A wayfinding strategy is essential for any business which needs to navigate people around a given building, Select Sign Systems discuss why wayfinding is important and what it means for a businesses brand image.
Wayfinding and sign systems are closely associated, used together to bring together a cohesive and intuitive communications strategy for all people of a given building, for example, a university or an office block. Without wayfinding signage and related strategies these buildings or complexes would not function at the efficiency needed.
Wayfinding and brand are more closely linked than one might assume. Wayfinding is an important instrument in an overall brand strategy, one which should never be overlooked.
Brand image is a social and cultural phenomenon, something the people can connect too.
Brand is something that is experienced from every level of the business and is crucial in maintaining trust and bringing about success. Brand image in particular is linked to experience, it is a combination of a person’s first hand experiences of a company mixed with the knowledge which the person has gained from other sources.
Personal experience is seen to represent the true reality of brand image, advertising can certainly help shape a brand, but it is personal experience which holds the greatest power. Therefore it is essential for organisations to work hard to create and maintain their brand through all channels, including products, services and experiences.
Wayfinding is a strategy designed to bring about a cohesive and desirable experience. Organisations with large buildings need to ensure the public can navigate efficiently, in a stress free environment, whilst simultaneously experiencing all necessary touch points. In turn, leaving the building with a positive memory – a memory which further strengthens the brand image.
Producing a wayfinding strategy which promotes the consistencies and promises of a brand shows their commitments to the customers. A brand that understands the needs of the public, a brand which communicates efficiently, will always come out on top in competitive business. This is what wayfinding is all about, effective communication.
Wayfinding seeks to understand and analyse the needs of all user groups within society so they gain maximum benefit from the environments they inhabit. To achieve success at wayfinding and avoid disorientation and confusion, it is important to understand the characteristics of fundamental human behaviour. Understanding the information people can store and what they reject, what they see clearly and what they miss is paramount in determining the best solution. It is important to know when there is enough information and when there is too much. Effective communication strategies such as this are paramount to improving user experience and strengthening brand image.
Improving the personal experience of a customer generates a huge amount of power for a brand. It is important not to underestimate the power of experience, ‘experience first’ said Stanley Hainsworth, the former creative director of Nike. Experiences come through advertising, online experience and most importantly the environment. Whether the environment be retail, sports, offices, hospitals or airports, the objective is the same. Brands activate emotions and if these emotions are positive and optimistic the benefits are enormous.
Positive experiences portray authentic values that cannot be bought. A brand image which represents the customer, shows consistency, creates positive memorable experiences and provides optimism is the ultimate goal. Such a strong image resonates down through every part of the organisation. If an individual feels good by experience, they will associate the brand with this emotion. They will begin to associate the logo with pleasure, in turn embracing the brand as a whole.
A strong wayfinding strategy combined with quality sign systems is crucial. Helping to ensure all users receive the maximum benefit from the created environment so they will not miss out on valuable experiences.
The strategy must also include continuity, maintenance and Brand policing. Wayfinding which keeps to brand guidelines can effectively maintain a level of consistency which adheres to the values of the company. The strategy should also be flexible, allowing a company to grow and develop without damaging the customer experience. Such efficiencies have proven to lead to not only great Customer satisfaction, but also builds a positive optimistic environment for staff to work in. A bright and enthusiastic workforce will further promote an honourable brand image which makes the working environment a pleasurable place to experience.
To conclude, wayfinding is a crucial element in an increasingly dynamic brand environment. Those organisations willing to show their commitment to their customers are implementing quality sign systems and solid wayfinding strategies as an essential part of their branding arsenal. Wayfinding is a powerful tool in building a brilliant personal experience, a tool which is vital in building a successful brand image for the future.