There are precise sounds to the platforms and the tools we use every day, the whoosh of the sent email. The incoming ping. The click of the lock on your smartphone. These sounds are carefully created to reach right into the core of your consciousness to embed themselves as signals of activity that demand your attention. And they work– ‘Drop everything’. ‘Pay attention’. ‘Look over here’.
Like all things, the good and the catchy ones stay with you, and the intrusive or alarming ones fail or flounder. Remember the depth charge on the BlackBerry… indeed what happened to BlackBerry?
But what if we went further than the functionality alone. We can explore how a brand might sound. We know what it looks like, even how it animates, moves, and speaks when scrolling through a webpage or listening to a podcast. But what might a brand feel like to the touch? What might it smell like if we were to visit? What might it be if it were item of clothing?
As we move away from business cards and books, what is the opportunity for the remaining pieces of tactile collateral? Can it play a part in a wider role?
The 'new' office
There is an opportunity for the office to be more special and for the objects around you at home (that relate to your work) to be more representative of your brand. Coolly minimalist, white and steel interiors. 'Oh, you must work for Apple'. Wood and bamboo? 'Are you with Aesop or Hermes or LVMH?' What might laser-cut recycled metal or 3-D printed objects say? Maybe you’re in manufacturing, in F1, or you’re interested in tech and work for a SaaS.
And about the objects that surround you. What are their codes? Oxygenating plants, we’re a lifestyle business. Books, we’re thinkers. LP’s, we’re in media. Old computer’s, we love tech. What do these treasures at the back of your video call say about you, how you want to be perceived and the kind of person you are. They all matter.
And how might your brand smell? We know of a famous designer who won a contract for a luxury hotel not by adding more rooms or a swimming pool in the basement, but by creating a fragrance for the whole chain. Genius. So, when, on the (rare) occasion, someone visits your office for an actual meeting, think about how to make it memorable. What might the scent in the meeting room be. Is it bespoke? Did you commission it?
And think about the spaces you occupy too. Build an office around a kitchen. What kind of coffee. What handwash in the bathroom. Fruit or candy. Free bagels or free croissants. Have a library. What kind of books? All these choices send signals about who you are. What company you keep. How you behave and what you will be like to work with?
Ties or no ties. Trainers and sweatshirts or shirtsleeves and loafers. It all matters, especially as the war for talent hots up. So, next time you think about your brand, add a physical and multi-sensory expression dimension.
Beyond the brand
Take a moment to think about the brand you are and the brand you want to be. And stretch that idea of brand beyond the channels of social media and emailers (important though they are) to think about the tangible perception you want to leave behind. Premium brands do. Maybe now, in this time of new normal, it’s time for every brand to think about the impression it wants to make beyond both visual and verbal expression.
Let’s be remembered for every aspect, across every touchpoint.
Written by: Jesse Swash, Co-Founder.