How to Brand your Coworking Space: Telling Your Story
A brand is “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.”
— David Ogilvy, Author of On Advertising
The way that customers view a brand is vastly important, and the aim is to gain brand recognition for all the right reasons. As a coworking space, you already have a brand whether you know it or not, now you just need to know how to use it.
To gain and retain customers, a brand needs to be recognisable in everything that they do in order to create a sense of consistency, professionalism and quality.
Brands like McDonalds, Spotify or Ford are instantly recognisable across their logo, promotions, packaging, interfaces and more. This helps to ensure their customers that each and every time they interact with the brand, their experience will remain at the same standard. Customers know what to expect and will repeatedly return with the same expectation each time.
As a coworking space, you can create this same sense of consistency, professionalism and quality, by learning how to take control of your brand.
How Branding Speaks to Your Audience
Your brand, wherever it is represented, shows your audience who you are. Whatever they see about your space will add to the story you’re telling, and the picture of your brand that builds in their mind.
Therefore, it’s important to have an idea of what you want your audience to think of when they see your brand. What words or pictures do you want to come to their minds when they think of your space? Do you want to appear friendly and vibrant? Maybe hipster and minimalist. It might be professional and slick. What experience do you want your audience to have when encountering your brand? Do you want them to feel excited and full of joy? Ambitious and motivated? Comforted and supported? Whatever it might be, make sure you’re clear on this and write it down because all of your branding will stem from these words.
In the example above, it’s clear to see the difference that branding can make. Both the imagery & copy for Spotify’s ad are bright, youthful and funny, reinforcing the light-hearted and fun brand. In contrast, Apple Music takes a more minimalist approach, using clean, black & white imagery and a simple, bold logo to present their professional and established brand.
Branding is More Than Just a Logo
“Branding is the sub-total of all the “experiences” your customers have with your business.”
Bryan Eisenberg — Author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark
As is also shown in the example above, branding is more than just a logo. Your logo is used as a simple representation of who you are and is useful in many cases, but there is so much more to it than that. In the Spotify & Apple Music example, logos, colours, photographs, patterns and copy all contribute to the representation of the brand. Here is a list of some things that contribute to the way your brand is experienced by your audience:
- Social Media Usage
Not only is your brand about the visual assets that make up your communication with your audience, but it also encompasses the people and businesses that you interact with as well as where and how you interact with them.
Think of the BizDojo coworking space for example. BizDojo partners with Creative Mornings in their Wellington Space where the event is held once a month on a Friday morning. Creative Mornings is a global breakfast lecture series for creatives held in cities all around the world. This partnership not only benefits Creative Mornings and the residents of the BizDojo, but it also becomes a part of the BizDojo brand. People now associate the two companies with each other, meaning that the BizDojo has connotations of creativity, supporting the local community, and being trusted in partnership with a global initiative. Now when people think of BizDojo, they might think of it as a creative, supportive and trustworthy space. See how it works?
Why Branding is So Important
Taking all of these things into consideration when evaluating and establishing your brand will help to take it to the next level. Carefully planning and thinking about each element and how they work together will ensure that your space is perceived in the best and most appropriate ways for you, ultimately resulting in more residents who are there for all the right reasons.
These residents will have seen your brand, it resonated with them and they have made the choice to interact further with your space. This means that not only will you gain more guests and members, but they will be more well suited to and catered for your space because your curated branding was more accurate in representing your space.
Not only are there these amazing benefits if you take control of your brand, but there can be some very serious downfalls if you don’t. Not having a strong brand presence makes it difficult to tell your story: your audience will not understand who you are, what you do or what you’re about. Lack of consistency and quality will make it confusing and conflicting when people interact with your brand, leaving them with a sense that you aren’t reliable, professional or established. These negative experiences, even if just once, can leave a lasting impression on consumers and cause nightmares for your reputation and your sales. Branding may seem like a small thing, but it can have large consequences.
Ensuring that this doesn’t occur through consistent, clear and high quality design, content and communication will safeguard your space from any potential fallout.
How to Build Your Brand
This all might seem a lot, and it can be sometimes. There are a lot of puzzle pieces to fit together in the right ways and if you’re not experienced in this, it can seem overwhelming, but that’s what professionals are for. Enlisting the help of branding designers and strategists will make sure that you get this right. These experts will help you to figure out exactly what to say, how to say it and how to ensure it gets said consistently in the future. They will work with you to make sure you’re getting the right things in place for your brand, and often create brand guidelines for you and your team to reference in the future.
Brand guidelines help to ensure consistency within your brand. This makes sure you’re always thinking of your brand and it’s perception when you are making decisions or putting pieces of work out there. Using the same colours, style of photos, tone of voice, fonts and more in all that you do will ensure that people recognise that it’s you when they see an ad or read a blog post, not the other space across town.
Most importantly, when deciding on your brand direction and working on designs, copy or content for example, make sure that what you are presenting does in fact represent what your space is actually like. There’s no point in presenting yourself as a super vibrant, loud and crazy space, if it’s more minimalist, quiet and traditional. It’s important to set your audience expectations in your branding that are fulfilled when they encounter your space. Failing to meet expectations will also leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Your brand is your space, and your space is your brand. Connecting the two is a sure fire way to establish your space and share all of it’s amazing qualities to the world in all the best ways. Start thinking about what you want your brand to say and work from there, one colour, word, logo or typeface at a time!