to the heart or origin of the cuisine, elevating your brand message. The focus then becomes about the entire customer ‘experience’ rather than just the food on their plate and this is what sets you apart from competitors and brings customers back.
Retail brands have the scope to physically explore their values, a sustainably focused brand can implement this within their interior office or retail experience with a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to process and materials. This reinforces your values and intentions to your customer and shows that you are prepared to implement these key values across all areas of your brand.
GC Project Examples
We were appointed by Forest Holidays to improve the utilisation of indoor and outdoor space and customer experience in the main retreat building which is used for retail, reception check in and food and beverage. The Forest Holidays concept is all about creating authentic experiences In Britain’s amazing forests in light of this each retreat has the same core functions and we wanted to ensure that the customer experience is at the heart of our design concepts. The retail area has a sustainable supermarket concept, there has been the introduction of more foliage and where possible the use of more natural and sustainable materials.
Bolatti barbers shop was a concept from the founders of a famous speakeasy bar in London called The Bootlegger. Our brief was to create a 1920’s inspired prohibition bar located below Bolatti barbers shop in an undisclosed location in London. Like most GC projects the brand always has to come first and that’s where we got to work. As the brand work progressed and we had agreed on the new brand name, look and feel and the core communication for Bolatti we started to work on the interior concept. Throughout the development of the interior concept for this project, we were constantly working to understand how we could communicate the brand and it’s narrative through this classy and elegant interior concept.
Brand strategy is extremely valuable when crafting a commercial interior, you can achieve optimum customer connection when approaching an interior project from a brand perspective. Interior design can create a beautiful space, but a beautiful space is wasted when it doesn’t connect your customers or tell your story. It’s only when a brand has embraced a holistic approach that they can then start to create successful experience-based connections and truly unlock brand storytelling through design.