In the last decade tech companies have invested a lot of capital into building edgy and employee-friendly office spaces. More than just an effort to attract and retain talent, office spaces are a means to communicate a company’s identity to both employees and clients through branded interiors and workplace culture. Physical location is one of the strongest markers of identity, and a strong brand identity is crucial to effective marketing.
But in 2017, more than a million people worldwide are working out of coworking spaces. Obviously, these folks can’t deck out a shared space with their brand’s colors. There are, however, other powerful branding opportunities to be found within coworking spaces that solopreneurs, freelancers, and digital nomads can take advantage of.
A coworking membership comes with more than just a comfortable work station, reliable WiFi, and endless coffee. Here are unique facets of coworking life that remote professionals can leverage for marketing and branding identity.
Networking Made Easy
If you are one of the many people who loathes networking, it’s easy to hole up in your home or coffee shop office and simply never do it. Coworking, however, provides what is arguably the most painless and effortless environment for professional networking.
Not only do most coworking spaces include a calendar packed with networking events, but the day-to-day of coworking life provides plenty of opportunities to casually discuss your business without the artificiality of elevator pitches and name tags. Get to know the people around you. Connecting with ambitious professionals can lead to creative collaborations, word-of mouth marketing surges, and new clients.
In a survey by Deskmag, 79% of coworking professionals ranked the “random opportunities and discoveries” made through casual interactions with their peers as one of the most valuable aspects of their coworking membership. This kind of low-pressure, authentic networking can be particularly good for your company’s content marketing. Swap guest posts with your desk neighbor who works in an adjacent field. If an interesting speaker visits your coworking space, blog about your main takeaways. Use the creative people who work around you as a thematic backdrop for your brand’s social media.
A Captive Audience
If you are just beginning to keep an active email list or maintain the social media accounts for your company, getting your first few hundred subscribers or followers can be an uphill battle/slow climb. It might be some time before there is any semblance of a community behind your brand.
But coworking spaces often work hard to foster a sense of community for its members, many even employing dedicated Community Managers for this purpose. By joining a coworking community, you will have opportunities to tap into some of its resources for outreach and mobilization. It means that you have a built-in audience for sharing company news and promotional materials. Furthermore, this is an audience of professionals, many of whom may work in similar fields.
If you’ve purchased marketing collateral and merchandise, like custom stickers or pens, your coworking peers make for a conveniently accessible and diverse group to whom you can hand these out. If you’re just getting your company’s social media strategy off the ground, follow all the companies that work out of your space and ask them to follow you back. If your coworking space maintains a directory or online communities for its members, take advantage of these resources when you have news to share.
Home is Where You Plant Your Geo-Tags
Many coworking memberships come with the opportunity to list the shared space as your official business and mailing address without the enormous overhead of leasing your own office space. A commercial postal address (distinct from a residential one) makes your business eligible for important services that can be helpful for your marketing, such as Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, and Groupon.
Ensuring that your contact info is consistent across multiple platforms is crucial for search engine rankings. Furthermore, a coworking address gives you a legitimate location to geotag your social media activity that isn’t your kitchen table or neighborhood Starbucks.
Fresh Perspectives from Pros
Sometimes we are just a bit too involved in our branding and marketing projects to be able to see them objectively. When employees work in isolation or only amongst themselves, the danger of entering a creative echo chamber is considerably high.
Luckily, coworking spaces make it easy for you solicit diverse and unbiased feedback from the knowledgeable folks around you. And you’d hardly be the only one doing it: a 2015 study by the GCUC found that 52% of female and 42% of male coworking members regularly bounce ideas off other members.
Quickly run two variations of an email subject line by your desk neighbor. Ask a freelance designer if they have any quick suggestions about how you can improve your website experience. Candid opinions about how your brand reads to outsiders can keep you creative and effective in your marketing efforts.
Has coworking made a difference in your marketing and branding? Tell us how in the comments below, or tweet @Workfrom using #untethered.