‘Bake in your brand’ to find space in a cluttered market: COMET meetings

Post by Anne Charbonneau, Managing Partner based in Amsterdam.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my clients introduced me to COMET, a new player in the meeting room rental market. As we run workshops pretty much every month of the year, I was interested to check out this new venue offer, especially as the market tends to work at two extremes: lots of functional ‘sausage’, but very inspiring meeting; or lots of inspiring ‘sizzle’, but not very functional (a cool and funky attic, but without any printer for example).

Here is what I think COMET is doing right:

1. Focus on the core

Many competitors in the meeting room space seem to try and ‘do it all’: co-working space + café + flexible offices + permanent office + business club + meeting rooms to rent etc.). This create a complex business model and risks being OK at lots of stuff, but not great at any of it. In contras, Comet have ‘picked a battle’ and focused on being brilliant at one thing: being the master of meeting rooms.

This reminds me of the denim brand Huit Jeans, who sing the praises of focusing on the core and being brilliant at one thing.

2. Find an enemy to inspire you

Sometimes, in defining your purpose, finding a clear enemy can be a powerful enabler. And Comet has defined their enemy: boring meetings. In contrast to a lot of the press about meetings being a waste of time, Comet’s funny manifesto states that many great things happen in a meeting (e.g. Churchill, Roosevelt et Stalin in 1945).

Fighting boring meetings inspires everything Comet do, with  a range of services to make meetings fun and effective: from ongoing health food buffets, to mozzarella making workshops, or short wellness/yoga sessions.  The info email is even called sauvonsnosreunions.comet.team (saveourmeetings.comet.team).

3. Bake in your brand

Maybe, like me, you got tired of service venues, especially restaurants, that start by ‘explaining their concept’ for 5 minutes. Great brands ‘bake’ their brand into their offer with ‘service signatures’ that truly demonstrate what they stand for: they show more and tell less.

At Comet, the staff seems carry the brand vision well: no fuss, energized and available to help make your meeting great. The ‘smartphone’ charger wheel in each meeting room is a nice iconic object that brings to life the brand vision of helping meetings work better, by taking teams away from their phone in a friendly way.

And each Comet meeting room has a ‘Comethode’ booklet, a humorous and insightful guide on how to run successful meetings. It was nice to see that the guide included some brandgym ‘meeting must-haves’ (e.g. natural daylight, healthy breaks instead of expresso and cookies overloads).

Here’s an example of the page suggesting better use of coffee in meetings 😉

4. Use a distinctive tone of voice

Finding an enemy does not mean you should become a ranting militant brand. A well-defined and lighthearted tone of voice helps Comet carry their message successfully, whilst setting the brand further apart from more ‘conventionally serious’ co-working space competitors.

In conclusion, Comet show how to find your space in a  cluttered market by focusing on the core and then baking in your brand, combining emotional sizzle with distinctive product features. We’ll be using them for workshops in 2020 if you want to check them out for yourself!

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