So you’ve opened a coworking space. Congrats! Maybe you’re looking to strengthen your brand because you’ll be opening your second or third location in the coming months or maybe you’re trying to attract more members to join your community. Creating a strong brand for your business is key. It’s how you’ll set yourself apart from the competition and attract members to your space. But how do you go about strengthening your coworking brand?
1. Go back to your “why”
Back in 2009, thought leader Simon Sinek delivered a powerful TEDx talk called “How great leaders inspire action.” Throughout the course of his talk, he shares a powerful concept which points out a major flaw in the way that most organizations build out their brand–they’re way too focused on their “what” when they should be focused on their “why” instead:
“Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by ‘why’ I don’t mean ‘to make a profit.’ That’s a result. It’s always a result. By ‘why,’ I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”
Sinek goes on to share that inspired organizations build their brands from the inside out. They build their brand to support the mission-driven “why” of the company.
And you too can adopt this mentality when thinking of your coworking brand. Why did you start this business? Are you focused on providing business connections? Giving back to your local community in some specific way? Attracting a group of creatives who can draw inspiration from one another and bring more art into the world? Chances are, your coworking business has a “why” that has its roots somewhere in the realm of “community.” Focus in on refining your “why” and articulating it in a clear way that you can use in your marketing and branding initiatives. Watch your business flourish.
2. Refining your ideal member persona
The success of any coworking space hinges on its ability to attract and retain members. Any number of factors attract members to a certain space. Members might be swayed by location, amenities, interior design, branding, marketing, and more.
Do they live nearby, or are they commuting in? Do they own a car, or do they take public transit? What’s their annual income? What kinds of jobs do they hold? Do they work for themselves, or are they remote employees of larger companies? Will they take part in community events? Do they want access to the space 24/7? How much privacy do they need?
Answering these questions will help you refine your ideal member persona, or IMP – the best part, you should have data to work with! If you haven’t been collecting data from your members, it’s never too late to start. Send out a survey or set up some 1-on-1 coffee chats. Once you’ve refined your IMP to reflect what your members have shared with you, take a look at your brand. Does it reflect this IMP? It should, from the interior design to your website’s look and feel. Learning your members average yearly income lets you potentially tweak the pricing of your core memberships. Knowing their career goals makes it easy to design the perfect programming and attract the speakers that they’d be interested in listening to. Knowing how they spend their free time will help you refine the events you host in your space. Ultimately, when reviewing your brand, take the time to understand your members and refine your IMP.
3. Always remember that every aspect of your business is an extension of your brand
It would be a mistake to assume that your brand is your name, logo, and advertisements. Consider the tone of voice you use in communication. Is the way you speak with your members different than the way you communicate with the world via social media and your website? Consider how the interior design of your space supports your brand vision. Will it appeal to the kind of members you want to attract to your space? If you choose to partner with local businesses, which ones and why?
Never forget that every word, employee, micro-decision, and trashcan is an opportunity to shout to the world what your brand is all about!