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Five building blocks for successful Brand Homes

22 February 2021
old forester gin distillery in london with bronze distilling equipment large image

Brand Homes are emerging as a powerful tool in a changing world of brand, channels and customer relationships. Where once they were the preserve of luxury goods and wineries, progressive brands are increasingly seeing their potential for generating value for the brand and business as a whole.

Whether they are located in the place which is the authentic heart of the brand, or newly created in places that bring a brand closer to its customers and fans – they have the potential to drive value on multiple levels.

Having conducted a global audit of Brand Homes, we found over 400 different experiences with staggering breadth and depth of concepts. From The James Bond ‘Elements’ experience atop a mountain in Solden, Austria, to the immersive Old Forester Bourbon experience in Louisville, Kentucky, or the outlandish Ghibli Museum experience in Japan.

People standing around brewing equipment at old forester

Across our research, 25 different industry sectors were featured. Typically Brand Homes from the Drinks and Luxury categories are the best represented, but there are also more recent examples from Technology, Entertainment and Automotive brands. Based on our audit sample, it seems most Brand Homes are located in Europe, with many also featuring in the US. Perhaps most importantly, there is also a rapid growth of Brand Homes in critical markets like China.

Imagination has been a pioneer in creating Brand Homes for global brands for decades and below we pose five building blocks for successful Brand Homes, whether your business is venturing into the area for the first time or considering refreshing your strategic approach to your existing Brand Home.

1. A hub for your network

Brand Homes are often undervalued and underutilised, and yet they can deliver significant value for employees, wider business networks and media. Make sure that they are properly integrated by connecting them to every part of your business, whether that’s as a space for immersive training programmes, authentic staff inductions or the storytelling home of media and corporate relationship experiences.

2. Experience content is king

Brand Homes need to be an integral part of your content strategy. Begin with the basics of boosting your range of owned channel content. But also push your teams further to think beyond authentic, typical content themes like production and staff, by designing activations and event programmes that are exciting to watch from diverse social media platforms. The world of hybrid and virtual brand home experiences is also a new landscape waiting to be explored.

3. An entrepreneurial mindset

Remember that a Brand Home is not just a corporate or marketing tool, ultimately it should be run like a business in its own right. People are happy to pay for experiences, services and products, so ensure you maximise the opportunity by designing the right commercial model and exploring multiple avenues that generate revenues whilst respecting the brand ethos of your particular destination.

4. Develop a complete value equation

Brand Homes generate value across a spectrum of areas, including commercial value and brand value. Every sector has its own particular ecosystem but our experience has taught us that most Brand Homes undervalue or overlook significant pools of value. Developing a thorough audit of this value is essential, so too is a robust approach to measuring and reporting.

5. A creative Lab

As a dynamic space, any Brand Home should be a place where you can test new experiences, incubate limited edition products and push the creative boundaries for your brand. Harnessing the R&D potential is critical to delivering more long term value, so tap into the ready-made audience to involve them in co-creating your next successful product or service.

Our audit shows there is still a huge, untapped opportunity for Brand Homes across different sectors and regions. It is clear this is a tool that is only set to grow.

Every brand and market is different, but the key is to have a clear vision of how a Brand Home tells your unique story, whilst delivering on the value equation that meets your business goals.

If you’d like to find out more about our Brand Homes value audit or want to start a new conversation about yours, please feel free to get in touch with your local office.