pixel facebook analyticsHow to Create Amazing Coffee Shop Branding in 5 Easy Steps
Tips for Creating an Effective Coffee Shop Branding

Hip Tips for the Best Sip: How to Do Coffee Shop Branding

March 18, 2020
6 MINUTES
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Danica Popovic

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When I was a student and ate plain rice 5 days a week, I still never thought twice about splurging on a cup of coffee. In hindsight, I know now that my poor financial decisions were partly influenced by some fantastic coffee shop branding.

These days arguably, few industries do branding as well as coffee shops. And while all the rules of small business branding still apply, making it big with your coffee shop comes with a set of industry specifics.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some vital aspects of coffee shop branding to help make your business a success!

Frapp-boy or coffee nerd: Decide what kind of business you are

Sometimes it seems you can barely walk into a coffee shop without the word artisanal popping up somewhere. These hipster coffee shops which have exploded in the last decade are a result of a much longer process of coffee expansion or how we moved from coffee as a common household product to a sophisticated experience. Today we can distinguish between the so-called three waves of coffee:

  • First wave: coffee as a commodity, low-quality beans, no reference to the origin;
  • Second wave: Starbucks opens in 1971 and pioneers the idea of coffee drinking as an experience; the focus still isn’t on the coffee itself but instead on the cafe/baristas/new flavors of coffee;
  • Third wave: pushes forth the idea that consumers should learn where coffee comes from and how it has been processed; focus is placed on the product.

What’s striking is that even with sophisticated branding of third- and second-wave coffee shops (elaborate mission, vision, and value statements), there are still many “regular Joe” businesses that survive and attract a certain kind of clientele.

Learn how to create a stunning visual brand

Follow the example described in our Coffee Shop Branding Guide

So the first step in branding your coffee shop is deciding where you belong (what coffee wave). This will also have to do with where your shop is located: is it a quiet residential area or a young, up-and-coming neighborhood?

Keep in mind your brand’s purpose (why and what you do) and how this aligns with the dreams and challenges of your customers.

Make your coffee shop interior a second home for your customers

How your place of business looks isn’t always a branding concern. But as a brick and mortar business, your branding efforts are doomed unless you create a physical space that appeals to your buyer personas (fictional representations of ideal customers in the branding process).

Moreover, you need to create a space that people won’t just find aesthetically pleasing, but will also provide additional value to them. Think of your customers’ challenges and find new ways to help solve them.

If you’re located in a business district, an open concept which resembles a coworking space could be a fantastic choice. On the other hand, if your brand focuses on the social aspect of coffee drinking, consider a layout that invites people to interact with baristas and learn more about your coffee culture. Like this sleek bar from Veneziano Coffee Roasters in Melbourne.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters Interior Design.jpg Wallpaper

Branding should be an integral part of the entire customer experience. This means subtly building your brand image inside the customer’s mind from the moment they enter your shop till after they leave.

Take a look at this example from Jimmy’s Coffee. Something as simple as painting their door yellow to match their signature color establishes a powerful brand image. And it makes a pretty great social media post to help keep your customers connected.

jimmy_s coffee branding.jpg

How packaging can make the best branding

Best things come in small packages. And boy do I hate sounding so cliche, but that’s kind of true for coffee.

We can all roll our eyes at the thought of it, but it’s likely that in the past five years, you’re guilty of posting a picture of a hot beverage on Instagram. Howeveryou feel about it, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. If you run a coffee shop, you need pretty, instagramable packaging for your brew.

Think of Jimmy’s Coffee again. Their simple design, paired with a bold color that isn’t overused in the industry (like brown and tan), is practically an invitation to document your perfect coffee moment.

Another fantastic example is Blue Bottle coffee. They made their packaging the focal point of the brand, as they started testing out zero single-cup policy late last year. Customers who don’t want to bring their own can pay a small deposit and sip their coffee from one of these beautiful reusable cups.

blue bottle coffee cup.jpg Blue Bottle Coffee

What’s even more striking about this example is just how well the company’s logo fits the new mission. Although the story behind Blue Bottle’s name is an interesting one, it’s not associated with sustainability. On the other hand, the blue (glass-looking) bottle creates a reference to reusable packaging and environmental dangers of plastic pollution.

Conclusion

Making your coffee shop branding a success isn’t that different from any good branding. You need to know your purpose, your audience, and what makes you unique.

It does, however, come with a few specifics. Remember that coffee shops are currently a peculiar market: it’s very much go hip or go home. Still, this doesn’t mean copying what everyone else is doing. Keep an eye out on the competition so that you can decide which trends work for your brand and your customers.

Be original, be you. Don’t end up as someone’s deja brew. Forgive me for this one tasteless pun and happy branding!

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Danica Popovic

March 18, 2020

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.