Monday 20/12/21, 08:21

Co-pass: lessons learned

How it started

Around seven months ago we started to experiment with the concept of co-pass to bring coworking and distance work to a new level. We wanted to bring the community closer together and integrate local businesses into our venture.

The initiative was to have one app and one membership, where users could check into any of our partner locations (seven local coffee shops and restaurants in Helsingborg) and enjoy unlimited coffee, wifi, and breakfast (if the membership allowed it) while working. The idea was initially shared through a blog post on the Mindpark website that included a form and instructions for new users to sign up. The post was shared through the different social media platforms and newsletters to reach as much of possible of the community around Mindpark.

What happened

It didn’t take long to detect the first need: Maybe the instructions were not so clear. As a response, a video was created detailing step by step process and shared on social media. It was a live-action video recorded at one of the locations that included motion graphic instructions with music. It is important to highlight that at this point, businesses were not “working as usual” due to restrictions related to covid. After the video was posted, the summer months came along and the activity level went down. 

Back in August, restrictions were being loosened up and it was time to pick it up again. The first effort in the agenda was to run a brief diagnosis of the situation so far. There were two external users (outside Mindpark coworkers) that had been sporadically active during the previous months and one that claimed to be interested but hadn’t been active. The coffee shops and restaurants were losing interest since they hadn’t really seen much activity related to Co-pass.

Five interviews with both venues and users were carried out to get their perspectives. They all agreed that it was an attractive initiative but that it wasn’t so clearly thought out. Several issues were detected from different ends:

– There need to be more physical visual signs at the venues for people to identify and learn what the initiative is about.

– Staff at the venues need to be better informed of the initiative to be able to provide a pleasant user experience. The experience should be consistent across venues.

– What is included in the membership and how does it work from both the venue and the user perspective needs to be further clarified and broken down.

– The breakfast option seems to be a challenge since it is a different option with a different value that is not available in all of the venues. Also, no one has shown explicit interest in it.

-The added value of the membership is not clear for the stakeholders

What we did

As a result, a number of actions were taken in response to these needs. It started with a communication strategy draft that (besides actions) outlined specific objectives and key messages that needed to be taken into account throughout the process.

Objectives: 

Increase the level of awareness of the co-pass service within the Helsingborg co-working community by 50% (indicator: number of inquiries about co-pass within the period of the campaign)

Increase the number of active service users up to 10 by the end of the year 2021. (Starting at 0 current active users)

Key messages:

– Become a part of our ever-growing coworking community.

– With co-pass you can take your distance working to the next level.

The main actions taken were:

– Flexible work made simple

-Re-writing the general description of the concept on the website, adding relevant details that were not previously explained, reducing the price of the membership options, and renaming the breakfast alternative as “Co-pass premium”.

-Creating a branding guide that was easy to identify and connect to the Mindpark brand. A recognizable logo was created along with a treatment of the different elements, colors, and fonts.

-Printed material: 4 different elements were designed, printed and distributed among the different venues. 2 types of stickers, one with just the logo and another one with the logo and a QR code to redirect users to the mindpark.se/co-pass for more information, one A3 poster and one A5 table stand presenting the concept, the venues, and the QR code.

-A social media plan draft that included posts texts, the different channels, dates, and actions to take for the rest of the year. The content was mostly shared as still images on Facebook and Linkedin and as animated stories on Instagram (@mindparkhbg) later stored on a story highlight for users to revisit. The topics of the posts were:

Rebranding post: a general reminder of the concept

What’s included?: a breakdown list of the perks included in the membership

How does it work?: a step by step guide on how to use the service

October super deal: a monthly discount from 790kr to 495kr to test how users react to a different price range (got no response)

Why co-pass?: a video to highlight the added value of the service for the users

After a few more weeks a new effort was made to share free access to the service with the existing Mindpark coworker community in Helsingborg with the aim to “the word out”.

The results

Social media was able to collect positive feedback and reactions from the content created but it didn’t translate into active sign-ups and users. Maybe due to the lack of new movement and users at the locations, the effort to reach out to the venues, share the printed material, follow up and talk with the staff, the response and engagement from the cafes and restaurants were minimum. Several of the locations claimed to have lost or misplaced the printed material, and the information was never properly shared with the entire staff. It was clear the interest wasn’t strong enough.

During this process, the social media plan, the amount and type of content to be created needed to be altered in order to include other communication priorities of the Mindpark group, reducing exposure further. After a few months with no new sign-ups, a final new effort to attract new users was made, prioritizing exposure over potential profit. A direct email inviting Mindpark coworkers in Helsingborg to use the app for free and “share the experience with colleagues and friends” was sent out. A three-week period was given to wait for new results that translated into two new sign-ups and one expression of interest.

What we learned

Approaching December, a decision was made to “phase out” the initiative with the year and deactivate the app by the start of 2022. This experience was a very interesting way of understanding how a nice idea, with the seemingly right logic behind it, sometimes is just not enough. 

Co-pass as we thought it, was appealing for most stakeholders but there was something missing for them to take the extra step and engage with it. We learned that it wasn’t a matter of price, lack of information, or lack of opportunity. Maybe it was something behind it, on the DNA of the idea that needs to be tweaked in order to move from nice to tangible success. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time and place and the idea needs to go to sleep for a while to wake up again reimagined.