Gap, McDonald's, Coffee Republic. Walk into any branch and you feel sort of at home because they have a corporate look.

But now it seems that the instantly-recognisable brand and image that was once the province of the high street retailer is just as important to service providers.

The property industry is as conscious as any in presenting a memorable, bold and modern image.

Some firms are taking the process a further step forward by ensuring that all their offices are branded in the same way as any high street retailer might brand its stores. Property consultants NAI Fuller Peiser has just completed a branding exercise to coincide with relocation to new, enlarged offices at Colmore Row, Birmingham, in the courtyard alongside Snow Hill Station.

The only difference to be found between entering the new Birmingham office and the firm's offices in London and Bristol is the view out-side, according to Andrew Langley, a partner and head of the firm's building surveying department in Birmingham.

As he explains, there are numerous very valid reasons why service providers are paying more attention to branding.

"It reinforces a company's name through recognisable logos and colours and images and helps staff to feel part of a bigger set-up," he tells Business Property Review.

"Branding allows staff from other offices to work seamlessly in familiar and comfortable settings and to help to integrate offices to work more closely together in an age when projects are now being resourced by staff across the country, working in teams to meet with national instructions."

Branding also helps to develop the culture within a firm, says Mr Langley, sending out a clear statement to clients on the firm's values. The brand is also believed to integrate staff from across different departments, improving internal communications and relationships.

Mr Langley stresses the need for the brand to be applied at all levels and not simply to stationery and signboards, saying: "In considering the fit-out of our new Birmingham office, we were conscious of the dramatic improvement in the performance of our London office following their relocation and wanted to mirror that in every way.

"By copying the design, layout and working practices it meant that we were buying into a proven model of success.

"This was applied from the design and layout of the reception area right down to the choice of coffee machine, crockery and cutlery."

One of the immediate bottom-line benefits of branding can be measured in the reduced risk in refurbishing, relocating or refitting offices.

This is because the essential design work is already completed, the product is known to work, costs can be measured and the work undertaken quicker.

With the branded offices already working successfully in London, Bristol and now Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Edinburgh will soon undergo the makeover.