I commented about how it was common to pad an office with “seat meat” for client visits. He then replied:
Is that really common? wow that’s a shame. I’d rather have no business than business based on false pretenses.
It depends on how it’s done. There’s nothing wrong with asking assorted freelancers to come in on a specific day. Especially if their being in the office helps convince a client that you’re big enough to handle an assignment, which then allows you to hire those same freelancers for that project.
Branding is fundamentally about crafting how other people perceive a company.
We dress up for meetings, as a sign of respect but also to give the client confidence in us. Is that superficial? Yes. But split-second instant judgements always are. Split-second judgements often make or break a deal.
An empty desk never says anything good about a business in the same way vacant storefronts or lots are bad things for a neighborhood.
As a business, it’s a whole package thing. We dress up. The office is cleaned. Seats are filled. Fresh flowers are put at the front desk. Nice baked goods and fruit are offered. Fresh coffee is brewed.
In a way, everything is a design problem. How a business communicates it’s own image is vital to it’s long term success.