Create a movement that supports your coffee brand.

August 29, 2013 by

coffee movement markwtingWhat is a movement? It’s a community of people who are passionate about a particular idea or cause.

Some movements are very public and international, like the Occupy movement.

Others are smaller and often local, like a group of people coming together to oppose the development of a local park.

In the world of specialty coffee, the Third Wave could be described as a movement powered by a passionate community of people who truly love quality coffee.

People who advocate shade-grown coffee are also part of a movement.

And I see a more fragmented movement of people who are opposed to the billions of K-Cups and capsules that are filling our landfills.

Why you want to be aligned with a movement, or create one.

The thing about movements, as opposed to marketing campaigns, is that they are powered by the genuine passions of consumers. A marketing campaign is a construct, created in the hope that it will change people’s buying behaviors. A movement is something else entirely, simply because it is powered not by you, but by your prospects and customers.

The trick is to get that alignment right. You want to tap into the passion and energy of a movement that is powered by your customers, but without appearing manipulative or sneaky.

In other words, choose or create your movement carefully.

Why this approach is a perfect fit for the specialty coffee industry

Coffee is already about passion and community. People gather together in coffee shops not just for the beverage, but also for the social and cultural aspects of enjoying specialty coffee together.

This gives you an advantage when it comes to movement marketing. Pity the company selling industrial widgets. It will be a lot harder for them to find, nurture and benefit from a movement that drives passion and conversation.

While on the subject of conversations, let’s not forget that the most powerful platform for movement marketing today is social media and mobile devices. Movements can achieve critical mass and spread online at an incredible speed.

How to find or create a movement that works for your brand

Some coffee movements are already “taken”. If you align yourself with the Fair Trade movement you are simply joining an existing crowd of companies that have been doing this for longer than you have.

Some movements are too small and too local, like a community of enthusiasts trying to save a local, independent coffee shop. That said, you can generate a huge amount of goodwill by identifying and supporting multiple local movements.

If you have more of an environmental bent, join or create a “small footprint” movement. This would be about dumping single-serve brewers in favor of hand-powered brewing systems, and recycling the used coffee grinds.

BTW - I happen to know that a lot of people are extremely upset about the taste of plastics when they buy new coffee makers. That's the germ of a movement right there.

What you want to do is keep your ear to the ground and listen carefully to what coffee lovers are talking about and getting passionate about. Your job is to identify the early stages of a potential movement and then act as its supporter and enabler.

And now for the bad news…

It’s not really bad news. It’s more of a caveat.

It takes guts to move marketing dollars away from traditional channels and into a movement.

You’ll no longer have anything like the control you are used to having. You won’t control the message. And there is no guarantee that the movement you align with will ever truly take off.

But the upside is still enormous. Imagine even a relatively small movement finding traction, killing it on social media, getting mainstream media coverage…and there you are, riding the wave and basking in the warmth of their passion, momentum and exposure.

NOTE: If you would like to learn more about movement marketing, and how it might work for your coffee brand, check out my services page or contact me directly.

Leave a Comment