What your Location is saying about your Brand

branding agency Melbourne

Brand Location, Location, Location
Often location is thought to be of relevance for retailers and perhaps the position of the head office of the biggest brands, but where you choose to locate yourself says much to your customers and clients about your position in the market.

After many years in business, one of the rules of thumb we apply when assessing the quality of a new business lead is location. For corporate clients, our experience tells us if they are located more than 15 minutes from the city, they are unlikely to have the level of business and marketing sophistication we need to make for a fruitful branding agency partnership. On the other hand, for manufacturing clients, we know that they are more likely to be located well out of town in one of the industrial areas, where land for large-scale manufacturing is more affordable.

Often when working with clients, particularly professional services firm brands, the discussion turns to location of their offices. For every business overheads need to be managed carefully, but when the business and brand strategies both direct that a company must attract tier one clients, a suburban office above a row of shops quite simply communicates the wrong messages to your potential clients. Similarly, an inner city office in an old building with no reception a shared board room located down the hall communicates the same brand messages. Clients and customers across the board follow the PLO (People Like Ourselves) principal. Simply put, we all see ourselves and our standing in life reflected back in the people and brands we choose to associate with. This is equally true in business as it is in our personal lives. When a brand reflects our aspirations, especially a professional services brand, we believe it will provide for our business exactly the level of service and professionalism that will reflect the way we aspire to see our own business.

We can’t all choose tom locate our ‘Hot Dog Stand’ on the corner of Hot Dog St. and Sausage Ave. But we can all choose to consider what our business location and our brand space design says about our brand proposition and positioning.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Brand Designer on the Corner of Strategic Street & Inspiration Ave

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7 Comments

    • Hi Alan, you make a great point. Naming your office, showroom, factory to link your brand to the location is a rich way to build greater brand equity. From your title: Destination Brand Developer. Imaginacres: Home of the Nation of Innovation – I see you have this approach covered in spades. A great example and appreciate your input to the brand conversation.

  1. I think this post is spot on in many ways though I believe this is shifting in the digital age and this weakness can be made into a strength. I have an creative agency in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast of all places and this location has, up until lately, been a glass ceiling on the kinds of clients we could be seen to work with, not being in a capital city.

    Through over a decade of hard work we have built a reputation that allows us to now win work with global brands nationally and internationally. Our location is now seen more as a quirky extension of our brand culture that allows us to do the work we do. I must add though that digital communications has allowed this to occur from a logistical perspective.

    I know we are not like every business but thought I should put out there the idea that an unconventional business location can be used as strength if interwoven into the company’s brand story as an element that makes them different to their competition.

    • Thanks for the comment Rob. From a quick look at your site you’re building a great business aided by some great smarts that many businesses lack. I guess you prove the point that exceptional people can create exceptions to just about every rule. Great to be in touch.

  2. Interesting post but not sure I agree with all of it. I identify with Rob’s comments. I’ve recently purchased a design studio and moved the location from a cool office in town to an office based at home. At the end of the day clients have stayed with the company in the transition not because of the location but because of the great service I offer and the high quality work I do. More and more work is being done purely online and having a cheaper overhead means I can pass on savings. I can also offer more flexibility in the office opening hours which clients love. Perhaps how the office looks doesn’t fit the brand but I find it is working great in the overall vision of the company.

    • Thanks for your comments Karen. Without understanding your business and its proposition I caution against Rob’s approach being applied as a general rule. The point of the post is that where you choose to locate your business is part of your brand’s positioning, whether you intend it to be or not. For a digital agency doing truly remarkable work by world standards, they can choose to locate themselves outside the mainstream, as many of the leading digital agencies around the world do. On the other hand, for a law firm with serious aspirations for instance – an office in the legal precinct of the capital city is a non-negotiable, sending clients to a suburban address may make for lower overheads and a better charge rate, but clearly positions the firm as third tier. Which is my point – there is no right or wrong location for a business, but where you choose to run your business from is sending a message to your clients (and more importantly your potential clients) who will make a judgement call on your brand positioning based on their perceptions of your location, relative to your market. Sometimes a home office is right for your brand positioning – sometimes not, it is simply a matter of being aware and making a considered, conscious decision.

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