Last weekʼs Connect blog talked about the coalescing of Team Connect behind the seemingly unlikely image of an emperor penguin, whose collaborative survival tactics make that species a perfect choice for Connectʼs mascot. The embrace of that adorable waddler has added an enthusiastic energy to the discussions taking place at and the image surrounding Connect Coworking. This week, weʼre gonna dive headlong into branding, and itʼs as a good a time as any to try and dissect what exactly that means.
Itʼs a term thrown around quite a bit relating to everything from clothes to cable networks, but perhaps a closer look at the roots of the word is warranted. Branding originated simply as a means for those engaged in a craft or trade to distinguish their own workmanship and products from others. Quite literally, think of the brand applied to cattle in the Old West sense as would have taken place on a ranch.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, trade in those hot irons for a group of committed business people intent on bringing their dreams to life, and the basic idea has not changed so much. A brand is now a very carefully cultivated asset, a powerful shorthand that represents a cluster of communicated ideas and a set of identifying emotions and characteristics a company would like to have associated with their product. When Team Connect set out to forge their brand, they came to the table with a number of ﬁrm ideas about what theyʼd envisioned the space to be.
Open. Welcoming. Warm. Smart. A place where ideas can ﬂow freely between those with a vision, whose experiences and ﬁrst-hand expertise may prove incredibly valuable to their cohorts within the collaborative space. The color yellow exudes this feeling of warmth and community, which is precisely the vibe everyone at Connect Coworking is intent on fostering. It was fantastic that the natural yellow markings visible on the emperor penguin also neatly coincided with the desire to generate a friendly collaborative work environment, further cementing the positive feelings among the crew about adopting the bird as their symbol. Language relating to the penguin concept also found its way into the pre-launch pricing at Connect, resulting in the names and corresponding iconography of the various plans (Slider, Hopper, Flock, and Ice Box).
Even further down the visual communication rabbit hole, the creation of a mural at Connect Beta (painted by local artist Joe Pagac), depicting three penguins in various states of dress (formal, business dress, and workplace casual) allowed visitors to wrap their heads around the three primary states of venture existence that a Connect coworker might encounter in their ongoing journey there. These are all very speciﬁc, conscious choices, aimed at drawing the kind of people that will make Connect Coworking an electric hive of ingenuity at 5th Avenue and Congress. In the center of an already frenzied factory of downtown Tucson urban renewal, Connect Coworking is a community foundry awash in a shower of sparks.
Next week, put on your hard hats, because weʼre going on a tour of the new digs!
By James J. Jefferies