Understanding Your Own Brand: How to Elevate Your Brand’s Identity in a Crowded Market
By Tim Bailey, Director of Operations, Bond Collective
Whether your company is large or small, newly established or has been around for ages, or anything in between, understanding your brand is imperative to a business’ success.
Brand awareness is a relatively new phenomenon to the business world as new companies, competitors and disruptors come to market with new and improved offerings. It wasn’t until a few years ago that service providers such as PR and Marketing agencies began to offer brand awareness tactics to help businesses grow.
One thing that is often overlooked while growing your brand’s awareness is that both employees and customers need to understand the ins and outs of your brand’s identity. That means employees must recognize the company’s mission, values and brand statement to accurately communicate who the company is that they work for.
Moreover, customers need to identify what your brand is and understand what you do. This content is commonly shared through advertising, marketing, PR and word of mouth, among other channels. If you pair all of these tactics together, you should be on your way to building brand awareness.
Specifically at Bond Collective, as a shared workspace, we have a ton of competitors that have similar offerings and have more companies being added to that list as we speak. As a company and brand, we realized early on that it was important to identify who we were in the market. It was critical for us to define what is important to us, which is hospitality, design and relationships and then portray that accurately in everything our business touches.
It has been quite a journey of understanding who we are in the shared office industry after only 4 short years since our Co-Founders established Bond Collective. We’ve been through a ton of soul searching and brand exercises as a team, so that’s why we developed a list of suggestions in hopes to help elevate your brand in a crowded market.
Avoid becoming a competitor
In such a crowded market (such as the shared workspace industry) it’s difficult to avoid gravitating towards one of your competitors. If you find that your brand is doing this quite often, it’s important to take a step back and plan your strategy to differentiate yourself.
Whether it’s in your marketing, PR, sales or operations, there will always be something that you can do differently to create a uniqueness to your company’s identity. For example, you could host a targeted meet-up or workshop every month to showcase your brand and thought leadership content/ideas for an executive. This will help with repeated brand exposure.
Make decisions with your customers in mind
At Bond Collective, we’ve made it a point to take feedback directly from our customers (members). For example, we conduct bi-annual town hall meetings at each of our locations to give our community the opportunity to tell us what we are doing right or wrong and what can be improved.
This is direct feedback we can take and create solutions right from the mouth of our customers. Gathering this type of data is fairly simple to do no matter what industry you are in. There are plenty of channels to collect the information such as focus groups, digital or in-person surveys, or 1:1 meetings.
Build authentic relationships
Building relationships was and is still a huge resource we tap into to elevate our brand. Building a relationship with someone ensures you of who they are, that you have their trust, and that you can bounce ideas/feedback off of each other. The situations are endless.
We leverage relationships to build our brand through our Community Managers developing close bonds with our members. This helps facilitate a strong working relationship, which in turn helps our spaces run smoothly every day. It’s an integral part of our business and can help any company raise brand awareness.
Continue to improve and evolve
The needs of customers are always changing, so with that, your brand has to fluctuate as well (but not too much, of course). For example, in 2017, Bond Collective was rebranded from our old company name, Coworkrs. After about a year of strategic planning, we decided to change the name of our company to truly represent what we were offering – Bond Collective.
We recognized that we wanted our name to represent more than solely Coworking. Our team made this decision to help propel our company for the future which may include hotels, gyms or other shared lifestyle concepts.
Follow the market, but not too closely
In the Coworking industry, a lot of the players are extremely similar on paper – i.e. offerings, services and amenities. However, each and every part of our locations we have made unique to Bond Collective. For example, we create common areas in each of our spaces similar to boutique hotel lobbies.
Another great example would be our event venue, The Mezzanine, which was created for high end and professional events, not a beer hall. With that, it’s important to be aware of how the market is doing and new trends that arise, but always add your own brand’s flair to the mix.
Overall, at Bond Collective we have been on an incredible journey of understanding who our brand is in the shared workspace industry. From the start, we’ve always stayed true to our brand and stayed an arms length away from our competitors.
As a company we ingrain our identity, mission and values into our employee’s everyday responsibilities and conversations. In addition, we always ask for feedback and input from our members to improve any facet of our business (that, of course, makes sense for the bottom line).
No matter who you are, the journey to understand and elevate your brand identity will never be over, but we hope these tips have made the process a little easier!