Author Archives: Nick Usborne

Can celebrity endorsements boost your coffee brand?

Published on October 3, 2014 by

Celebrity coffee brandsAs I have said before on this site, branding your coffee can be a bit of a challenge.

After all, whatever the coffee you are selling, it looks pretty much identical to the coffee your competitors are selling. It’s a small, brown bean.

In other words, coffee is a commodity.

Yes, a very small percentage of coffee drinkers can taste the difference between a coffee from Kenya and a coffee from Ethiopia. But most can’t. They just like a good cup of Joe.

To overcome the “commodity” challenge, roasters and marketers try to differentiate their coffee in a variety of ways.

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To differentiate your coffee, you need to find the right story.

Published on December 4, 2013 by

Coffee bean in a spoonAs I have said in previous posts, the interesting thing about the coffee business is that we are all selling the same thing. It’s a brown bean. A commodity.

At the top end of the market, which is pretty thin, you can differentiate your coffee by its taste. A few people can taste the difference between a decent coffee, a good coffee and a great coffee.

But with most people, their appreciation of coffee is the same as their appreciation of art – they just know what they like.

So…if you are selling a brown, roasted bean – just like every other coffee company – how can you differentiate your own beans?

The answer is pretty simple. You tell a story.

Typically those stories revolve around things like the country of origin and the circumstances under which the coffee is grown, processed and roasted. Shade grown. Fair Trade. Organic. Small batch roasting. And so on.

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Why the cost of shipping could kill your online coffee business.

Published on November 25, 2013 by

Shipping costs for online coffee vendorsIt would be nice to think that the future of your coffee business will turn on the quality of your coffees and your service.

If you have a coffee shop, that may well be the case.

But if you sell coffee online, there is another factor that has the potential to sink your dreams.

Shipping rates.

Put simply, if you sell a pound of coffee for $9 and the shipping cost you pass on to your customers in $9, you just doubled the price of your product. And nobody wants to pay double for their coffee when they can just run down to the corner store and pick a bag off the shelf.

True, the coffee they buy may not be as good as yours. But even so.

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Every action required on your coffee business website reduces conversion rates.

Published on November 13, 2013 by

Abandoned ecommerce shopping cartOne of the mistakes many people in ecommerce make is to fail to pay attention to the number of clicks and pages between their homepage and that final purchase confirmation page.

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling coffee beans, coffee grinders, coffee makers or, for that matter, books or sneakers.

Every step between arriving at your site and completing a purchase reduces conversion rates.

Let’s look at those steps, and how we can reduce their number…

The process a visitor goes through when wanting to buy something on your site is divided into two phases.

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Finding the right words for your coffee ecommerce site.

Published on October 15, 2013 by

coffee website copywritingWho writes websites?

Who are these people who sit down and write homepages, category pages, sales pages, blog posts and all the other written content on a typical coffee site?

In the case of small companies it might be the founder of the company who does most of the writing. Or one of his or her employees.

If nobody feels particularly comfortable doing all that writing, maybe a freelancer is brought in to do the heavy lifting. With larger companies, there may be a writer or two employed in-house. Or they may get their ad agency to handle it all.

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3 Reasons why coffee companies think their marketing is top notch. When it isn’t.

Published on October 8, 2013 by

Coffee marketing the same...It’s all too easy to look at your marketing plan and activities, take a peek at your website and printed materials, track your results…and then conclude that all is well with your marketing.

In fact, it might not take much to persuade you that everything is hunky-dory, and nothing needs to be changed or improved.

This is a problem, because as soon as you sit back and decide that everything is going just fine, you are no longer motivated to test new approaches and see if you can leverage those changes to do even better.

Let’s look at 3 of the influences that might lull you into achieving less than you could.

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Help restaurants serve better coffee, and boost your own brand.

Published on September 30, 2013 by

Poor quality cafe latteSeveral times over the last few weeks I have enjoyed really nice meals at some excellent restaurants.

Great care was taken with the food and its presentation.

The service was great.

But in every case the coffee I ordered at the end of the meal was a crashing disappointment. In fact, I am writing this within a couple of hours of enjoying a wonderful meal culminating in a Cafe Latte that tasted like it was made with instant coffee and warm milk.

That’s really bad news for the restaurant, because the coffee comes at the end, and creates one’s final impression of the overall meal and experience.

Why was the coffee so bad? I don’t think it was about the coffee they used, or the quality of their equipment. In today’s case I think it was simply because the person using the equipment didn’t know what he was doing.

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Coffee pod marketing: A missed opportunity.

Published on September 12, 2013 by

coffee pod marketingCoffee pods are distinct from K-Cups, capsules, discs and other single-serve units that include plastics and foil in their manufacture.

A coffee pod is simply a plump, round puck of ground coffee contained in a paper filter.

Using a coffee pod in a pod brewer, or a multi-head brewer that can accommodate pods, offers all the same advantages of any other single serve system.

No mess. No fuss. One-button coffee. The coffee of your choice on demand.

However, coffee pods don’t suffer the significant downside of other single-serve packing. In a nutshell, coffee pods don’t include plastic or foil.

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Create a movement that supports your coffee brand.

Published on 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.

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Let your coffee brand off the leash from time to time.

Published on August 14, 2013 by
breaking bad beer and coffee

Image credit:: Dwros89 on deviantart.com

We all like to protect our brands. Actually, we often obsess over them. Our brands are key assets that need to be looked after.

The trouble is, sometimes we protect them so much they simply end up being static and, dare I say it, boring.

We create style guides and strategy documents that build walls around how our brands can be presented. And, of course, we don’t build these walls simply around the presentation of our logo and coffee bag labels. We also build them around anything and everything we do, from our activities on social media to the scripting of videos or media interviews. We want to make sure nobody says anything that is “off brand”.

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