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Re-Brand Safely And Sustainably During This Downtime

Coldwell Banker Green Wall

 

Is your commitment to sustainability known? Maybe it’s time to re-brand. 

WeWork Living Wall Urbanstrong BlogIf there is a silver lining to this global disruption, it is that we have been given the gift of time. For many of us, the past twelve weeks of quarantine have given us nothing but time to pick up new hobbies, feed our sourdough starters, and revisit our Duolingo accounts. It’s appropriate to defer to self-improvement when given a little extra time in the day. So why should the company you work for operate any differently? The economic pause has been an ideal opportunity to strategize and think about how to reassess and re-brand your business. Consumers are buying more consciously. The attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits are changing—and many of these new ways will likely remain post-pandemic. Re-thinking brand values, purpose and pivoting strategies is imperative for any size business, across any industry. At the same time, employees may be fearful of returning to their confined workspaces. As sensitivity increases around wellness and workplace expectations are heightened, a healthy environment may mean a complete redesign of the office space. So is your office ready for employees to safely return to the workplace? Approached separately, these two problems could be too much to handle. Could they be tackled together?  Can we simultaneously focus on engaging customers and driving sales while also comforting the wary employee?

In other words, can we “feed two birds with one scone?”

How Do We Emerge Healthier and Re-Brand To Be More Sustainably Conscious?

Many businesses are guilty of throwing around the term “sustainability” when talking about their company or brand. But what does that actually mean and how are they living up to it?

One eye-catching method that has gained popularity in recent years, is the incorporation of green technology within the spaces that employees and customers work and visit. Living Walls, Green Space Dividers, and Green Roof amenity spaces offer a myriad of benefits; of the social/psychological, environmental and economical nature. This is why we at Urbanstrong often refer to each of our installations as a “Swiss Army Knife” of benefits.

Logo on Living Wall Lobby Reception Desk

GE Headquarters California

How Can Green Technology Be Used to Re-Brand and Impact Our Industries?

From my time working in corporate America and my decades of experience as a consumer, I have taken the liberty of painting a picture of what I have found to be the average experience of a typical employee and consumer. For each experience below I have also included corrective action and benefits to green technology implementation, so I hope it doesn’t read too critical.

Living Green Wall in Shopping Mall

Huntington Center Columbus, OH

Retail

What’s expected: The usual up-lighting on seasonally dressed mannequins, along with “on-brand” art. Maybe a pop-up experience featuring a local or unassuming collaborator.

What could be: A living, breathing lush tapestry of tropical foliage featuring the company logo or catchphrase superimposed on top, subtly enforcing your brand’s message.

Benefits: Aside from serving as a natural air purifier, Living Walls can be quite interactive and regenerative. Like a magnet for closer-looks, they draw new guests into the store and keep existing customers intrigued. The longer customers linger, the more they spend.  Plants are also a natural stress-reducer, creating a calming atmosphere for shoppers. One interesting study conducted in a retail environment explores the positive effects greenery can have on the consumer’s attitude and perception.  Lesson being: use greenery to re-brand and drive sales.

hotel amenity space living green wall

Hotel Zags, Portland, OR

Hospitality

What’s expected: On brand decor and tailored food/drink menus to fit the over-pronounced theme. A dim-lit and cozy seating area in the lobby or rooftop bar, for the guests to relax and organize the remaining days of their trip.

What could be: A Living Wall that greets the guests when they arrive or a large Green Roof deck where fresh herbs are grown for cocktails and appetizers. Every seating nook with a view or background of vibrant foliage is now an “instagrammable” space. Not to mention, the comfier your guests are, the longer they will sit, eating and drinking.

Benefits: Green Roofs are capable of providing energy savings, stormwater management, and reduction in heat island effect. The plants of both Living walls and Green roofs passively clean and cool the air around them. The foliage also acts as a natural sound barrier, dampening echoes from the neighboring crowds.

 

Office

What’s expected: The typical office includes individual desks tightly packed together, communal workspaces and cramped conference rooms with muted, distraction-free decor. A scramble to design the post-pandemic office may have towering plexiglass sneeze-guards creating laneways and separating worker desks. Or maybe the office manager just doubled down on even more drab carpeted cubicle walls.  At the same time, stale indoor air accumulates CO2, the smell of microwaved fish from the kitchen, and formaldehyde from new furniture, cardboard boxes and carpet. The photocopiers and laser printers are also emitting ozone, which causes irritation to the nose, throat and lungs.  I could go on.

The point is, indoor office air is dirty, and more carpeted cubicle walls and plexiglass barriers are only worsening this. Compounding the physical health issues, the only connection to nature is a series of windows on the other side of the room. And finally, there’s the sound of ricocheted chatter coming from the sales department’s headsets. According to a Harvard Business Review Article, sound was among the worst distractions in the office setting.

What could be: An office space full of living, breathing plant partitions that are inspiring to the employees and clients. The plants are also passively cleaning the air by scrubbing it of impurities such as VOC’s and carbon monoxide. Portable and free-standing space dividers to create private nooks and conference areas.

Benefits: Not only are our Green Space Dividers air purifying, sound-absorbing, and aesthetically pleasing, but they also enhance productivity and creativity. Boosting the mental health of employees and improving their cognitive function can increase retention rates AND sales, simultaneously.

What are Next Steps to Re-Brand and Make Your Workplace Safer Post-Pandemic?

Companies can capture the hearts and minds of the consumer when they execute brand messaging thoughtfully, ; encourage them to become the best version of themselves…and even promote environmental conservation.

For our consumers and employees, let us come out of hibernation with a more environmentally conscious outlook and sustainable mindset. By designing safe spaces that also celebrate biophilic design principles we can continue to inspire.

Click here to find out what it will take to incorporate a Living Wall, Green Space Divider or Green roof in your space.

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