The coffee industry is filled with plenty of coffee brands. That includes multinational corporations and world-wide known names as well as local coffee shops and regional brewed drinks available only on the domestic market. In such a saturated environment, it is difficult to differentiate and reach any break-through point.
There are two factors that play the most significant roles in achieving a coffee business success: quality of the product and branding. Quality does not need to be extensively explained, does it? Customers consume the product and value simply what tastes better and provides a higher level of caffeine. As for branding, there are quite a few factors that influence it.
Every brand has a story. It wasn’t launched simply out of lack of anything better to do, right? No matter how unexciting the story may be, it is always worth sharing it with the audience. Simply stating the brand’s name doesn’t mean anything really. Telling the story will give your customers an insight on what the brand is, what it stands for, how it all began, etc.
It is also important to, through the story, show your brand’s personality. You, as an owner, founder of the business and human, have a certain collection of characteristics. By launching a brand, you extend them to your business. Simply put, your coffee brand is a reflection of you. As long as your business is small, do not try to set a division between your personality and what the business stands for.
Reason for this is that if your business reflects you, the brand will have a more genuine personality. It is extremely difficult to create a brand with a fake collection of values. Customers feel such things. When the business feels genuine, customers start to see it as more relatable, meaningful and approachable.
Did you hire a designer or asked a friend to create a logo for your brand? If so, that’s a great start. If not, you must get on it as soon as possible. Branding isn’t only about the logo and placing it all over your merchandise. There is something called a brand identity design which you should think about getting for consistent branding.
Brand identity design is an extension of your logo. A logo is just an icon and basis for your business recognition and marketing. Brand identity includes a set of brand’s official colors, fonts, designed business cards, envelopes, etc. In your case, this would relate to branded napkins, perhaps take away cups, menu design, etc.
Moreover, brand identity would be the basis for packaging design if you are selling, or planning on selling, distributed products. The goal is, obviously, for the packaging to match your logo, napkins, take away bags, etc. Hence, if you have a written down criteria like colors and font, the future graphic designer working on packaging design will make all your products in line with the rest of your business.
You probably know very well that without some sort of differentiation point, there is little chance for success. However, it is worth mentioning that differentiating for the sake of it isn’t the smartest idea either. Try to find your unique selling point and connect it to what the brand stands for.
Focusing on an example, let’s take a supermarket shelf. There are plenty of coffee beans, bags, capsules available. All different yet all similar. Their packagings seem to be all the same: brown with some silver, elegant letters. Some brands add a little bit of red color to attract customers’ attention.
Now, do not start selling coffee in a box in the shape of a slower or a bag in neon colors. The goal is right, but the execution is wrong. Ask yourself what your brand sells. Does it try to sell a drink that will make the customer energetics and positive? Or maybe a relaxing and calming drinking experience? All this is relevant as customers look at the bigger picture, not a single product on the shelf.
As a brand selling a product for consumption, it is required for you to include all the necessary labels on the packaging. Where your product comes from, what are the ingredients, etc. As a founder, most probably you are familiar with all the terms. They are your everyday language.
However, customers aren’t on top with terms like ‘single origin’ or ‘dry processing’. Majority buys the coffee for the taste, looks and the experience it sells. They do not fully understand or care about the processing method.
So an extra tip for your business is: try to explain to them what the words stand for. The more they understand, the more thought-through their purchasing choices will be. After all, the end goal is for them to appreciate the quality of your product instead of the packaging, right?
Natalia Raben is International Business student taking care of marketing at DesignBro. Lover of design, photography and the arts.