As the fourth installment of our BRANDING BEHIND THE SCENES WITH HELLCAT, we’re tackling an often overlooked area of branding – the design and graphics used as part of or within your physical environment.
Environmental branding combines a combination of disciplines, goes by many names and with a definition that’s often fluid. However, this specific type of branding should be given the same value and level of consideration as your website or social media presence. Think of it this way. If your website is your brand in the digital realm, environmental branding is the application of your brand within the physical space it occupies. It allows your target market and other stakeholders to experience your brand in a memorable way.
A combination of traditional graphic design, interior design, architecture and construction, environmental branding can be as simple as plaques affixed to each office door or a sign behind the reception desk to more complex efforts that require custom paint mixes and furniture that precisely match your brand colors. In more extreme cases, it can mean thoughtfully adding a reflecting pool at the entrance of a building that mirrors the shape of your logo.
For Hellcat Hangar, the environment is the brand. From the industrial hangar shape of the building to the use of repurposed airplane seats as furniture to doors painted like those on a carrier, the goal is to immerse visitors in the space. These experiential touches create a connection and reinforce a visual identity that’s easy to understand for those you want to reach.
“Our building is a large part of what has driven brand development and not the other way around,” said co-owner Ben Van Der Like. In addition to the seating and décor, he went on to detail the decision to make an impact before someone sets foot inside. “We wanted to bring the building to life with an exterior mural that celebrated who we are while paying tribute to Pensacola’s rich aviation history,” Ben continued.
The custom mural, sprawling the entire width of the front façade of the building, was completed by Daniela de Castro of Daniela Paints. “Murals tend to become the centerpieces of businesses with a physical location. In the Hangar’s case, it also becomes a landmark in the community and makes a statement about Hellcat’s belief in the importance of adding a human touch to their services and building community,” Daniela explained.
“One of the main purposes of murals is to differentiate from competitors. In successful cases, murals become an integral part of the brand. As customers spread the word of the business, murals or art installations become one of the main descriptors of the business (e.g., “X bar has great cocktails and giant bird mural”),” Daniela added.
Whether it’s commissioned artwork for a building or more subtle, like a waiting area stocked with water bottles and snacks emblazoned with your logo, there are endless possibilities for a brand to embrace its surroundings. Ultimately, environmental branding should be thoughtfully planned just as you would the photography, fonts and headlines for a series of ads. It is yet another encounter with your brand that must be consistent in the story that it tells.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the third article in our BRANDING BEHIND THE SCENES WITH HELLCAT series. If you missed the previous two posts, check out Our Logo Journey: From Concept to Creation, Websites and Building Trust and Successful Social Media Strateg here on our Blog.