internal branding

3 Custom Internal Branding Ideas and Examples That Spark Employee Engagement

Published on: June 20, 2019

Internal branding deserves just as much attention as the brand experience you create for your customers. It’s so important, in fact, that some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley have invested heavily into making sure their employee experience is unique to their corporate culture. If you want your company to stand out to new hires and retain current employees, you’ll need to pursue internal branding initiatives that help develop a sense of pride and belonging.  

Overall, you want to create continuity between the brand you present to the world and the culture you create within your office walls. By giving special attention to your internal brand identity, you can create a culture that sets your company apart.

Out of all the internal branding initiatives, environmental design is an unexpected but powerful MVP. The following examples show how environmental graphics, unique materials, and innovative design choices combine to create stunning office environments that shape incredible company cultures.

3 Environmental Design Ideas That Influence Internal Branding

1. Adding an Element of Surprise

Lyft is one California-based company that’s mastered the element of surprise with its creative office branding. To customers, Lyft projects a neon image of a fun-loving, pop-culture savvy brand. Their new China Basin headquarters took that idea even further.

With playful patterns and textures, bold environmental graphics and signage, and unique decor, Lyft created a whimsical workspace that inspires fun and collaboration in their employees. A secret Willy Wonka door, for instance, leads to a casual speakeasy-themed study room where employees can hold meetings while taking advantage of the old-fashioned popcorn machine. The office space also includes living-room style meeting areas and plant-drenched ‘parklets,’ which are easily located via directional signage on the floor itself.

Lyft created an office environment like no other. With this new design, the company reinforced a culture of surprise and delight and sent a strong message to existing employees and new hires alike: Working here is going to be really fun.

2. Bringing the Outside In

Biophilic design is trending and some companies are letting these back-to-nature ideas influence their office interior branding. Natural materials and living installations are making waves across Bay Area offices, helping professional spaces feel less corporate and more human-centric. By including these natural installations in your interior design, you help connect your employees to the natural environment, resulting in both health, environmental and productivity benefits.

If you’re looking to bring more of the outside into your office environment, try the following ideas:

3. Providing Visual Interest

Finally, you can use environmental branding as a subtle way to create a welcome distraction from the everyday working experience. Office towers are notorious for having grey walls, grey hallways, and grey abstract artwork—but we all know that people need variety in their workspaces. We all need vibrancy, color, pattern, and visual interest.

Even if you’re stuck with monochromatic architecture, you can provide inspiration for your employees by installing bold and beautifully designed environmental graphics that attract attention and make your workplace more interesting.

For examples of simple environmental graphics that make a huge difference, take a look at Broadcom’s San Jose campus. The bold patterns help to liven up the four buildings in the complex and tie them together in a way that creates a cohesive internal brand experience. Broadcom discovered that wall-to-wall environmental graphics are a relatively inexpensive way to make a big impact on the office environment—and to reinforce their company’s unique internal brand.

Marrying Your Environmental and Internal Branding Efforts

Environmental graphics and signage are just one small piece of the internal branding puzzle. Still, these examples show how a change in office environment can shift the entire feel of a company’s culture.

Whether you’re looking to surprise employees, make your workplace more human-friendly, or provide interest and inspiration for your employees, you can accomplish your goals through something as simple as revived environmental branding.

For the best shot at an excellent result, partner with an environmental design firm with experience in rebranding corporate environments. The right environmental graphics and signage design firm will be able to provide you with a variety of strategic options to support your internal branding efforts and transform your corporate identity from the inside out.

At GNU Group, we believe every employee deserves to work in a unique and interesting workplace. We’ve spent the last 30 years designing environmental graphics that help boost employee engagement and inspire employees to love where they work. Connect with our team to start your journey toward successful internal branding through environmental design.