How to Build a Powerful Coworking Brand (Episode 5)
In the previous, fourth episode of the Coworking Brand Building Series, you have already accepted your brand positioning. From now on, this positioning will affect all your business processes. People around you (partners, customers, employees) will come and go and it's utterly important to keep your brand integrity and consistency over time. You must be able to clearly and definitely communicate your idea to every person who is interacting with your brand at the moment.
The thought is abstract, which means even if you have fully-fledged brand sensation, you need to concentrate and style it up to deliver to other people. You need to turn the amorphous cloud of your thoughts into a bullet that will punch the walls. You need to mass your thoughts.
You need a sharp-cut monosemantic text, a dogma to make everybody learn it.
In this tutorial, I am going to share a few great brand model shaping tools with you. They will help you cope with the task easily and you will make another big step in your coworking space brand-building efforts.
The first of them is very old. It is used by marketing professionals for tens of years. Let's call it Brand Artichoke (read on and you will understand why I selected this name.)
Brand Artichoke tool is a "blueprint" of the coworking space you are going to build in the consumer's mind. You need just fill it in as a one-page questionnaire. Just do it for yourself right now.
- The first level of your coworking brand according to the Artichoke tool are your attributes. This is what you say when you need to introduce yourself. Who are you, what are you doing, and what can you do for the consumer.
- The second level is the level of advantages. If you want to convince the consumer to choose you, state three-five reasons here.
- The third level is about values and emotions. This is what your coworking brand stands for, the emotions you are ready to promise to your consumer. These emotions must be in line with your advantages.
- The fourth level is your personality and temper. Imagine that your coworking brand is human. How do you see him/her? Is it a young cheerful girl in her early twenties? Or maybe it's a serious, thoughtful man around 30 years old? Maybe it's a mature woman having a lot of life experience and wisdom along with bubbling energy? Who do you look like? This will govern your behavior and communication manner.
- The fifth level is about the essence of your coworking brand. Here you should place your positioning.
Imagine that there is a binder between all the above levels. It doesn't let the whole structure fall apart. In our case, the word "therefore" has enough power to connect all the points and help you with shaping your brand model a lot.
Here is a pattern you may use:
I am "NAME," our company is located in "COUNTRY," we are running a "COWORKING HUB," therefore, we offer you "THESE ADVANTAGES," therefore, you will feel "THIS WAY," therefore, we act like "THIS CHARACTER," therefore, the "ESSENCE" of our brand.
As you see, this brand model is very convenient because you have a helicopter view of all levels, from basic one when you are getting acquainted with the customer to the brand essence where the consumer knows you and is ready to carry out philosophical talks discussing the sense of your life, and your social mission.
You are not just a workplace and your coworking business is not just another office renting opportunity. You are a member-friendly environment where customer's business is going to develop. You impart your service a deeper meaning while staying, in fact, a coworking space.
You are not renting a desk, you are selling business growth and success. You are selling the philosophy which is included in your positioning.
Brand Artichoke is a basic instrument, it is very convenient to use, and I will just leave it here as a usable pattern/sample.
If this model is filled correctly, you can print it out, frame and put on your desk to always remember who are you and what are you doing.
Just like every basic tool, Brand Artichoke is not perfect and has a drawback. It lacks the consumer. That's why I recommend you to try several similar tools, compare them, find similarities, common points, and then use the one you like the most.
In Brand Windmill tool consumer is always in the center. There is also a place for rational advantages and irrational emotional advantages, values, and social mission. Similar to Artichoke, your positioning is a key element in the Brand Windmill instrument.
- Brand essence — one word.
- Target audience — the name of the segment, key feature with relation to category.
- Insight — the deep motive of brand choice.
- Emotional characteristics — what emotions will the consumer get from using your coworking brand? They must differ from the competitor's.
- Rational characteristics — real unique facts and evidence that support your positioning.
- Identification — how will you look? What style/color specifications will you have?
- Communication — your tone of voice, what you say and what you don't.
What differentiates a Windmill tool is an additional section, which will be very helpful in our next lesson when we will talk about the brand model implementation. It includes requirements to design and communication. These are the rules that your brand must follow and the prohibited things.
For instance, if you know that your coworking brand is of premium-class, it is banned from being stingy and cheap. This means you can't give members free Google Calendar to book rooms. Get andcards premium membership app instead.
A premium coworking brand must use premium technology to give members premium experience. This is a law and it must be written in your brand model.
If you are a women-focused coworking space, hire only women to be consistent with your brand policy.
If you are a pet-friendly coworking space, prepare treats for your furry customers, place bowls with fresh water. Special amenities will show members that they are really welcome at your space together with their buddies.
When you are working on brand positioning, you are issuing a set of laws, a coworking space constitution that will not change for years.
Mountain of Promises is the third tool I would like to share with you. Imagine that you are looking at the mountain. Do you see the snow on the peak? This is one word associated with your coworking brand, your differentiation point, the main word that distinguishes you from the competitors.
Now move your eyes down the slope bit-by-bit. Here you can convey your message, reveal your idea with a phrase, then you get enough space for a paragraph of five-seven sentences including five-seven words. You have only 25 - 50 words to tell people about your brand. What do you want them to know?
The life of your brand depends on it. Your coworking brand will be strong if it is uniform. If all consumers think of you the same, you will have a powerful luxury brand.
You need homogeneity, unambiguity, succession. Imagine that you are going to take part in some coworking conference, contest or exhibition. You need to prepare a paragraph of text describing your brand for the catalog. This paragraph must tell the same every time, like a mantra.
Imagine that you came to some coworking event for startups and rented a small table. You will have a poster hanging on the wall behind. This poster will include your logo, website, and a brief paragraph of text again.
If your representative needs to negotiate a contract, they will have not more than a minute to tell about the company. They must manage to tell all the major things about your coworking space. In other words, they need to read the same paragraph of text.
If you have a paragraph about your coworking space you can easily go one level down and create a page of text. Do you remember our previous tutorial? We discussed your corporate landing page. You can use five-seven arguments from the landing page to create this page of text.
While Brand Windmill tool is best for internal corporate usage, Mountain of Promises is actually the instrument for communication with consumers that know nothing about your coworking brand and its positioning. The paragraph inside the Mountain is your brand legend to tell to everyone.
A customer needs to hear about your brand at least three times (five or seven times is better) before they remember you, so tell them about your business with a word, then with a sentence, and then with the entire writing piece. You mustn't be afraid of iteration. A good brand is always a woodpecker. You need to repeat your mantra again and again, from year to year.
Remember Reebok and Nike brands. Nike approved their "Just do it" positioning in 1988. They repeat the same from year to year. Reebok changed positioning every year. Should I tell you which brand is more successful now?
Let's get closer to the coworking business niche and recollect the WeWork brand. You don't need to be a marketing pro to understand that their positioning word (the snow on our Mountain peak) is "We," trademarked by Adam Neumann and costing nearly $6 million to use.
They place it everywhere — company name (The We Company), to label company services (WeLive), for corporate app icon, etc. They even break grammar rules sometimes saying "We" instead of "Us."
A place you join as an individual, 'me', but where you become part of a greater 'we'.
Consistency plays a decisive role. Your efforts accumulate when you are hitting one spot, when you are polishing one movement.
Jeremy Oliver, an Australian writer, was once asked how often does he change his ideas. He said "Never." He has one idea and changes its wrapping from time to time.
Your positioning is this never-changing idea for you. The last level of the Mountain of Promises is a book. A book is a challenge for a mature brand. You need this book because as your brand grows bigger, your website also adds more pages. Will all those pages support your main idea or will each page tell about something different?
Maybe you will launch a huge multi-story coworking center. It should be a temple of your brand. Each room should tell its story and contribute to the main idea.
Having a central idea, a kind of kernel is crucial for your coworking business. If your marketing sources are disconnected, the available info loses its value. No one is interested in reading bits of random stuff.
That's why you need to style up your brand model as a clear-cut text.
Use the above tools to come up with a solid coworking brand positioning model. Don't procrastinate as you must be the first to declare your idea on the market. To save unique positioning for many years, you must be ahead of competitors. I will teach you how to do it in the next episode.
Have questions on how to format your coworking brand model? You are welcome to throw them my way along with feedback about the tools I've shared.
Don't forget to tell your friends on socials about the article.