November 7, 2019

Your merchandise is eye-catching. You’ve made bold choices that reflect your brand and set you apart from the competition. Your logo “pops” on your homepage, and your content engages and resonates with your target audience. Clearly, you’ve made the most of your online presence or retail space so it appeals to your customers. But are you optimizing your corporate space when it comes to evoking your brand? Is it unique to your culture in that it reminds your clients as well as your employees of who you are and what you do?

At Gresham Smith, we help our retail clients discover their workplace brand identity, which must work in harmony with their customer-facing brand voice. In this post, I take a look at how we’ve done just that for LifeWay, one of the largest providers of Christian resources in the world, and Fanatics, the global leader in officially licensed sports merchandise.



Word Up!

Helping a retail client find their office environment brand is often an investigative process. In many ways, it’s similar to what interior designers do when programming a space. But instead of figuring out functionality and flow, we’re defining a company’s message and how they wish to communicate it in their space.

One way we help communicate a retail client’s brand is by letting their corporate space tell their story. A great example is LifeWay Christian Resources corporate headquarters in downtown Nashville, which showcases the company’s brand based on legacy, faith and a storied history.

The moment employees and visitors enter the two-story lobby, they’re greeted by stained-glass story panels that depict the lessons Christ taught in eight parables. A focal point and expression of LifeWay’s commitment to the Word of God, the suspended panels were relocated from their previous sanctuary.



Letting Stories Tell a Story

We used branded “touchpoints” to reinforce the company’s story throughout the corporate HQ. On the second floor, a book collage pays homage to LifeWay’s long publishing legacy of biblically based products. This distinctive touchpoint features every book the organization has published, starting with a small book from the late 1800s.



Reinforcing Who They Are

Wall graphics feature words that represent LifeWay’s core values as well as Scripture verses that were selected by employees. Repeated throughout the campus, we used this classic and illustrative graphic style to reflect the vintage form of printmaking observed in earlier LifeWay publications.



It’s All About the Fans

In the same way we helped LifeWay identify the spirit of their workplace identity, we helped longstanding client Fanatics evoke the spirit of sports at multiple office locations throughout the United States and in China. Through architecture, interior design and branded environments, Gresham Smith has delivered distinctive corporate spaces that tell the story of the Fanatics brand.


Fanatics Jacksonville office


Heightening Brand Awareness 

Working closely with Fanatics leadership, we created a consistent and authentic experience across every office. Eye-catching graphics and custom spaces not only allow the company to highlight their sportswear and merchandise, but also reinforce to employees that sports fans are their true customers.



A Game-Day Touchdown!

Emphasizing the company’s partnership with America’s major sports leagues—including NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA and NHL—we designed each office space with a seamless “game day” experience in mind. For example, the showrooms and office areas create an “in-game” experience where the action takes place.

Staff collaboration areas and break rooms embody the “post-game” experience and are designed to reflect the laid-back atmosphere a fan might find at a local sports bar. Along with creating a winning experience for Fanatics employees, the design conveys to their partners that they’ve arrived at the offices of a premier sports merchandise retailer.



Calling all Retailers!

Whether you’re a bricks and mortar retailer or have an online presence, your brand is far more than just your website and logo or what’s reinforced in your retail space. It is the heartbeat and personality of your company. And your workplace environment should be a natural extension of your brand—a space that serves as a powerful tool in which you continue to promote your product and your services, and provide employees with a unique opportunity to live and experience your brand.