Catalyst Workplace Activation

Tmarks was engaged by Venture Brands on behalf of BiNW, a leading Northwest Herman Miller dealer, to develop the new visual brand, collateral, environmental design elements – all outward expressions of a new brand – but also to collaborate in articulating who the brand is and its unique advantage.

Venture Brands was working with company president, Sean O’Brien to address what was originally a website refresh.  It became clear that doing so would be a band-aid that didn’t address a deeper dissonance and marketing problem. The brand was a misfit for what the company truly delivers. Positioned as innovators, the company was often seen as deliverers of a commodity. Neither was quite the truth.

Over the next several months, the hard questions about what the company does were asked. The result was a distillation of the core truth. While viewed from 10,000 feet the company did deliver furniture – there is much more involved and that is what distinguishes them: years of experience and deep product knowledge applied to a design plan that magnifies the good work and problem-solving. Their existing brand didn’t acknowledge or articulate this.

The difficulty in business is that without articulating what a company does, the company suffers from an identity mismatch, which leads to an inability to differentiate from one’s competition. This directly affects bottom line, especially after the seasons of low-hanging fruit have subsided.

For Catalyst, the difficult task of holding up a mirror to the company yielded the fact that they don’t so much innovate, but activate – and in doing so, create the most engaging places to work, to heal, to learn, to collaborate and to generate ideas. They don’t innovate; but they are, they realized, the Catalyst to innovation.

Working with Venture and Mark Wolf Design who handles space and interiors, Tmarks became part of an ongoing team that works closely with the Catalyst internal team.

Catalyst Workplace Activation is the arbiter of workplace knowledge. Armed with years of research and the tools to employ it from Herman Miller, we had to activate the same for themselves. The outcome? The Catalyst Loft.

Perched 21 floors above downtown Seattle at the Convention Center, The Catalyst Loft looms large in the landscape of the company.

Contrary to common practice, this beautiful, custom-designed space is not a furniture showroom. It’s a living lab that explores the best practices and future of workplace. It will change dramatically at least twice in a year. While they do use terminology derived from Herman Miller’s Living Office approach, it showcases not furniture, but ideal settings that fit the way the world works today.

“Becoming Catalyst Workplace Activation has invigorated our business and it is so much more than excitement, although there’s plenty of that.” reflected O’Brien. “It’s been a ton of work, but with this rebrand, this articulation of who we are, we are so much better equipped to express the critical difference that we provide. It’s given us direction and with it, tools that will help us achieve our potential.”