Brand Building Series: How to Build a Powerful Coworking Space Brand (Episode 1)
This article launches a step-by-step brand building guide. I divided it into maneuverable pieces of information so that you could easily digest them. In every episode, you are going to find practical tips on how to build a coworking space brand, which you can start to implement straight away.
Why is it Important to Build a Coworking Brand
Before moving further you need to clearly understand why brand building is crucial both for global and local coworkings.
- The brand is an uber essential coworking business tool.
- The brand must be one of the top-priority focuses for coworking business owners no matter the enterprise size.
- The brand allows your workspace to stay up-to-date and attractive to consumers.
- The brand defines the development vector for tomorrow.
The most important component of the coworking brand is positioning.
What is Brand Positioning / Examples of Coworking Brand Positioning
The positioning of the brand is a differentiation point, a fundamental idea, a strategic idea that makes the business unique.
It’s a simple answer to a seemingly simple question: “What makes you different?” The search for an answer to this question takes months and years. It defines how attractive/competitive/successful you are going be. Moreover, this answer defines the future of your business.
Examples of Solid Coworking Brands Positioning:
- WeWork | Office Space and Workspace Solutions
- Selina: Experience the World - Stay, Work, Surf and Explore
- Outsite: Coliving Spaces in Beautiful Places
- Global Boutique Coworking Space | Mindspace
What is Brand — Definition
Now you know why you should build a brand. You also know that your brand must have good positioning. Well, let's figure out what is a coworking brand.
A brand is a compilation of customers' perceptions about your product. In other words, a brand is what clients think about your coworking space, which means brands live in the heads of the tenants.
Why is it important for you? Because prospects ground their decision to buy a membership not on the objective facts but their own subjective judgments.
Good coworking brands are stirring emotions. People choose spaces where they feel a better version of themselves, where they feel smart and inspired.
If you ask a coworking space member why they choose this or that brand nobody says they like the brand because it’s cheap. So, as a coworking space owner you should learn the lesson:
Don’t make yourself cheap!
Being the cheapest coworking space in the city is a bad positioning. It's impossible to sell a top-quality product at an extremely low price. If you are not a giant coworking network that can afford a low margin due to economy of scale, playing with price will mean that your business either sacrifices quality or losing revenue.
The brand is a value. It’s an emotion that it gives to the consumer. It’s a margin that consumer is ready to pay for this emotion.
Customers are ready to pay extra money to a strong coworking brand because they feel it’s worth it.
Some large coworking networks like Creative States and Regus (Signature by Regus) have special luxury solutions for entrepreneurs and companies that care about the high status of their businesses.
They offer exclusive & expensive places to work that inspire and impress. Those workplaces strike the imagination with the most desirable locations, premium quality service, and royal interiors. All these give members a feeling of superiority and belonging to the higher class. They are ready to pay more for the possibility to work at the "5-star hotel."
The takeaway is: when we are talking about a strong brand, it's always about the symbiosis of emotions/feelings and finance/transactions. A brand is a business tool, which can't be separated from your company, your budget, and the emotional portrait of the consumer. If you can seamlessly merge all the above aspects, your brand will work for your business success.
How Consumers Make Membership Purchase Decision
At the end of the day, the entire decision-making process boils down to the few questions:
- What makes your coworking space different?
- Why should I choose your coworking space?
- What emotion should I feel when I come to your space every day?
- What value do you give me?
- How much extra money should I pay for this value?
- Why should I pay that money to you?
All big brands are recognizable, they stand out from competitors thanks to the proper positioning. That's it, if you are ready to give clear answers to the questions below, you are likely to close the deal:
- Who am I?
- What am I offering?
- What makes me different?
The simpler and clearer the answer to the question “Why me?” is, the more money you can earn.
Some modern coworking spaces solve this issue through specialization. Today we can observe the rise of the following types of workplaces:
- women only coworkings
- coworkings for families with kids
- coworkings for digital nomads
- coworkings for chefs
- coworkings for pet supplies entrepreneurs, and so on.
Please remember that if you don't have an immediate answer to the question "Why should an individual choose your coworking space?" don't expect that a prospective member will search for it themselves.
- Because you can take your kid with you!
- Because we have a kitchen for you to try out your new recipe!
- Because you can come with your puppy!
If your answer to the above question is messy, it will create even more mess in the heads of your staff and clients. If a freelancer doesn't see an evident reason to choose your coworking space, they will just pay somebody else who gives them this reason.
However, if you manage to enter the market with distinct brand positioning, you will earn a lot of money.
As a rule, coworking space operators have very little time and money, they don't have too many chances for the mistake, so the key question is where to focus.
What to Bet on to Scale a Coworking Business?
Most of the entrepreneurs share the same concerns, they are afraid to lose everything, to make a mistake, to fail. Due to these concerns, businessmen tend to do something common, tried and tested. They tend to copy some model that will work for sure.
Beware of the trap here. If you are following a classical business pattern you are going to meet many other people that act similarly.
One more risk is that some big coworking corporation may come to your city and sell their franchise to your neighbor.
Operating in a classical format is safer as you are using a working technology but sooner or later you find yourself in the middle of the red ocean of fierce competition. All of the competing businesses will lose money and stay with minimal revenue in the end. The weakest of the competitors may even bankrupt.
How to Avoid the Red Ocean
There is a couple of reliable ways to avoid collisions with competitors.
- Be the first to build your business and knowledge of the brand to clearly broadcast the message to the consumer that you are the best.
Coworking is a local industry, so you can bring some new concepts to your local area (for example, open first coworking with a kitchen like Cook Beyond.) Don’t be afraid to replicate ideas from overseas.
- Understanding the future level of competition, strive to create something unique. Clearly decide what will make your business unique. For instance, you can be the first and the only coworking space using a meeting room display, a unique set of membership benefits, or hosting unique events like Friday pajama parties.
The main takeaway from our first brand building article is that if you don't stand out a mile among the competitors, if a consumer doesn’t think your coworking space is unique, they will never give you a cent.
The situation is much more favorable for coworking spaces investing in their brand image because the brand is an integral part of a successful profitable business.
If you have any questions/thoughts or objections to the advice featured above, please make use of the comments section.
Do you find our first brand building lesson helpful? Did you know something new from it? Share the info with your friends on socials so that they could also stay tuned!
Go to the next episode of the coworking brand building series.