- A strong brand creates an immediate image or experience in people’s minds, whereas a logo alone does not.
- Coworking space operators should challenge themselves to build a unique brand identity.
- User experience within these spaces should be distinctive enough to recognize even without a logo.
A few days ago, my friend Stormy McBride from GCUC sent me a video clip of marketing legend Seth Godin talking about the difference between brand and logo.
I’ve been thinking about the clip ever since because Godin perfectly captures (as he is prone to do) the issue.
Here’s the kicker:
“If Nike opened a hotel, I think we’d be able to guess pretty accurately what it would be like. If Hyatt came out with sneakers, we’d have no clue. Because Hyatt doesn’t have a brand. They have a logo. If I swapped the signs on a hotel at that price point, you couldn’t tell.”
I imagine a Nike hotel would be sleek, inspiring, motivating, stylish, modern. There would be a “best self” vibe throughout; it would be busy, activated and lively. It would have magnetic appeal, there would probably be a healthy-but-delicious cafe attached, and it would instantly be a must-experience destination.
I don’t even know what a Hyatt sneaker would be.
The image that comes to mind is those old GASS shoes from the ’70s. Or maybe dad-style walking shoes: super utilitarian, unstylish and safe, but durable.
I definitely don’t have a strong brand impression of Hyatt.
This, exactly, is the challenge coworking space operators face right now and moving forward. If you swapped out the logo on your space, would people still be able to tell that it was your coworking brand?
When someone walked in the door, would they recognize immediately that they were in one of your spaces? If they spent a day working in your community, would they have a good sense of your vision, values and vibe?
Or would they have the sense that they could be anywhere in the world?
A writing experiment I use runs along the same line: Could you copy and paste your copy and content onto any coworking space in the world? If so, you need to do better. You need to dig deeper. You need to clearly define and express what makes your brand and space unique.
You have an opportunity, right now, to make a real impression and impact on your local community and beyond.
And meeting rooms, fast wifi and dedicated desks are not going to get the job done.
Focus on the member experience in your space and community. This is what defines you. This is what moves you toward Nike and away from Hyatt. This is what differentiates you in a sea of workspaces.
If your coworking brand created a sneaker, what would that sneaker look like?
If your coworking brand created a hotel, what would that hotel be?
Can you imagine your brand as a sneaker or hotel?
If not, get back to the basics. Figure out who you serve, why you serve them, and how you serve them. The vibe in your space is not a lagging indicator of how you’re doing.
It’s your brand.
It’s the impression people have when they walk into your space, when they spend time in your community, and when they tell their friends about their experience in your space.
So be intentional, be thoughtful, be thorough, and make sure that you’re creating a living, thriving brand—not a logo.