How to conduct Brand Research for coworking

A couple of years ago, I was designing a logo in front of my client and mesmerized by the change of colours and shapes, he told me “It’s art.” And then I realized that I was doing it all wrong.

Design is not art.

“Art is only intended to provoke thoughts and emotions while design also solves problems.”

The design decisions of that day were based only on unjustified tastes when they should have been supported by concrete data that guide to a better resolution of user problems.

It will take you only 8 minutes to read this article, and you will know:

  • How do I validate the branding decisions?
  • How should Branding be for a Coworking and a Coliving?
  • When is it time to conduct a Branding Research?
  • How to conduct a Branding Research for my Coworking or Coliving?

How do I validate branding decisions? With Branding Research

A brand investigation reveals valuable information that is then incorporated and consolidated into the identity design process. This allows the designer and the client to make informed decisions other than just because.

Brand research leads to a successful design

It also helps to evaluate the positioning of the brand and the competition in the market, identifying weaknesses and opportunities for differentiation.

Coworking and Coliving Branding

Branding in the Coworking and Coliving sector has always seemed fascinating to me. Coworking and Coliving have an advantage that few industries have but all want, a community. A Coworking is by definition a community, without it, it would be an ordinary office rental space.

Like a football club, the culture and identity of the brand live in each of its members, and the sense of belonging is everything. When the community is happy and feels identified with the brand, they proudly raise the flag and wear the team jersey. Which in the digital age is equivalent to creating content for you (UGC), referring friends, interacting with your profiles and leaving great reviews.

But with great powers come great responsibilities. The Branding of Coworking and Coliving must always be up to expectations, reflect and make our members (current and future) feel included. Even, sometimes, the appropriation is such that the brand ends up being more thems than yours.

That is why I recommend you make sure to create a brand identity that is flexible and malleable within reasonable limits. You better receive a Brandbook where there are more allowed than prohibited.

When is it time to conduct Branding Research?

It is always a good time and it is never too late. Usually, most of our clients carry out the research:

  1. In the initial phase of the project, before designing the identify
  2. When they are already on the market and are interested in making a strategic change within the organization. Perhaps, they are dissatisfied with their relationship with the client or are looking to change their audience and professionalize their appearance.

How to manage branding research for my Coworking or Coliving?

Look into your community.

In the initial phase, you have many ideas and little data to verify them. Build your Buyer persona and put your empathy to the test. Imagine the different types of members that could occupy your space. What are their professions? How old are they? Where they live? What is their personality?

Then validate your hypothesis through Audience Testing. At Happy Working Lab we have launched Facebook Ads campaigns for our clients to measure the profile of the audience that has been most receptive. Something like seeing who has taken the bait. On the other hand, if you already have your Coworking or Coliving operational, your possibilities are endless because not only do you know your audience, but you also have access to the community.

  • Conduct surveys with questions like “describe (your coworking) in 3 words”, “What does (your coworking) mean to you?”; and “if (your coworking) were a character, what would it be like?”
  • Even more interesting is knowing what the members say about you when you are not in the room. Check Google My Business reviews and other broker platforms that you are affiliated with. Take stock of positive and negative comments.
  • Study the different members’ profiles. Interpret if there is a predominant one.
  • Compare the results obtained with the identity of your current brand. Does it match? Are they compatible?
  • Check your Digital Branding: As a medical review, look for inconsistencies (graphics and communication) between all your channels and identify points for improvement.
  • Find the balance between your interests and those of your community.

Competitor Branding Analysis

Although all Coworking must convey professionalism, at Happy Working Lab we have noticed that there are usually two personality poles: serious and casual.

If you have a niche coworking and identify that most of the direct competitors have a very serious personality, there may be an opportunity. Perhaps a large part of the target audience is being neglected because they would prefer a close and conversational tone.

There are several techniques and tools to analyze the positioning of the competition. However, observation and your own perception never fail. Visit your competitors’ spaces, their profiles and web pages. Then take note of:

  • “Dress Code”: How do coworkers dress? How is the deal with each other?
  • Voice tone
  • Value proposition
  • Color palette and typeface style.
  • Coherence of identity: what they say they are VS what they really are.
  • Consistency in identity: Do they maintain the colour palette and a graphic style across all channels? Do you see professionalism in the design?

Before and after a Branding Research

In today’s increasingly complex market, much attention is paid to return on investment (ROI). For many years, design and creativity were an uncertain field where they depended exclusively on the subjectivities of their creators and clients (usually opposed).

Today, the judge is the user; and the tiebreaker is measured in data. On the one hand, now there are testing and research tools that help make decisions and, on the other hand, key performance indicators (KPI) that measure it.

A great way to demonstrate the ROI of a Rebranding, for example, is to conduct Brand Research before and then after the renewal. So you can know if the change helped improve results and reduce gaps.

Careful! This does not mean that design is now an exact science. As long as it is about creativity, to their own. The invitation is to use the specific data that we have available today to put our egos aside for a moment and put the user in the centre.

Every experience brings a new lesson, and this client taught me…

When you are doing art and not design, stop. When it’s more about you than the user, start over.

At Happy Working Lab we have spent years studying the user and the Coworking and Coliving market. This allows us to be able to advise our clients with concrete data that create high-impact and sustainable brands over time.

Do you want to carry out Brand Research for your Coworking or Coliving?

Get in touch.

This article has been written by Candela Fonte, Digital Designer & Branding Specialist at Happy Working Lab.