||This article appears to contain a large number of buzzwords. (July 2011)|
In architecture and interior design, branded environments extend the experience of an organization's brand, or distinguishing characteristics as expressed in names, symbols and designs, to the design of interior or exterior physical settings. It uses space as a physical embodiment of the brand to create a ‘brand space’ . This is achieved through ‘architecture, interiors, lighting, graphics, landscape’ in spaces such as retail stores, showrooms, trade-fair booths and office environments.
Components of a branded environment can include finish materials, environmental graphics, way-finding devices and signage and identity systems. Creators of branded environments leverage the effect of the physical structure and organization of space to help deliver their clients' identity attributes, personality and key messages.
The creation of branded environments grew out of a movement within the practice of interior design in the 1990s that recognized that brand equity, or the perceived value in the identifying brand characteristics of an organization, could be applied to three-dimensional environments.
The practice of designing branded environments is often a research-driven effort led by an interior designer or architect, and may include a multi-disciplinary team of strategic consultants, brand development experts, marketing and communications consultants, and graphic designers. Particularly effective for retail, museum and exhibit design, branded environments can support the success of many organizational types, from corporate to institutional and educational. The designed environment can reflect or express the attributes of a community or the competitive advantages of a company’s product or service.
Benefits of a branded environment can include improved brand position and communication, better customer recognition, differentiation from competitors and higher perceived value from investors. Internally, benefits may include higher employee satisfaction and retention, increased productivity, and better understanding of an organization's mission, vision and values.
The main aspects of branded environments in retail include merchandising, signage, and interior design. Merchandising involves arranging products in a way that makes customers most want to buy them. Signage in retail gives the customer orientation, information and an understanding of the brand identity and values. Interior design creates a physical and sensory relationship with the customer that can communicate the brand message. The brand message needs to be considered in the environmental design, otherwise the message will not be clear.
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