Connection, Belonging, Identity: Why Branding Matters When You’re Building Your Community

Connection, Belonging, Identity: Why Branding Matters When You’re Building Your Community

Coworking spaces are now a major commercial real estate segment. But the global success of the coworking movement exemplifies that there’s something far greater at play than just existing as ‘workplaces’. Is this down to the “co” in coworking, or does a strong brand identity attract people to join a coworking space in the first place and contribute to their staying? This article explores why branding matters when you’re building your community.

Your vision, your vibe

The power of branding goes beyond design elements like logos and colour schemes. In fact, coworking expert, Cat Johnson, urges workspaces to consider the following questions: “What does your brand stand for?... What are the vision, values and vibe of your brand that people can align with?”

Consider The Impact Hub Network, for instance. Their brand so closely aligns with their mission to create impact-driven spaces that it almost supersedes what we’ve come to expect from the tenets of ‘good branding’ on paper. It’s a triumph of utilising clear, consistent messaging to explain how their work impacts millions of people throughout the world and why their spaces are simply an extension of their ethos. Before you even walk into a space conceived by an Impact Hub Network partner, you can already expect a supportive network built on shared values. Now that’s branding without spelling it out.

A strong brand centres on your ‘why’, not your ‘what.’ The flexible workspace industry is getting more saturated day by day, so each brand must set itself apart from others somehow. Commercial real estate expert, Carlo Benigni, explains that “a strong brand identity can really help a company build a ‘tribe’ of customers who start naturally gravitating towards it because they believe in its long-term vision.”

Culture is everything

The expectation for today’s flexible workspaces is to provide more than just the basics. Where coworking began for freelancers to work together in spaces that needed no more than a few desks, chairs, and a decent WIFI connection, the movement has since spread to the masses.

Companies are now as keen to lease coworking spaces for their teams as freelancers once were. In fact, CBRE reports that “the highest demand growth [for flexible workspaces] is for requirements of up to 50 seats.” Companies are partnering with coworking spaces where brand values align, not only for the benefit of providing a great workspace experience for their teams, but as a sensible way to attract and retain talent too.

Additionally, given most workers are hybrid these days, a workspace culture can make all the difference between a forgettable workday and a memorable workspace experience. The culture of a place brings people into the workspace again and again, a plus for individual wellbeing that mitigates the risks of loneliness that are associated with people solely working from home.

Representing a community of over 4,000 people working across dynamic tech and creative sectors including web3, fintech, AI, gov tech, and sustainable innovation,” Nexudus customer, Huckletree, exists to challenge the hustle-and-grind. Its many social initiatives, from partnering with Certified Proud to make all their workspaces safe for the LGBTQ+ community, to being dog-friendly, exemplifies its commitment to inclusion and a focus on balance.

In this sector, Huckletree stands out from the crowd, thanks especially to its super-fun, bright, and bold workspaces. The Nexudus white-label feature gives Huckletree control over its appearance online too. After all, a consistent brand identity is important “to let others know what your space is all about and build trust.” Huckletree is a shared workspace that does brand very well.

The “co”-mmunity in coworking

A workplace culture can be developed to an extent, but that feeling of belonging, and identity that Huckletree successfully masters isn’t formed overnight. Often, the coworkers, and the people in the space themselves play a huge part in establishing and maintaining the workspace community.

Try as you might create a community, the act of gathering people cannot be easily forced. Leader of the London Coworking Assembly, Bernie Mitchell, reckons that a workspace’s founding members are the most significant people coming into the space, and will “shape your membership’s vibe, ethos, and values in the future.”

To get it right from the off, Mitchell advises operators to “look for ways to signpost and express your space, and ask them questions to see where they are at and trust your gut.”

Community is a delicate thing that must be approached with intention – it’s not about being all things to all people. Selecting a certain group of people to build community around is way more impactful.

When your offering resonates with your people, they will bring in others, sometimes by simply being in the workspace (say if a prospective member is touring it and sees the vibe within that space) or by actively inviting other people to join them in the workspace. Open days and social events can facilitate this too. People align on shared experiences, a sense of identity, and purpose – the exact conditions that make a coworking space, the brand, the people, and the community, so transformational.

At Nexudus, we’re passionately building technology that provides space owners and operators with fully customisable, easy-to-integrate digital solutions for their spaces, across coworking, commercial real estate, hospitality and beyond. Since 2012, our award-winning technology has helped workspace owners and operators in over 90 countries digitally transform their spaces, manage them more efficiently, provide exceptional customer experiences and gather advanced analytics for better decision-making.

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