Many brands and chains learned from the success of Disneyland and Chuck E. Cheese’s branded environments and have launched branded environment efforts of their own, whether through more prominently-displayed logos throughout stores, unified fonts/signage choices, recognizable in-store architecture, memorable staff uniforms, brand scents (like the cologne famously pumped through Abercrombie & Fitch’s stores) or any number of other in-person/in-store branding methods.
Branded Environment Example: Chain Stores and Chain Restaurants
Today, almost every location of every chain restaurant, chain store or other chain establishment has a purposefully-designed branded environment using many of the above features.
Chipotle has consistent in-store decor, signage and layouts and uses dark, slatted wood with silver metallic textures throughout. McDonald’s has its classic golden arches outside almost every restaurant, nearly identical point-of-sale architecture in ever location, and uses its signature yellow and red in its signage, staff uniforms, menus and food packaging. Abercrombie & Fitch stores are known for their dark wood interiors, mood lighting and iconic scent. Victoria’s Secret stores are always decked out in pink and black, with similar display furniture (their famous pull-out drawer underwear dressers), sparkles & shine in most displays, and a feminine scent wafting throughout.
Branded Environment Example: Pop-ups, Experiential Events & Interactive Experiences
We also see incredibly immersive branded environments in pop-ups, whether they’re shops or experiences. These short-term spaces are usually more experimental and focus on highlighting new brands/brand offerings or framing existing brands in a fresh way. More and more pop-ups are taking cues from experiential museums and social-media-focused events, incorporating their branding with immersive experiences and compelling aesthetics.
The easiest-to-spot branded environments today often overlap with pop-ups—we’re talking full experiential branded events. Have you heard of Refinery 29’s 29Rooms? What about any of the thousands of brand installation events throughout NYC every year, like mattress brand Casper’s “Dreamery?” Brands are becoming increasingly creative when thinking of ways to surround consumers with their logos, products, and general aesthetics in new and fun ways, cementing them in consumers’ minds as innovators and creating opportunities for organic publicity through social media posts and stories. Barbie & Mattel had a one-day-only branded pop-up in Soho celebrating International Women’s Day and offering photo opportunities; Google created a custom faux “hardware” store to show off their home products (as opposed to their software); color company Pantone opened a café filled with food and drinks that correspond precisely with their color swatches. All of these branded experiences make use of best practices from branded environments—and then pump them up by 1000%!