Namah Chawla

WeWork India moves from co-working spaces to flexible real estate

The co-working player’s latest ad shows it as a place that embraces diversity and where people can work together like a community.

There has been a lot of uncertainty and change over the last two-and-a-half years, ever since COVID pandemic hit. It has made individuals and organisations question a lot of existing practices. One such practice: having one’s own working space. So, many organisations had to re-calibrate their real estate strategy.

One usually associates co-working spaces with startups or solopreneurs. What most people miss, though, is that large companies are now also reworking their real estate strategies.

WeWork India’s latest campaign, titled ‘Great Inspires Great’, highlights an ideal workspace. It’s an ideal mix of great infrastructure and an opportunity to be a part of something larger than just an organisation.

Conceptualised by FCB Ulka, the 60-second film will be amplified through a campaign across social, digital, radio, OOH and TV. WeWork has been in India for the last five years, and this is its largest campaign, till date.

Sharing details about the media mix, Megha Agarwal, head of brand and marketing, WeWork India, says that the company has always been a digital-first brand.

“We operate for a wide spectrum of consumers. We have solopreneurs and startups on one end and large MNCs on the other. Digital media helps us to do performance marketing in a targeted way. It ensures that the campaign delivers the best ROI and reaches out to all cohorts.”

Megha Agarwal, WeWork
Megha Agarwal, WeWork

Digital helps the brand to ensure that it is not bombarding consumers with irrelevant messages. Agarwal mentions that for this particular campaign, the brand took a 360-degree approach.

“While the largest spends will continue to be on digital, there will be a healthy mix of TV, OTT, outdoor and radio. We will also use our large buildings for facade branding.”

Agarwal mentions that WeWork has a unique advantage of offering a global community and platform in India. This is not easily imitable. The large global community is not what a lot of brands can boast about, as it has been curated over the last 10 years through global efforts. That is what the campaign also aims to explain to its potential members and partners - to choose WeWork, while they look at their flex strategy.

Elaborating on the timing of the campaign, Agarwal reveals that it was thought through and timed with an intention to go live now.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for multiple industries across board. For the co-working space, it was a time when the buildings were less occupied and everybody started questioning whether this industry will survive or not. This was because most people and organisations started working from home.

What really worked in WeWork’s favour is that post-pandemic, there was a change in the way people approached flexibility. “Suddenly, everybody started to question long-term investments because of uncertainty. This whole re-thinking added a lot of fuel to this industry,” explains Agarwal.

As per reports, the co-working industry is projected to grow at 15% CAGR over the next five years. That means it will double in five years. Agarwal shares that WeWork has seen a 20% growth in its enterprise space and is upwards of 70%, in terms of enterprise contribution.

Currently, WeWork India operates in the five key cities of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. It is reportedly looking to raise $300 million to expand operations in India, as companies and employees are starting to come back to work and are looking for office spaces.

While eyeing expansion, WeWork also aims to continue investing in its brand. Agarwal shares that over the last year, WeWork has launched three big products, which are now in the position of scaling up. These are on-demand, virtual offices and a global product called all access.

“WeWork wants to be the ultimate hybrid solution for all real estate needs. All these products mean that there is a huge willingness to invest in hybrid solutions that cater to diverse consumer needs.”

While the industry was going through a shake up and revaluating its fundamental pieces, WeWork did self-inspection on what is really keeping the brand intact as a community.

From a post-pandemic point of view, when most organisations are seriously looking at flexible real estate, WeWork will continue its journey of investing in its brand and products.

Co-working is still at a nascent stage in the country. Agarwal points out that many players have entered the market after WeWork. There are a few city-level and national players, as well as aggregators. All of these also compete with the larger real estate industry. Agarwal states that this is the real competition for WeWork, apart from its direct or immediate competitors.

“The bigger challenge for us is working with larger real estate players and convincing members to think about flexible real estate. We are a subset of the larger real estate industry and want more people to adopt a flexible working strategy. As one of the leaders in this space and a global brand, our ambition is to grow,” Agarwal shares.

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