Building a Strong Brand: Four Strategic Moves for Startups

It’s a problem every new business has to face: what can you do to make your brand not only stand out but stand the test of time?

Getting strategic is key to success. If longevity is your goal, you can’t simply mimic the tactics of your biggest competitors. For authenticity’s sake, you will have to think outside the box and build your brand from the ground up.

Look to your competitors to find out what others are doing in your space, but play to your strengths to establish true differentiation. Here are some tried-and-true brand-building methods to help you get started in crafting your own unique story.

1. Know and understand your audience

Defining your brand has many layers, including packaging, messaging, and marketing. To be able to craft compelling imagery and proof, you will need to know who you are selling to. If you are bringing a product or service to market that has global potential, you need to consider that as well. Cultural differences often require different tactics. Find out who your target market is and speak to them and them only. Be consistent and reach out to them over and over again.

2. Your competition is not the enemy

In most industries, there is a leader that can easily be identified. If you are consistent and strategic in your efforts, you will eventually meet all of the players, up to and including the top dog. Once you set your marketing plan in motion, you will likely convince some people to switch to your brand and suddenly, you will be on everybody’s watch list. Will you be ready to handle that scrutiny? Don’t shy away from this level of competition. If the top brands consider you worthy of watching, you are in a good place. Use your power wisely.

3. Play to your strengths

If you offer added value, versatility, cost savings, better operational efficiency, or any kind of advantage that differentiates you from the rest, put the emphasis on that. Whatever it is that makes your brand stand out, find that thing and hang your hat on it. If there are trends in your industry that may necessarily change your direction in a few years, find out what they are and plan well for it. Have a plan in place that will take you well into the future and you will always have a clear path to follow.

4. Put yourself out there: give it away

Building strong partnerships requires some generosity on your part. If you’re a new service or product, it’s difficult to build a reputation without some history to back it up. Consider giving your product or service away to an influential company or individual that can give you valuable feedback and endorsements. In a world fueled by ratings and reviews, getting great peer reviews will serve you well and will get you noticed by a wider audience.

Office Suites Strategies

These are just a few steps you can take to building a strong brand. If you would like to learn more about Office Suites Strategies or about building your brand, give us a call.

GWA Conference Recap Image

Office Evolution Conference RECAP

The Global Workspace Association’s 2017 conference was packed with workspace tours, insights, and trends. Titled “Office Evolution Conference”, the three day event (Nov. 8-10) held in Brooklyn, NY delivered key information and knowledge on the future of the workplace. The takeaway: it’s not only an office evolution, it’s also a revolution.

Hosted alongside NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), the conference brought together leaders from the real estate and workspace-as-a-service industries, including Gensler, Industrious, CBRE, Convene, and Delos, to name a few. Topics covered ranged from workplace design, wellness, and tech to financing models and the future of CRE.

After 3 days, 28 sessions attended, and 53 panelists heard, here are some of our key takeaways from the conference:

  • The “office” is no longer just a place to work. It’s an asset that can help companies attract and retain talent, foster a strong company culture, and create a unique experience that adds to a person’s overall life and wellbeing.
  • Common spaces in buildings are no longer an option, they’re a must. Common spaces can be used to build community and make buildings more attractive. It’s all in the line of delivering a unique experience–through collaboration, special events, careful design, and wellness programs. These spaces foster creativity and innovation, and have the potential to bring people together–to eat, work, or simply relax. This is a key driver in what is attracting the newest generation of workers to the coworking/shared workspace model today.
  • The shared workspace model is a great opportunity for landlords. Property companies and large enterprises should start thinking about ways to incorporate and integrate coworking/shared workspace models to their current business strategies. This means mix-use buildings are the future; people are demanding spaces that deliver holistic experiences and have the capacity to be used for life, work, and play. There is a tremendous opportunity here for property companies and landlords to partner and work together with shared workspace providers and management companies.
  • Workspaces today need to be agile. This means shorter contracts, the capacity to expand or contract as necessary, and provide various workspace options–shared space, open space, collaboration space, etc. Dubbed “Office 3.0”, the workplace of the future will holistically blend together space, services, products, and infrastructure. Simply put, the workplace is now a destination, and a hospitality approach to workplace management is now a priority.

The bottom line is that flexible workspaces–the workspace-as-a-service industry–are here to stay, and large companies adopting flexible work policies and embracing the services of coworking and serviced offices are driving the growth of the industry.

About the author:

Office Suite Strategies is a shared workspace consulting and management company comprised of experienced business professionals focused on assisting property owners achieve maximum value from their real estate investments. Offering a broad range of services, our unparalleled experience in developing, opening, and managing shared workspace properties enables us to achieve extraordinary results for our clients.

If you’d like more information or are wondering how you can apply this knowledge to your commercial building, feel free to reach out to us.

Is Coworking the Future of CRE

Is Coworking the Future of CRE?

“The office hasn’t changed much. But the way people work has changed forever.” We learned this from Ryan Simonetti, co-founder of Convene, during the Office Evolution Conference held in Brooklyn, NY from November 8th-10th.

Adding to his argument, Simonetti believes that “coworking is just the first step in a major CRE industry shift.” Because we have changed the way we work, we have changed the way we ‘experience’ the office. The new generation of workers have different wants and needs; and their demands go beyond that of a good salary. Additionally, technology has also empowered us to work in new ways, from anywhere and at any given time; giving rise to agile working models and remote work policies. This, in turn, has powered the flexible workspace movement, in particular the growth of coworking spaces. And, according to JLL, by 2030 30% of commercial space will be used as ‘flexible workspace’.

Yet, the change isn’t simply about the workplace. The way people interact with spaces has changed drastically–powered by new and developing technologies like mobile phones and the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, life and work are all about experiences, about how people interact with other people, but also how they interact with their surroundings; this includes real estate.

In the world of work, this means that individuals expect seamless, integrated experiences in the workplace. The way Simonetti illustrates this is by saying that basically, a landlord’s tenant is no longer a company…it’s the worker (the talent).

“What talent wants, is what tenants need, and what landlords must build.”

Coworking has strengthened the notion of workspace-as-a-service; in other words, hospitality in the workplace. And this concept can easily extend to the world of commercial real estate on a much deeper level. Coworking has taught us that people are seeking experiences, and that they want these experiences to be integrated as much as possible. Coworking isn’t just about a place where people go to work; various coworking operators offer additional services like gym memberships, on-site cafes, lounges, game-rooms, laundry services, and more.

So, back to the original question: is coworking the future of CRE?

Yes it is. Adding a coworking or flexible workspace to buildings can bring in a much higher yield compared to a traditional tennent. Integrating these spaces to buildings provides landlords with the opportunity to create experiences for users. People want spaces where they can live, work, and play. The demand for mix-use buildings will increase in the coming years, and coworking is a solid first step. This is especially true as large companies and enterprises begin to adopt coworking and flexible workspace models in order to attract and retain talent.

Because of what the new generation of workers demands, companies are being forced to embrace coworking and provide their employees with spaces that provide access to workspace, fitness, food, programming, and additional hospitality services. If landlords want to attract these companies to their buildings, they need to make sure that they have the right infrastructure and management in place in order to cater to these needs.

About the author:

Office Suite Strategies is a shared workspace consulting and management company comprised of experienced business professionals focused on assisting property owners achieve maximum value from their real estate investments. Offering a broad range of services, our unparalleled experience in developing, opening, and managing shared workspace properties enables us to achieve extraordinary results for our clients.


Grow Member Engagement with these 5 Tips

Engaging your workspace members shouldn’t be a source of anxiety, but it’s not rocket science, either. While you might have to experiment a little to find out what makes your client base tick, think of it as a fun social exercise that can add value to your member relationships and engage your on-site management in high-value community-building activities.

Building your workspace community foundations does not have to be stressful. Simply follow these five steps to help grow your member engagement:

1. Appoint an Ambassador

Having an advocate for member activities and events is key. With someone on your team acting as the point person, members will always know where to go when they need to connect or want to find out more about what’s going on in the member community. If you don’t have someone on your team to fill the roll, then look for a member that can fill the roll. The best person for the job should be easy to choose: simply look for the person who is actively tweeting, sharing, posting, starting conversations or coming up with ideas. For a person like this, being the community manager is something they come by naturally. You’ll just be making it official.

2. Plumb your imagination

Ideas, ideas. What makes your community tick? Finding out is easy: circulate a little survey amongst the membership. Do a little casual eavesdropping around the water cooler. Take what others are saying and turn it into something to rally around. Wine tasting, anyone? Sports? Golf? Book club? Host a networking event to get to know everybody and solicit ideas for future get-togethers. Change the theme each time and turn it into something that they’ll look forward to attending every month. The better your members get to know each other, the more it fosters collaboration and community.

3. Ask for opinions

Don’t just take your own word for it, take it to the people: ask your members what they really think about the workspace and encourage them to be candid. If you are able to make changes based on these suggestions, you will always have their respect and admiration. This could be as simple as flowers in the reception area or connecting with a local artist to provide visual appeal. Not all ideas are going to be great or viable, but you might be surprised at what comes out of it.

4. Use digital tools to connect

Give your members a digital forum from which to share ideas, connect and collaborate. This will give your busy members an opportunity to tune in on their own time to share their insights, photos, celebrate wins and connect with other like-minded professionals in a socially collaborative way.

5. Keep in mind

Digital communication works very well, but there is no substitute for honest-to-goodness face time (not the iOS kind). Connecting in the virtual realm should be an extension of your real-world conversations, providing value that goes beyond the in-person relationship. It can deliver a sense of connectedness to members who are only occasionally in the house, but your personal connections should be where it all begins.

Office Suites Strategies is the Coworking and Shared Space management and consulting company in the United States. Connecting your real estate with ideas and out-of-the-box approaches to help you grow, they are committed to excellence in development and passionate about connecting.