With the Future of Work becoming more flexible, we have seen demand for more premium flexible workspace offerings in recent years. Our growth during the pandemic from 135 to 150 locations and our recognition as a Top 500 Asia-Pacific High-Growth Companies 2021 by The Financial Times shows that the demand for our unique offering is only accelerating. We took the opportunity to interview our CEO & Founder, Paul Salnikow, to learn about the origin of The Executive Centre’s iconic branding and see where the future of the branding is headed.
How did the iconic logo come about? What is the messaging behind the infinite knot?
The idea behind the logo was always meant to represent the energy and interaction generated from the activity within our Centres. You see, there are four pillars that represent the Members, our Teammates, business activities and our quality service. These four pillars can be thought of as pairings with our Teammates supporting our Members’ business activities which in turn drives our Teammates and service to grow. So you have the interaction of people and services coming together and pushing each other to evolve; the lines represent the interaction. As a whole, they represent the energy that is being generated in our Centres. Now you may notice the lines are not perfect; in fact, they never overlap, and that is deliberate since the four pillars are fundamentally different elements that are each individually essential to the success of our spaces. Thus they each have their own “paths" or “requirements" for growth. However, as these four elements grow, they will inevitably mix, so the design’s core appears as a knot. Therefore, the infinity motif is quite apt, although my initial intention was simply to represent the interacting energy within our Centres. The logo you see today is already a stripped-down version of the original design, which had a circle around the knot that represented our Centres as a physical building.
When did the logo get updated, and what brought about that change?
Well, in 2017, when we relaunched our website, we also updated our branding and marketing. The goal was to make our visual design instantly recognisable and unique, just like our network of Executive Centres; each has its own local identity but shares a signature TEC design. We separated the knot icon and the wordmark to be their own elements that could be used interchangeably. In doing so, we removed the encapsulating circle that represented the building and enlarged the knot, which represented the energy of interaction. Now, the focus is on the energy, and it makes more sense when you consider we have over 150+ locations across 14 Markets; our Members are not receiving support and enhanced business activity from just any one Centre, but also from having the capacity to work at any of our Centres; Members can use our communal lounges, Meeting Rooms and Event Venues and even on-demand Day Offices. Moreover, the MyTEC Mobile App addition has unlocked the entire network and list of Community benefits and programming for our Members no matter where they work from. By being a part of The Executive Centre, our Members can access TEC wherever they go and so that interaction of growth goes beyond any physical building.
Where do you see the branding growing in the future as TEC continues to succeed?
Before our 2017 update, by and large, most of our branding stayed the same since our conception in 1994. At the time, we only had a handful of Executive Centres, and they were in Hong Kong, so we frequently only went by the English name “The Executive Centre" – a name which we have since discovered becomes rather long in local languages or through translation loses it’s premium messaging. For instance, in Chinese, TEC loosely translates into “Business Centre", so for the future of our branding, I think it will be about updating our local names. To that end, we recently rebranded our identity in the China market to simply ‘Dé shì’, which phonetically represents TEC better and messaging wise means “virtues". Hopefully, many of our Members in our Greater China market will see this new local name rebranding within the year.
Another way I see our branding growing is with various initiatives that grow out of our premium offering and becomes their own entity. For instance, earlier this year, we trademarked TEC Community and the social hashtag “#teccommunity". In doing so, we cemented the objective of our Member programming and officially recognised the role of Community in facilitating the interaction between Members and our Teammates. Community is now a part of our signature offering as much as our physical assets like Herman Miller Chairs, 9am Workstations, Interface Carbon neutral carpets, Cisco Telephones and Barista branding growing. While this may sound quite open to interpretation, it is because at The Executive Centre we employ over 1000 Teammates and many of them are working on developing different areas of our workspaces. Some are growing our sustainability, some with local partnerships and others work with the feedback of our Members to drive change. Any one of these initiatives can spark growth and evolution at The Executive Centre; that’s why our logo is about the energy of interaction as opposed to any one single aspect. As our Members grow, we grow too. The success of The Executive Centre is the culmination of our teammates’ hard work and the support of our Community.
To learn more about the past, present and future of The Executive Centre, you can watch our CEO and Founder in conversation with Lucy Liu, our former group managing director of TEC Greater China.