How to Stand Out, Part 2: Location, Location, Location

Your company needs a location to do business. It could be an office, a warehouse, or a retail store. But why should yours look like every other office, warehouse, or retail store?

Instead, why not turn your location into one of the most incredible parts of your company, into something that customers, vendors, and employees will rave about?

In other words, in both form and function…why not make your location utterly awesome?

Just Another Day at the Office

Let’s take your office space. You can design a typical office, where your employees will sit in boring white cubicles or generic offices. Or you can design an office that will stand out from the rest, an office that prospective employees and clients will hear about before they’ve even seen it, an office that’s perfectly suited for your employees’ needs.

To make this a reality, ask yourself the following questions:

What do your employees want most? Do you have a lot of employees who are parents of young children? If so, perhaps you can allocate part of your office to be a daycare. Do your employees want a space where they can “hang” after work? If so, give them a game room. And if you don’t have room in the budget for an entire game room, consider buying a ping-pong table for your employee break room instead. In fact, my previous office had a ping-pong table in the center of the common space. 

What do you want from your employees? Some tech companies want their employees to spend as much time in the office as possible, so they’ll make sure that anything that might pull them away has a counterpart onsite—everything from a barbershop to an urgent care to a nail salon. While that’s not possible for most smaller businesses, think about what your goals are and how your workspace’s design can move your employees closer to those goals.

For example, the ad agency Barbarian built its workspace around a “superdesk,” or a single, endless work surface that weaves around the entire office. They felt that it would be less inhibiting than the more-typical cubical design, and more cohesive for its employees. They made sure to include archways beneath the superdesk to provide meeting spaces of different sizes as well.

What would make your workspace stand out? Obviously, you need to brainstorm within your budget, but designing a unique and eye-catching workplace will make your employees proud to go home and brag to their friends that they work in such an incredible place.

Etsy, an online marketplace for the art-lover, obviously asked all of these questions before designing their workspace. The building is filled with artwork and greenery. It has an entire floor crammed with amenities that would appeal to their employees: wet and dry labs, a wood shop, a sound room, recording studios, and a greenscape to visit for inspiration. It also contains various meeting spaces throughout the building for collaboration. Its eye-catching artwork makes the entire building look like a work of art.

Through a Customer’s Eyes

While a workspace may be seen primarily by employees, other locations are designed primarily for the eyes of your customers. For example, if your business has a retail location, its design will introduce customers to your brand. Why not put the time and effort into making the retail location incredible?

The look that you’re going for will depend on your brand’s identity. For example, look at these two retail locations:

The first is the home of Aesop, which sells skin, hair, and body care formulations. Its design conveys simplicity, with a clean and natural look that encapsulates its brand’s core identity. The second is Suit Supply, an international chain of fashionable clothing stores. The lighting and color scheme feel very different from Aesop’s neutral aura.

But designing a retail store goes beyond choosing its general look. You’ll also want to think about what your customers really want and how you can draw them in. For example, Lululemon offers complimentary yoga classes at many of their stores by shoving aside their products and rolling out the yoga mats. The Starbucks store in the Meatpacking District of New York offers on-site coffee roasting and coffee beans that shoot across the ceiling in clear tubes and drop into containers at the espresso bar.

Throughout the design process, think about how each part of your retail store will look through your customers’ eyes, and you’ll be on the path to a store that truly stands out in a crowd.

The Sky’s the Limit

And don’t stop there! Your business might have other locations that you can redesign in order to make them stand out.

Does your business have any vending machines? Kiosks? What about the exterior of your building, or the outside landscaping, or even your section of the building directory in the lobby? What about your showroom, or about an area of your warehouse that is open to visitors?

Think: How can you make every location that you own stand out?

The truth is, if your company needs to build an office space for its employees, or a retail store for its customers, or any other location that represents your brand…why do it the same way every other business does? Instead, view it as a marketing opportunity, and design it in a way that truly stands out.


This is Part 2 in The Stand Out! Series about how to make every single aspect of your company stand out. This post looks at how the various locations related to your company—from offices to retail space to vending machines—can be redesigned to be awesome. Part 1 focused on improving the “face” of your company (uniforms and truck wraps), and Part 3 will focus on your product and all its enhancements.