Your brand isn’t just your identity, it’s your product. It’s critical to understand that the quality of your branding is just as important as the quality of the product itself. Implement these 6 Coffee Shop Branding Tips this year in your coffee shop marketing strategy.
“Individuals act and react on the basis of their perceptions, not on the basis of objective reality.”
How many owners have slaved away to find the perfect brew, obsessed over ethically-sourced beans, just to make sure that they had the best cup of joe in town, only to be driven out by big-box competitors with worse coffee and better marketing?
Most companies won’t reveal their branding
1. Sell Your Brand, Not Just Coffee
The first sip of coffee is actually the last step in a series of events that ends with a consumer choosing you over any other coffee shop in the city. The father of modern advertising, David Ogilvery, said that your brand is “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes, its name, packaging, and price; its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised”. Simply put, your brand is the perception of your product in a customer’s mind.
With the advent of Yelp and Google reviews, there’s no need for focus groups to give customer feedback on your product. If your coffee sucks, there’s no doubt “coffeelover45” will let you know. Use the criticisms to better your product, and build on the positive reviews to further reinforce your brand.
When you see someone on the street holding a white cup with a green logo, you can almost smell the Starbucks. That kind of visceral brand recognition is what you should be aiming for; whether it’s bright, colorful sleeves, unique packaging, or a custom PET cold cup, like this one here , make sure you stand out! Learn more about custom PET cups here.
2. Align Your Brand with Your Mission Statement
Every entrepreneur has had the concept of the almighty mission statement drilled into them. Good branding is firmly rooted in understanding who you are as a company, what you represent, and what sets you apart. Luckily your brand and your mission statement go hand in hand, so good branding isn’t as daunting a task as it seems.
Are you brewing for young creatives? Businessmen in a rush? Parents looking for a quick pick-me-up before soccer practice? Ask yourself, “how do I stand out to my target demographic?”. It’s important to not just have good branding but also focused branding.
A luxury brand using plain, brown, paper cups sacrifices the “premium” feel associated with higher-end products. If you’re eco-centric, plastic cups naturally go against your company’s values. It’s impossible to brand yourself well if you don’t understand who your customers are or what your company stands for.
3. Logos Are Super Important
Speaking of customer perception, your logo is one of the most important factors in properly branding your business. It’s the key to brand recognition, and a good logo will make you instantly recognizable.
A good logo early on gives you plenty of room to scale without needing to rebrand. Sure, services like Fiverr offer you a logo for next to nothing, but keep in mind that once you choose your logo, it’s a part of your brand’s identity. Rebranding is not only expensive; doing so too early eliminates the familiarity you’ve worked so hard to establish.
Invest in yourself because a logo is worth a thousand words! Read here for a more in depth article about creating the best logo possible for your cafe or brand.
4. Social Media
So you have a nice, shiny logo and a concrete identity–what’s next? Share it with the world! Gone are the days of expensive air time; now you can reach millions of people instantly without having to pay a dime.
Having a presence on every major social media platform is not only easy to do, it’s absolutely free! We recommend that you pick one or two platforms to really focus on when growing your online presence. Your identity plays a huge part in this; if you’re catering to professionals, breeding familiarity on LinkedIn is a good idea. If you’re constantly throwing events, Twitter will more readily notify your customers.
The most common platform in the coffee space is Instagram, and it’s the one we recommend. Give your customers an interesting package or an interesting (branded) backdrop for a selfie, and you’ll have organic social media traffic. Embrace the #hashtag!
5. Be Dynamic & Adaptable
Fall has become synonymous with pumpkin spice lattes; Christmas is home to candy flavored fraps. Holidays are the perfect way to introduce a new product while showing off your holiday spirit. Staying dynamic keeps them coming back.
Waking up and having a cup of coffee on your way to work is a ritual shared by millions of people. McDonald’s cleverly introduced their McCafe rewards program, essentially rewarding you for doing something you would’ve done anyway. This establishes a routine, which quickly turns into a habit.
Remaining stagnant is an easy way to get boring fast. Always think of ways to engage your customers and keep them wanting more.
6. Be a Part of Your Community
The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” holds especially true in marketing. If your logo is front and center at local events, brand recognition will shoot through the roof.
Community events like festivals and parades are an easy way to get hundreds of people to try your product, or at the very least get eyes on your brand. When you’re not just a coffee shop, but an active member of your community, you build fierce brand loyalty.
The Awake Coffee Company used to give out small bars of their chocolate during finals week. Every university campus in Toronto had a brand ambassador introducing their caffeinated chocolate. Not only did it save the students a coffee run, it set them apart from their competition. Through a community-based campaign and clever use of social media, they established themselves firmly to their target demographic. If the customer won’t come to you, take your brand to them!
After studying how Starbucks became the global phenomenon it is today, Howard Schultz concluded that “Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last.”
Understand who you are as a company and who your customers are. Use all the resources available to you and constantly be on the lookout for new ways to engage your customers. Brands, just like coffee, have to be built from the ground up.
Think you’ll be able to sell your brand and not just your coffee now? We hope so! If you want to learn more about what you can do for your cafe or brand in terms of branding, check out the rest of our articles here. Catch you later!
Brand My Cafe helps small & medium-sized businesses, cafes and foodservice brands grow their identity through custom coffee cups, coffee sleeves & more. Join our exclusive Facebook group Restaurant Brand Builders to brainstorm ideas with passionate other passionate owners!