Office buildings today often boast amenities that you’d normally associate with a high-end hotel or apartment building, everything from high-tech onsite fitness centers to yoga studios and dog parks. But one office building in Vernon Hills, Illinois, offers an amenity that’s rarer than all this: a huge video screen in the lobby that displays inspirational messages and calming or inspiring videos.
The designer of the project calls it Inspire TV. And the goal? To give employees and potential new tenants a warm welcome and the chance to take at least a quick break from the stresses of the working day.
DO GOOD Enterprises, a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity developed Inspire TV for the lobby of One Hawthorn Place, a well-known Class-A office building in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills. Designed by famed architect Helmut Jahn, the office building, located at 175 Hawthorn Parkway, does stand out. It is, after all, a glass structure with a distinctive green roof.
But the building’s owner, Mark Rosenbloom, a medical doctor and real estate investor, wanted his office space to differentiate itself even further from its competitors. After some research, he discovered that the main thing office workers desire is to feel good. The drive to create a space that would leave employees with a good, warm feeling? That led to Inspire TV.
DO GOOD Enterprises was founded in 1993 by Emmy winning filmmaker and marketing pro Mark Fournier. The company produces inspirational fund-raising films that help other nonprofits, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Childhelp USA and UNICEF, meet their own goals.
Fournier said that one of the ways that DO GOOD raises the money to make these films is by providing businesses and other organizations with inspirational installations and messages such as the one now running at One Hawthorn Place. DO GOOD then charges a subscription fee for the use of the equipment and messages. GO GOOD might also allow professionals and companies to pay to insert inspirational ads into their Inspiration TV programming lineup.
Fournier said that Rosenbloom’s project was its first installation of this kind. DO GOOD, then, is still building its programming inventory, producing about one three-minute film every week.
“The films are designed to run over and over again, like a song on the radio, which allows us to simply add the new films into the programming lineup as we go,” Fournier said. “This means that the more content we create, the longer you will go before seeing and hearing the same message.”
In installations in office lobbies, such as One Hawthorn Place, the films aren’t intended to be viewed all day long. Fournier said most office workers and visitors will only see a few messages at a time before moving to their next appointment or destination.
Inspire TV’s films are broken into three main categories. Group one includes generic messages, images and music that are designed to help viewers feel better about their lives, Fournier said. The second group is made up of holiday messages that Inspire TV plays during holidays such as New Year’s Day or Fourth of July. The third group includes specialty messages that Inspire TV plays for tenants, which could include a welcoming message for a visiting client.
“The goal was to provide uplifting, feel-good messages that help inspire workers and their clients as they enter the building or go about their day,” Fournier said. “We aren’t trying to ‘change the world’ with these little messages, but we do hope to bring a little sunshine into the lives of every viewer, and possibly contribute to a more positive corporate culture for every tenant.”
The video screen, with its inspiring messages and images and soothing music, is now the first thing that greets workers. It also helps when selling One Hawthorn Place to potential new tenants, Rosenbloom said.
“I think the screen sends the message that we care about our tenants, that we want to make working here a more pleasant experience,” Rosenbloom said. “It sends the message that if they have problems with their heat or problems with other issues involved in moving into a space, that we will address them. It shows them that they are valued, and not just a commodity.”
The video screen has been up since early December. What it displays changes, but usually it shows a mix of inspirational scenes – think waterfalls, forest settings and the like – along with inspirational messages. To see an example of what might be playing on Inspiration TV, check this link provided by DO GOOD Enterprises.
Rosenbloom said that the video screen and its inspiring messages is just one tool that he uses to attract and retain tenants.
“When potential tenants come in, they are looking at the whole package,” Rosenbloom said. “They walk into the door because they like the location. They think the space will work for them. To be competitive, though, you need to be competitive on more than just one front. You have to offer more.”
Rosenbloom points to One Hawthorn Place as an example. The building boasts great visibility in its market. The views from inside the building boast park settings, ponds and trees. These are great attributes.
But this is just part of the leasing puzzle, Rosenbloom said. One Hawthorn Place also has to be priced right to attract tenants. And it has to offer the modern amenities that companies want in their office space.
“Inspire TV is just another part of the mix,” he said. “I think it will help with retention, too. We want to keep the tenants we have. The tenants are impressed by this. They do look forward to what is going to be on the screen in the morning. Who knows? If the Cubs ever win another World Series, maybe we’ll devote the week to the Cubs.”