What does your facility say about your business? Is it clean? Is it well kept? Is it intimidating or is it welcoming? What do you want your customers to feel and experience when they drive up and then walk in the door?
When we talk about image, we can’t forget the role the physical space plays in the development and reinforcement of a business’s image. The importance of selecting an appropriate building or space and the right exterior and interior design cannot be overstated.
First, let’s talk about the exterior of your building or space. Take a look at the exterior of banks or other financial institutions; you will see that traditionally they are constructed using brick and/or stone. This use of this exterior material provides a look of stability and longevity. These are important and influential factors when people are making decisions on how and where to invest their money. Choose exterior design elements that convey your message.
Now let’s move inside. Remember that the experience your customer has inside your business is a multi-sensory experience. We tend to focus on the visual but we also need to remember that the smell of the space and the sounds that they hear will also play an important role in a customer’s perception of your business. Scent is the sense most closely connected to emotion. It is important that the space is free of any offensive odors (chemicals, overpowering perfumes, etc.). A little research can help you to decide how to properly incorporate scent into your space. Likewise, choose background music or background sounds that are appropriate and work to further the image you are trying to portray.
Moving on to style . . . Again, I want to emphasize that the look and layout of the interior of your business should be consistent with your image. What do I mean by this? Well, if you want to be known as a highly progressive, technology consulting firm, your interior should reflect that. Furniture pieces that are worn or antique might look out of place and create a conflict in customers’ minds. A clean, uncomplicated look with modern furnishings might be more consistent. Similarly, if you are opening a luxury day spa you will want to plan the space accordingly, and incorporate finish materials and that reflect comfort and encourage relaxation.
This article is not designed to give you a design solution to fit every image but rather to encourage you to think seriously about the role your facility will play in conveying that image. A few hundred dollars in design consulting could go a long way in saving you from making an expensive mistake. Good exterior and interior design is an opportunity to reinforce your image and its message throughout your facility.
Simply put, when a customer is pulling up to or looking around your space, they should be able to sense, without question, exactly what it is your business stands for.