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Our aim is to create an experience of the product: Vineet Singh

WeWork is a global platform that provides innovative workplace solutions for any type of member organization/individual member, regardless of company size, maturity or space needs. 

WeWork’s strategy is to focus on today’s millennials and their working habits. Their campaigns are not targetted at any particular segment. They have a consumer focused strategy and this reflects in most of their campaigns.

They have started a new concept, offering digital tours for potential members who would like to visit the workspace but are not able to make time.

As a gesture to extend support and revel in the celebrations of Pride Month, WeWork changed the colour of their logo at select locations across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to match that of the rainbow flag.

With over 13+ years of experience in advertising & marketing across sectors, Vineet Singh currently leads the branding & marketing practice at WeWork India. He is responsible for developing the marketing strategy, online and offline activations, events and communications for the brand in India. 

Adgully caught up with Singh in an discussion about WeWork India's marketing strategy, their virtual tours, and their 'Stories' initiative. 

How has the concept of co-working space evolved in India?

The Indian economy is in a position where businesses of all industries and sizes, whether a startup, SME or a large enterprise, are poised for massive growth.  It is home to 65% of the population under the age of 35 years who are seeking greater social engagement and looking for a work environment that makes them a part of a large community of like-minded people. 

Demands from millennials for more vibrant, flexible, technologically advanced yet cost effective work environments has led to the co-working revolution in recent times. Today, co-working is moving beyond meeting the needs of millennials in start-up spaces, to creating new work environments for mainstream corporations. It now provides multiple options of customized spaces to established firms and plays a key role in corporate real estate strategy as well. The concept of collaborative workspaces has brought relief to both employees and the employer. With cost reduction and shared amenities, an overall sustainable working ecosystem has been created.

WeWork entered the Indian market in July 2017 through a joint venture with Embassy Group. Since then, we have captured 3 key cities (Bangalore, Mumbai and NCR) with over 30,000 members across large enterprises, SMEs, Startups and freelancers. By leveraging technology and our global experience in design, WeWork has been redefining the way collaborative spaces are being perceived. At WeWork, our strongest value proposition is our community. With leading venture capitalists and large enterprises being part of our community of 466,000 members globally, it gives startups easy access to strategic opportunities that might help grow their businesses. On the other hand, large enterprises are one of our fastest growing categories at WeWork India, with 52% of the member base comprising of large enterprises. Large enterprises also look up to WeWork to breathe energy, help them enrich their culture, enhance employee satisfaction and improve retention. Our locations help companies of all sizes with an opportunity to collaborate through refreshing design, an engaging community, and added benefits. Today, we are not only building spaces, but enabling entrepreneurial success stories in India. 

Has this concept resonated with corporates/companies?

There is an acceptance of a new way of working, which has spurred the demand for collaborative workspaces in India. As businesses, both big and small, continue to mushroom and spread their wings, co-working provides them an option to combat expensive real estate. In a co-working environment like WeWork, budding entrepreneurs as well as established business owners work out of the same space. They get to know one another, and might realise that their businesses can complement one another, thus leading to mutually beneficial partnerships. People can bounce ideas off one another, hire one another and collaborate to expand their businesses. 49% of our enterprise members globally say that WeWork has helped them enter new markets and grow their business and 80% of them have seen an increase in their productivity since joining WeWork.

Further, Employee retention is one of the major concerns when it comes to large enterprises and spaces like ours not only help enterprises retain best of their talent but have also helped them attract more talent. 78% of enterprise members globally credit WeWork to help find and retain top talent.

At WeWork, on top of the space, community and services that the membership provides, there are also intangible benefits that one can’t put a price on. For instance, a member can access to other WeWork spaces around the world, connect with other members online and in person through the member network app or network to connect with potential new clients and investors.  

What is the 'Stories' initiative?

With the focus on millennials, the idea behind ‘Stories’ is to reach out to the millennial workforce through a digital platform and connect this large community. The first episode featured Sunil Chhetri along with Albert Serran and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, followed by Shane Watson and Brett Lee in the second episode. Both episodes received great response and appreciation from people on-ground, our members and online audience who heavily invested in the sessions. We had an influx of questions on Facebook and at the event itself. On the same lines, we recently invited Lisa Ray to our space at Enam Sambhav, Mumbai where she spoke about what keeps her motivated and how she became an author. The live chat was also followed by a reading session of her memoir - Close to the Bone.  All in all, our aim is to continue to engage with individuals through digital platforms and connect them to achievers from various fields to talk about their journey that might help in further inspiring people.

How is this initiative being marketed?

The vision behind our ‘Stories’ platform is to reach out to as many people as possible through our social media channels. Through these FB live sessions, we celebrate journeys of renowned people from different walks of life by asking them to share their motivational stories about their life and career. The announcement and promotion of these sessions are done through our official social media channels (Facebook and Instagram) and offline as well through creatives across all our location and communication on our member network app.

We will continue with this property and plan to host two such sessions every quarter by inviting people from diverse fields to come to our space and share their stories with us and our members. So far, the audience response has been fantastic. It has been a great experience to see live audience viewing the episodes and participating in the Q&A session by asking questions to these champions. The response from in-house members has been phenomenal as well and we are overwhelmed to receive such positive feedback on the initiative.

You have now started something called virtual tour of your spaces, can you elaborate on that?

We recently introduced a digital tour for our potential members who would like to visit our workspace but are not able to make time. In a first for any co-working brand, potential members have an authentic, first-hand experience of the vibe, design, community and culture at our spaces. By sharing a digital link, our team connects with the person through a digital medium like a zoom call and takes them on a tour around the space while conversing about the features, design, events and benefits of working out of WeWork. 

How do you promote WeWork to prospective clients?

As a B2B company, our aim is to create an experience of the product, which is a workspace in our case. This also involves education of the category by shedding light on the value members are receiving through the WeWork membership. Majority of India’s workforce is currently formed by millennials looking for tech smart offices and larger collaboration opportunities. The demand is growing faster in Asia Pacific than anywhere else in the world. Millennials are ruling the world and for brands like us, it's important to cater to them in every way possible. Hence, despite being a B2B brand, we are using multiple B2C tools such as social media to reach out to this generation of workers. Since our members belong to a diverse workforce, we put in a lot of effort in segment marketing, i.e., marketing for enterprise vs. SMEs vs. startups which are all different from one another. We plan to keep developing strategies with the aim of finding new ways to connect with the millennial workforce.

What is your marketing budget? What is the split between traditional and digital?

At WeWork, we have a diverse range of members working in our workspaces who always strive to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Through our local community teams, we are always engaging with our members, understanding their views and taking it into account while designing and driving our marketing initiatives. According to a recent study by RAI and Deloitte (Source), Millennials spend an average 17 hours online every week. As marketers, we are aware of the shift in this medium and we are putting in efforts into digital marketing which we believe is the place to reach them. On the other hand, traditional marketing is also very helpful to us to drive larger brand awareness, especially when we are entering a new city and we continue to rely on it. But overall, digital will remain a dominant touchpoint going forward so as to drive communication to our target audience. 

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