Author Archives: Nick Usborne

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

September 30, 2013 by Leave a comment

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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Published in Coffee marketing

Coffee pod marketing: A missed opportunity.

September 12, 2013 by Leave a comment

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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Published in Coffee marketing

Create a movement that supports your coffee brand.

August 29, 2013 by Leave a comment

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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Published in Coffee marketing

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

August 14, 2013 by Leave a comment
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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Published in Coffee marketing

5 Questions I wish coffee marketers would ask me.

August 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

old coffee shopSometimes I daydream.

Inspired by the print you see here, portraying a coffee shop back in 1674, I began daydreaming about sitting at a table and answering questions from some managers and founders of online coffee stores.

I know, a slightly weird daydream. But I think it speaks to my passion for sharing what I know about business online with the online coffee marketing community.

Here are the questions, and my answers.

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Why you should give your customers a free press pot.

July 30, 2013 by Leave a comment

promotional press potAs I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the challenges faced by quality roasters is that most people brew their coffee in crappy coffee machines.

In other words, most of the drip brewers out there simply aren’t capable of brewing good coffee.

Some get the water temperature wrong. Others get the immersion time wrong. And some do a poor job of spraying the hot water evenly across the basket. Whatever the cause or causes of their failings, these brewers will make your specialty coffee taste only slightly better than Maxwell House.

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Published in Coffee marketing

To stand out from the crowd, try marketing your coffee by lifestyle.

July 24, 2013 by Leave a comment

coffee lifestyleAs marketers of coffee, we all work from the same disadvantage.

Coffee is a commodity. Coffee beans are green, and then they are brown, in various shades.

Your brown beans look exactly the same as your competitors’ brown beans.

That’s a tough starting point from which to build a marketing plan. It’s the equivalent of every car manufacturer having to create identical vehicles, and paint all of them brown. Why would you choose one brand of car over another if they looked exactly the same?

“Ahh”, you might say. “Our beans might look the same, but they’re not.”

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Published in Coffee marketing

After your customers have tried your coffees once, how do you keep them coming back for more?

July 15, 2013 by Leave a comment

re-order coffeeLet’s say you are a coffee roaster selling direct to the public online. Or an online retailer selling direct, and sourcing quality coffees from top roasters.

Perhaps you see yourself as being part of the “third wave”, sourcing your green beans carefully, building direct relationships with the farmers, and caring deeply about the processing and roasting processes.

In other words, you are delivering premium coffees to your customers online.

A customer buys one of your coffees from your website. He or she tries it. But does she come back for more?

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Published in Coffee marketing

Why the specialty coffee industry needs its own Gary Vaynerchuk.

July 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

Gary Vaynerchuk with wine. Coffee next?If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, here’s a quick description for you.

He is the son of a liquor store owner, and worked with his dad in the store. He’s also a self-confessed serial entrepreneur.

While working with his father he came up with an idea he thought might increase the store’s sales. (It did. The family business went from revenues of $3 million to $45 million.)

What did he do? He launched a website in 2006 called Winelibrarytv.com. Essentially it was a daily video blog about wine.

Every day he introduced and talked about a different wine. Sometimes on his own and sometimes with a guest. And every day he greeted his viewers with a unique voice and attitude.

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Published in Coffee marketing

Marketing your coffee is a lot easier when you feel you are on a mission.

July 1, 2013 by Leave a comment
marketing coffee when on a mission

Photo courtesy of erenemre on Flikr

Do you love marketing?

Do you get up in the morning all excited about marketing your coffees?

Probably not. A lot of the coffee roasters and retailers I know are far more interested in their coffees. They love to create great coffee.

But if you want your business to succeed, marketing is an essential part of the mix.

And it’s not like you can just “do it” once and be done. Yes, it’s nice to create a fabulous label for your coffee bags. Yes, it’s great to tell some stories about the origins of your coffees, and maybe throw in a video or two of the roasting process.

Then of course you have to create a website, and spend a lot of time on social media. If you don’t have the time or skills to do that, you have to hire people who can do it all for you.

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Published in Uncategorized