What does CVS stand for?
If you answered “Consumer Value Stores” or “Convenience, Value and Service,” color me impressed. Someone recently asked if I knew what CVS stands for. I said “murky carpet, oppressive red, and rows of overpriced wine.”
This is not about CVS. This could be about why the “aha moment” shouldn’t be part of the brand naming process (check back on our website soon for this upcoming blog post!); instead, I’m interested in environmental branding, in the importance of the physical environment in brand communication.
We’re putting the finishing touches on our new office space, which we moved into recently. I’ve spent many hours over the course of the last few months drafting floor plans and hand-finishing wood desks and selecting floors and paints and plants and coasters and laying out lighting patterns and building lunch counters. I and several others here have invested a lot of personal time in this environmental design work for MarketPlace because we know how important the physical environment is to our enjoyment and productivity as employees. We’ve done this work because we believe in its importance for our brand. Just as much, we’ve done it because we enjoy environmental branding.
This work has happened largely after hours because we’ve been busy during work hours doing the same for our partners. From rebranding and designing a fast casual and its flagship store to designing and managing trade show experiences for several of our partners, we’ve been up to our ears in floor plans, textiles, mockups, wall graphics, menu boards, and handmade clouds.
MarketPlace functions as a brand development partner; as such, most people expect from us business strategy and value propositions and messaging and marketing plans and logos and ads and packaging and websites, and we certainly excel in those things. What few expect and are surprised to learn about is our attention to and capabilities in environmental and experiential branding. From fast casual space planning and design to developing environmental displays for a partner in Petco to ensuring that the trade show experience is a brand-positive experience, we care about the physical worlds in which our brand and marketing strategy exists. We know (from experience with CVS and otherwise) that the greatest brand name or value proposition or ad campaign can be diminished by a frustrating floor plan or bad carpet choice.
Not every company has significant environmental brand concerns to tend to, but neither is everyone paying as much attention to those concerns as they should. I’ve been paying attention to the responses of our partners when they visit our office space for the first time, and it’s been encouraging so far to hear people say things like “this is so MarketPlace” or “this is what I expected your office to look like based on your website.” That matters to us. It means that people’s experience of our brand is consistent with the values and messaging of our brand. And that’s a powerful thing.
Inasmuch as you’re able to shape it, we hope that the physical environment in which your brand lives reflects the value proposition of your brand. If you’re not sure, we’d love to talk with you about it—send us a message or call us at your convenience, and let’s make sure that what consumers think your brand stands for is what you want your brand to stand (and sit, and walk through, and wait in line) for.