March 22, 2016

Specialty Marketing: 4 Steps to Customizing YOUR Coffee Brand


With more and more specialty coffee shops popping up everywhere, how do you persuade coffee-drinkers to visit YOUR shop? The answer’s simple: by being you.

While the interior design or the location may help to pull customers through your doors, chances are the real reason they’re coming is the other people there. Sure, this includes the guests and the baristas. But it’s the owners who infuse their personality into their coffee shops, who can make the café stand out from the crowd – it’s the owners who can turn one-time visitors into regulars.

Learn the four rules that will allow you to create a unique and striking Unique Selling Personality for your café. And in doing so, discover how to lead customers to your coffee house.

SEE ALSO: How Can your Smartphone Improve your Coffee Experience?

Unique Selling Point badge

Your Unique Selling Point should be your personality. Credit: Planet of Success

1. Be Authentic

People respect someone who works hard to offer great specialty coffee from great specialty coffee roasters. But they love someone who is real.

The key to this is two-fold: reach out to your customers, and be honest. So how do you reach out to your customers in a meaningful way? Well, don’t just tell them what they need to hear (about coffee); tell them what you need to say. Speaking from your heart shows that you both know your stuff and are passionate about what you do.

As Rachid El Ofairi, owner of Aniis in Frankfurt, Germany, says: “I’m not just preparing the coffee for my guests, handing it out, and that’s it. For me, preparing coffee is about precision and perfection. I’d like to let my customers know about the quality of the coffees they taste, the aromas and flavors, not just the origins of the coffee beans.”

barista preparing a pour over

Rachid El Ofairi of Aniis preparing coffee for his customers. Credit: Melanie Boehme

As for being honest, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Instead, keep your café truthful to what your life is all about. If you’re not into industrial design, don’t do it – regardless of how trendy it is!

Barista at work at a coffee shop

Rachid El Ofairi created his own interior design ideas, making Aniis authentically his. Credit: Melanie Boehme

2. Be More than Coffee

We’re all passionate about coffee – but is there something else you’re also into? Whether it’s a hobby, such a surfing, or a fascination with a certain country and its culture, you should inject it into your brand.This gives people a sense of who you really are.

In Man versus Machine, a specialty café in Munich, Germany, the owners fused several of their passions into a style that is uniquely theirs.

Man versus Machine coffee shop interior

Man versus Machine’s aesthetic style reflects their passion for things outside of the world of coffee. Credit: Man vs. Machine

“We came to specialty coffee while traveling during the past 15 years… Our love for Japan and its culture – I practiced Kendo for a long time, with its attention to detail and its design and aesthetic… it’s what impressed us most,” says Marco, one of the owners.

Their Japanese influence is apparent in the beverages and coffee equipment they offer, including several Japanese teas and Hario filter brewing gear.

Yet that’s not the only interest visible in their coffee house. You can also detect a love of Californian skate culture and Scandinavian freshness in both their coffee and their design choices. “We’re fascinated by light roasts and the craft of coffee roasting as it’s done in most northern countries, so we try to adapt that to our roasts as well,” says Marco.

Framed posters on a wall above seating area

California skate culture and Japanese aesthetics: an unusual, but perfect, combination. Credit: Man vs. Machine

They gave the designer of their logo, Jon Contino, free reign with their passions. The result was a striking crocodile that captures their unique personality.

Man versus Machine logo

Man versus Machine’s logo as designed by Jon Contino. Credit: Man versus Machine

3. Be Consistently You

It’s important to tell your unique story, and it’s equally important to be consistent about it.

Rachid El Ofairi of Aniis has a Moroccan background, which is apparent the moment you look at his menu: homemade hummus, Zahluk and couscous salad, Moroccan-style mint tea… And he prepares all if it himself, making it authentically and consistently his.

homemade moroccan food

Homemade Moroccan delicacies at Aniis. Credit: Melanie Boehme

As Marco of Man versus Machine says, “The design aspect, the attention to detail, the lightheartedness and ludic approach to the craft of coffee roasting… being independent and only focusing on what we want… it was clear right from the beginning and it’s what we’re aiming for in all what we do.”

Your brand has to be visible in everything you create and do. Make sure your tweets, posts, emails and newsletters, website, and packaging speak with just one voice. And if you’re not sure if something fits your style? Ask your friends if they’d still recognise you if someone put up your or used a package – without any obvious branding!

4. Be You Online

Showing off your personality can seem particularly difficult online, and you may find yourself tempted to just post a combination of latte art and information on your newest coffees. Yet this is a missed opportunity to both develop your brand and connect with your regulars.

Always write the same way you would speak to your friends. Aim for a conversational tone and have fun in your communications.

And speaking of having fun, post photos of yourself and your baristas whenever you host activities. This can range from business activities, like cuppings and tastings of the newest coffee arrivals, to your personal hobbies.

Finally, don’t forget to introduce all new team members to your digital audience. Do so creatively – use things like video, audio, and photography. In this way, you’ll tell your customers who that friendly person preparing his or her daily caffeine fix really is.

colorful chalk with facebook logo

Infuse your social media posts with your own personality. Credit: 

While this article will hopefully give you something to brew over, putting a bit of your personality into your brand doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply by being yourself, you’re more real to your customer than any generic coffee shop out there. Because what could be more unique and striking than yourself, especially when it comes to selling what you and your customers are most passionate about?

Perfect Daily Grind