Environmental Branding: Brand Design Goes Beyond Colors and Fonts

An environmental branding agency turns physical space into a positive experience for customers and employees, thus enhancing experience and connections.

Discussions about branding tend to focus upon the graphics, colors, and fonts used in packaging and advertising. After all, these contact points might create that all-important first impression — or sometimes, even the only impression. At the same time, many companies still do serve people in person, either in their store, restaurant, office, or other physical space.

An environmental branding agency ensures their clients keep or maintain their branding in the spaces where they greet their customers, employees, and investors. In fact, in-person contact with a brand gives these organizations a chance to truly make an even strong, emotional connection. Yet, businesses often overlook this kind of branding.

With that in mind, explore the importance of environmental branding and how it may exceed the capabilities of some commercial interior design firms.

What is environmental branding?

Some interior design firms offer environmental design as a service. In general, environmental design refers to improving people’s experience by making spaces more comfortable, navigable, or even exciting. According to HubSpot, this discipline can incorporate principals from architectural, landscape, graphic, and industrial design, and of course, marketing.

Thus, environmental branding serves as an important aspect of environmental design. To incorporate branding into the design, environmental graphic design firms might employ some graphical brand elements; however, to ensure a positive, overall experience, they may also choose complimentary fixtures, paint, textures, furniture, and signs.

This all serves to make the spaces more usable and functional, both from the standpoint of visitors and employees who use the space and from the perspective of marketers who want to improve their brand image.

Examples to illustrate the impact of environmental branding

It’s easiest to parse out exactly how environmental branding works by offering examples. Buchanan Design, an environmental branding agency, worked with a healthcare company called Imaging Healthcare Specialists. They also helped develop graphics for an established law firm, Higgs Fletcher & Mack.

Environmental branding agency work for healthcare

Initially, this company’s offices looked very clinical and functional, as patients might expect in a medical imaging clinic. While the original space served a purpose, it did nothing to help the organization stand out from its competitors or offer any extra value to patients.

Buchanan added wayfinder signs and graphics throughout the clinic to make it more navigable and distinctive. Most important, every office now includes its own Info Center to help promote all of the company’s brands and community outreach efforts. During the process, the environmental branding team also worked with construction and architectural teams to ensure a cohesive effort.

Environmental graphic design work for a law firm

As another example, they included an image gallery in the lobby of a law firm. As one of the biggest and oldest law firms in San Diego, the partners wanted to communicate their company culture, values, and history to clients and employees. To accomplish this, design agency installed large, colorful graphics with the pictures, names, and functions of everybody who worked for them.

Except for showing the firm’s founders separately at the end, nobody else had any special position in the display. This effort helped show off the firm in its historical context. Just as important, it introduced people to their staff and emphasized that every employee served an important function that contributed to success.

Don’t miss the chance to use physical space for environmental branding

So many companies miss the opportunity to use their own physical space to improve connections with customers and reinforce their brand identity. Perhaps they overlooked the positive impact this effort can produce or even worse, simply worked with commercial interior design firms that neglected to suggest it. Done well, environmental branding will help improve brand positioning and even more, turn a company’s spaces into places that customers and employees look forward to entering.

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How to Create Environmental Branding for a Bank

If you’re not embracing environmental branding for your financial institution, you’re missing out on a key piece of the overall marketing puzzle.

Companies in the retail sector have long leveraged the power of the branded environment (incorporating an organization’s brand and the distinctive characteristics of that brand into the interior and/or exterior design of its brick-and-mortar stores). Whether it means liberally integrating the retailer’s name into physical location signage or imbuing in-store displays with the unique charm and appeal of the retailer’s brand identity, environmental branding can work wonders when it comes to driving customer loyalty and on-site sales.

The banking industry, however, has traditionally lagged far behind top retailers when it comes to leveraging the power of branded environments. This makes perfect sense considering the history of banks in the United States and elsewhere. In most communities, there was only one bank in operation. Effective branding and marketing operations in general were completely unnecessary. Customers banked with a specific organization because it was their only option, not because they preferred it over any available alternatives.

Now increasingly savvy about branding practices, the financial institutions of today are finally beginning to reverse this trend, realizing that effective branding is absolutely essential if they want to get a leg up on the competition in the modern marketplace. The creation and maintenance of branded environments should be an absolutely essential component of any banking organization’s greater marketing efforts.

If you are looking for ways to develop effective branded environments for your bank location(s), you will want to employ a marketing agency with the established expertise to address the specific wants and needs of your particular institution. The following four guidelines can get you headed in the right direction. 

1. Concentrate on relationship building in the lobby area

When it comes to building a new bank branch or remodeling an existing bank location, the design masterminds at HTG Architects suggest rethinking the fundamental purpose of your lobby area. As HTG puts it, “Co-branding can change your space from “transaction-based” to “relationship-based.” And in today’s banking world, this shift can make all the difference.”

In addition to incorporating ample on-brand elements into your lobby, HTG suggests reducing the size of banking transaction areas if it can make lobby space feel more comfortable and inviting.

2. Reflect evolving technology

Different banking organizations will inevitably target different consumer demographics, but the vast majority of todays’ customer base will respond favorably to technological innovation. This is particularly true of consumers in the modern banking sector, who tend to expect the companies with which they partner to be on the cutting edge in terms of state-of-the-art financial operations and security measures.

In order to reinforce strong technological ties, the physical design of brick-and-mortar bank branches must reflect high-tech engagement in a variety of ways. This might mean the inclusion of advanced ATM machines and smart kiosks or it might mean simply crafting on-site sign imagery and typography that is compatible with technological themes.

3. Emphasize convenience and public responsibility

Smart financial institutions will also design their buildings to not only deliver optimum customer convenience, but reinforce their commitment to public service through effective on-site messaging. Two great examples of this emphasis on respect and responsibility are ADA compliance and environmental sustainability.

All bank locations should go far beyond the mandated regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that all customers have equal access to banking processes regardless of physical or mental disability. Furthermore, bank locations should offer the latest in recycling amenities, responsible resourcing, paperless technology, and other green modalities. Remember, your physical location speaks volumes about your company’s priorities and values.

4. Consider environmental co-branding

If you really want to boost consumer convenience while engendering considerable lobby cross-traffic, you may want to look into partnering with a well-known brand from another business sector and welcoming that partner into the physical space of your bank branch(es). While traditional environmental co-branding partnerships in the banking sector have included insurance agencies, accountants, and title companies, more and more banks are incorporating comfort-inducing retail organizations such as coffee shops into their lobby areas.

For more information

To guide them through the considerable intricacies of the environmental branding process, wise companies seek out the assistance of highly trained and specialized marketing professionals. An environmental branding agency that is both forward thinking and rooted in current best practices, Bigeye can answer any questions that you might have about your bank’s practical environmental branding options.

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The Secret to Brand Placement? Location, Location, Location.

It’s imperative to place your brand in the proper locations to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time through a media buying agency.

What does selling real estate and using media to sell your brand have in common? It’s all about one thing: Location, location, location. You don’t have to work for a top media buying agency to understand that context is critical when it comes to brand placement.
If you need evidence of the importance of location, look no further than this year’s Super Bowl — where one global beverage giant is preparing to go all in to maximize the effects of its advertising campaign.

Anheuser Busch’s massive Super Bowl bet

The Super Bowl is the most significant betting event of the year. It’s estimated that Americans bet nearly $5 billion on the game annually. Global beer giant Anheuser-Busch is making its own massive wager on this year’s Super Bowl, planning one of the largest ever media buys.

The brewer announced it has purchased five-and-one-half minutes’ worth of airtime, during which it will show commercials for five of its brands and seven of its products. That’s an impressive outlay, given that the average cost of a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl has risen to roughly $5 million. The Super Bowl, in fact, is so important to brands and the advertising industry that it represents 2.5% of all network broadcast advertising for an entire year.

Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl advertising expenditure will be roughly 30% higher in 2019 than in previous years. The company believes the increase is justified due to the extraordinary nature of the event; the Super Bowl regularly draws more than 100 million viewers in the United States.

The Super Bowl…of ads

For advertisers, however, huge viewership is only part of the equation. The Super Bowl, in recent years, has become more than a football championship; it’s also a showcase for the ad industry’s very best work. Super Bowl commercials have become near-compulsory viewing for many Americans, as brands save their most compelling and engaging creative work for Super Bowl Sunday. The high quality of Super Bowl ads has made the event perhaps the only occasion where people are actually eager to watch advertising.

Anheuser-Busch knows this. The company’s U.S. CMO, Marcel Marcondes, recently told Adweek that  “attention is the new currency and (the) Super Bowl is such a unique moment in culture when people are paying attention, watching TV and more than that, they are willing and looking forward to watching TV commercials. So for that reason, we decided to bet big.”

In other words, it’s all about location strategy: Reaching the right people, in the right place, at the right time, and when they are in the right frame of mind — all accomplished through utilizing a smart media buying agency.

Why location is critical for brands

Anheuser-Busch is wisely betting that the benefits of Super Bowl advertising — and the singular nature of the event — will justify their $50 million ad spend. Yet few businesses, of course, have the resources to buy even the shortest Super Bowl ad.

That doesn’t matter, however, as virtually any enterprise can reap the advantages of brand placement in the proper media locations. Even if you scale down from the Super Bowl to advertising on a local network affiliate, the principle remains the same: Find the location, time, and context where viewers or listeners overlap with your customers or audience.

If you don’t have media buying experience, that might seem like a tall order. However, a high-quality media buying agency can partner with businesses to precisely identify and plan the best possible media locations for ad spending.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we specialize in helping businesses connect with audiences through compelling campaigns and finely targeted media buying. If you’d like to derive maximum value from your next media campaign, we urge you to reach out to us today.

Tis the season… Or is it? How does seasonality impact your brand

Depending on the type of industry you’re in, market seasonality can feel like a blessing or a curse. For hotel owners and hospitality leaders, seasonal winter slumps can force hotels to deeply discount their room rates and lead customers to expect lower prices year round. On the flip side, many consumer packaged goods and retail giants rely on the annual influx of sales around Black Friday and look forward to the revenue they’ll drive during holiday discounts.
The reality is: market seasonality exists in almost every industry as people tend to shop and engage with service provides based on their own life cycles. Children’s school calendars, vacation schedules, and holidays all dictate how business flows across almost every industry. To help you unlock the potential of market seasonality, we’ve unpacked a few basics to get you started.

What is market seasonality?

If you aren’t familiar with market seasonality, you may simply be so accustomed to seeing it in action that you don’t even realize it’s there. When you review your bottom line revenue or other KPIs, chances are that you consider both month-over-month and year-over-year metrics. The reason being is that certain months are expected to perform better than others. That monthly – or seasonal – variation is, you guessed it, market seasonality. If you were a ski resort, you would naturally expect to see a dip in bookings moving from February into March and April. However, if you saw a dramatic decline when comparing this February to last February, that may be cause for concern. Understanding market seasonality starts with understanding your target audience and when they are most likely to need (or want) your products. Market seasonality is simply a reflection of when your customers are most willing to buy your product or engage with your services based on external factors that have nothing to do with your brand, such as travel or weather.

Can market seasonality be a good thing?

Of course market seasonality can be a good thing! In fact, it can be a great thing when you partner with a savvy local marketing agency or leverage a few creative promotions during your on and off seasons. While it would be great if sales were consistent year round, they never will be. You can’t change the game, but you can play to win. Consider where you see natural peaks and valleys in sales and revenue and consider what you could do to use these dips to your advantage. For example, many clothing companies offer discounts on winter clothing at the start of spring, around the same time they introduce their warm weather lines. Talk about a win-win situation. These brands get a boost in purchases thanks to their promos, without compromising sales from their new product releases. In these instances, market seasonality can actually drive more sales than a company might have expected otherwise. Similarly, service providers also use slower summer months or harsh winter “hibernation periods” to host new customer events and participate in speaking engagements to build their brand and increase exposure.

Planning for market seasonality:

The trick is to plan for market seasonality in advance. If you wait until a slump hits to kickstart a promotion and make up lost revenue, your brand may not be able to close the gap as effectively as you’d like. Instead, consider your natural sales cycle and front load a few opportunities into your marketing calendar throughout the year. For example, if you’re a subscription-based educational software company, your most important revenue generating months are at the beginning of the fiscal year (so your accounts have a chance to mature and generate revenue throughout the entire year). Knowing this, you’d want to load a few promotions into Q1 and Q2 to set yourself up for success moving through the middle of the year and into the slower summer months when potential customers may be traveling and less inclined to buy. Sounds simple, right?

 

There’s where we come in. Our team is here to help you map out your calendar and take advantage of market seasonality like a pro.

How to spend your Q3 and Q4 retail marketing dollars

Whether making a last minute push to meet year-end numbers or simply subscribing to the reality of “use it or lose it,” most retailers pick up the pace when it comes to their Q3 and Q4 marketing methods. Wondering how to aim for and achieve the best possible results? Consider these seven proven ways to maximize your retail marketing allocations.

1. Better your blog

Unfortunately, many retail business blogs miss the mark when it comes to achieving their full potential. Why? Because they exist out of a sense of obligation, as opposed to as an extension of a company’s overall business strategy.

Blogs are cost-efficient, highly effective marketing tools….unless they’re left to languish, in which case they offer value to neither you nor your consumers. Conversely, a well-executed blog can help you build engagement and foster consumer loyalty while also enhancing SEO rankings and search results. Stop thinking of your blog as your website’s “ugly stepsister,” and start thinking of it as more of a fairy godmother of sorts — with the magical potential to generate sales leads.

2. Look harder at search engine marketing

Odds are, you promote your website via Search Engine Marketing (SEM) throughout the year. However, did you know that Q3 and Q4 offer the enhanced opportunity to take a closer look at your conversion rates? Are your average costs per lead and conversions meeting your expectations?  If not, consider where your efforts may be failing.

For many organizations, the critical element is poorly-designed landing pages which fail to generate search marketing ROI. After all, different campaigns have varying search optimization parameters. Taking the time to customize each campaign can yield powerful results right when you need them.

Also, keep in mind that while starting new campaigns may not yield realizable ROI by year’s end, maximizing your existing processes and programs has the potential to improve outcomes.

3. Focus on Facebook

While social media in general presents valuable opportunities for marketers, Facebook takes second place only to Google when it comes to worldwide net digital ad revenues. When was the last time you evaluated your Facebook advertising approach? Whether you’re looking to cast a wider net or increase sales, Facebook offers a captive audience to savvy advertisers.

Not only that, but Facebook’s robust analytics allow you to target your audience, choose from different ad formats, and understand your results through reporting, tracking and measuring capabilities. If your marketing efforts are going awry, these metrics can help you take swift, corrective actions.

4. Go for growth

While dwindling resources may compel you to trim expenses, it’s also important to keep an eye on the prize: building value. This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting costs, but instead amping up accountability. Execution-driven strategies position you to demonstrate the effectiveness of your retail marketing campaigns, and information management is a critical part of the process.

Today’s retail marketers have access to more actionable data than ever before. Demonstrable results are not only essential to assessing ROI, but also to making any last minute adjustments to move forward in the most productive way during retail’s busiest season.

5. Optimize email efforts

On that note, heading into the holiday season, it’s particularly important to deliver content to consumers via the most appealing and accessible means. While social media gets the lion’s share of attention, email remains a preference for many in your target market.

But not just any emails. From delivering coupon codes to informing recipients about upcoming in-store and online flash sales, emails can drive both traffic and conversions.

And don’t forget about the importance of mobile. Responsive, aesthetically pleasing email messages can also further optimize Q3 and Q4 outcomes.

6. Count on content

The typical 21st century consumer doesn’t want a hard sell; he/she wants value. As consumers prepare to open their pocketbooks during the season of giving, give them a gift of your own: meaningful content that either answers a question or enriches their lives in some essential way.

Content should be consistent, relevant, unique, and focused on making the entire shopping process more accessible and user-friendly. When designing your content strategies during Q3 and Q4, keep in mind that the best content is not about completing a sale, but about telling a story that engages consumers and bolsters your brand.

7. Cultivate the consumer experience

We can agree by now that contemporary customers are all about value over hype. With consumer confidence harder to come by than ever before, retail marketers can position themselves for success by earmarking Q3 and Q4 funds for enhancing efforts to understand what motivates their customers and deliver on these insights.

Don’t overlook the power of omni-channel marketing. Relevant real-time content delivered via a consumer’s preferred mode of communication has the potential to increase both sales and consumer engagement.

Finally, Q3 and Q4 also offer an ideal opportunity to nurture your leads. Are you doing everything you can do — in the most direct, targeted way — to get better ROI out of your lead generation?

As the calendar year draws to a close, retail marketers are greeted with unprecedented opportunities to put their end-of-year retail marketing dollars to optimal use. These seven techniques are sure to help you focus your marketing efforts where they’re least likely to overdraw your resources — and most likely to generate ROI.

Our team of retail marketing experts understands the challenges of doing more with less – and we’re poised to assist you in doing just that! Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

It’s all about Marketing brand culture: Ain’t that a kick!

You can dance if you want to. And if you’re a football player – make that fùtbol (better known as soccer in America), Spanish magazine, Libero, will actually make you get up and tap your toes in your cleats.
In an effort to better emphasize marketing the brand’s “Culture” section of their sports magazine, the publication creatively turned soccer players’ casual warm-ups, feints, passes, and other tricks into dance moves by looping video footage of these practice hijinks to music. While no one needs (or wants) to hear the “Can-Can” ever again, we have to say, watching those boys “dance” is worth the earworm that you risk inheriting by viewing the associated ad. (And you have to admit, we’re all too familiar with those musical earworms that you just can’t seem to shake – “Shake It Off”, anyone?). But in any case, as if you needed another excuse to watch these gifted athletes put their impressive skills to work, we encourage you to check out all of the #footballdancing videos here.

Speaking of magazines, while the argument that print media is “dying” may be up for debate, it is true that magazine sales are, indeed, slipping a bit. In 2015, newsstand magazine sales dropped 15.8%, while there was a 13% drop in revenue. Convincing folks to pay for subscriptions or purchase a single copy is getting far trickier than in years’ past. So, how does a medium combat this potentially weakening sales and maintain relevancy? Although Libero has only been in circulation since 2012, and despite being relatively new to the print media game, the ultra-modern sports mag has made quite a name for itself thanks, in part, to these intriguing, cheeky videos used effectively to market brand culture to readers – and viewers – alike. For instance, the publication’s first set of ads from January 2014, featured women explaining how to best tackle day-to-day tasks such as taking out the trash, dating, relationships, and the first instance of meeting the father-in-law – and even rounded things out by leaning on breakthrough fùtbol examples and lingo. The ad’s slogan was pretty inventive: “If you explain it with fùtbol, it makes sense.” You have to admit, it’s sassy, light-hearted, and pokes fun at the “meathead” sports fan stereotype – all the while successfully promoting the magazine.

This time around, and in order to further highlight the soccer mag’s same “Culture” section, Libero uses the #footballdancing idea to prove that even the most athletic men can still dance – well, at least, with the help of some film editing and alongside perfectly fitting background music. A football gal myself (particularly of the collegiate variety), I found myself intrigued by these brand culture ads, and was compelled to visit the magazine’s website. While I’m not fluent in the Spanish language, the ads still resonated, crossing international language barriers – and leaning on the notion that our appreciation of talented athletes is universal, and doesn’t require a translation.

While print publications may be experiencing a downturn in sales, there is no shortage of soccer fans here in the United States. The sport is gaining undeniable popularity among the masses – and perhaps, even an increase in American readership of Libero. For Orlando City Soccer, which just kicked-off its 2014 season, more than 62,000 fans packed into the team’s current venue, the Citrus Bowl, for the inaugural match. Due to such high demand, Orlando City president Phil Rawlins recently indicated that the team is open to the possibility of constructing its new stadium – slated for completion in time for the first game of the 2016 season – with a higher capacity than the currently planned maximum of 25,500. If you ask our team at BIGEYE, its an exciting time – and an interesting soccer ball spin – on scoring a branding goal that has resonated with a fan base receptive to creative, unique brand culture marketing efforts.

We couldn’t be more excited about the new stadium and the early success of Orlando City Soccer – even for a college football gal like me. GOOOAAAAL!!

Are you looking for innovative ways for your brand to reach your target audience – channeling the perfect media mix, with lasting impact to increase your company’s ROI? Contact us today to develop your game plan!