The re-branding of a well-established company has to be approached with great care if it is to be successfully accomplished, and with due consideration to those clients who may be perfectly happy with the existing public face of the company in question. If you have reached a point in time where reinventing your firm appears to be the only sensible option, there is much to consider before you start your task in earnest. In this article, we take a look at how you can use your corporate headquarters as a starting point in the creation of a vibrant new image and the some of the pitfalls to avoid whilst doing so.
Whether you hire a corporate consultant or use internal talent to come up with a new image for your company, we are going to assume for the purposes of this exercise that you already know what kind of image you wish to create and are now looking at how to achieve your re-branding in the most effective and expedient manner possible. For companies that often entertain clients in their offices, the corporate headquarters are the perfect place to start such a re-branding effort. However, as you will see below, there are a number of factors you must consider carefully before you start on your head office refurbishment project.
By taking the time to plan each stage of your renovation project carefully, you can avoid making costly mistakes. The factors below are those we suggest you pay most attention to when making your plans.
When redesigning an office interior in order to promote a new corporate image to your clientèle, it can be very easy to overlook practical layout considerations. Unless you are going to be making big changes to the way that your company operates, particularly with regard to interdepartmental cooperation, you need to ensure that your new layout allows your employees to interact and collaborate with each other just as easily as they do now. Whilst style is of prime importance for such a refurbishment project, it should not be allowed to overshadow functionality in any way. If it does, your new image could lead to some serious internal inefficiencies that have major financial repercussions further down the line.
The overall cost of your refurbishment project is a very important factor to consider. You need to make sure that any projected increase in turnover that is anticipated as a result of the change in your corporate image justifies the cost of the design and renovation work that makes the new image possible. Many companies have allowed themselves to be carried away by the excitement of a major corporate re-branding and ended up spending far more than the anticipated benefits of the re-branding warranted. Whilst it will obviously be difficult to come up with precise projections as far as future cash flow and profitability are concerned, you must nevertheless make the effort to evaluate your plans from a financial point of view with as much accuracy as is possible in the circumstances.
Whilst re-imagining your company and its unique position in the marketplace, you should consider the amount of disruption that a major office refurbishment project is likely to cause to your employees. In the event that the projected disruption will put too high a price on the necessary renovation work, you might wish to consider a relocation rather than a straightforward refurbishment of your existing premises. That way, you can prepare your new headquarters exactly as you wish them to look, whilst your workforce continues to operate from the existing building without any disruption. When deciding which course of action to take, you need to weigh the additional cost of relocating against the cost savings of not disrupting your employees by renovating their existing workspace.
If you are running a company that has enjoyed financial success in the past and is now looking for a way to re-energise its sales performance in a more competitive and crowded marketplace, you need to make sure that you do not throw out the baby with the bathwater. In other words, do not lose the corporate identity that brought you so much success in the first instance by making too many radical changes at the same time. Think evolutionary, not revolutionary, as far as your corporate re-branding ideas are concerned. On the other hand, if the image on which you relied in the past is so hopelessly out of date that nothing short of a complete rethink will suffice, you can safely ignore this advice.
One very obvious mistake that companies make when re-imagining themselves is to opt for a corporate image that whilst on-trend, is clearly unsuitable for the marketplace in which they operate. For example: the interior layout and décor at Google's headquarters in California may work very well for a hi-tech firm in Silicon Valley but would be completely inappropriate as far as a traditional London stockbroking firm is concerned. Paying attention to current office design trends and using other companies experiences to guide you in your refurbishment project is fine but never forget who your target audience is, or the corporate culture in which you are operating.
When refurbishing your corporate headquarters to facilitate a change in your public image, you should bear in mind that the only part of your offices most people will ever see is the exterior. Therefore, if you wish to make a big statement to the general public rather than to a select clientèle, you should focus on external renovations. Doing so will not only ensure maximum impact, it will also help to shield your workforce from the changes that are being made and minimise any disruption that they cause to your day-to-day operations.
If, on the other hand, you are targeting visitors to your office rather than the general public, you should focus on interior décor and furnishings, paying particular attention to your corporate reception area.