A Tip a Month to Avoid Expensive Mistakes – before Signing a Lease.
In November, we provided you the top 10 Tips to Avoid Expensive Mistakes Before Signing a Lease. Each month will focus on each tip in detail. For this month, Tip 1 – What is a Brand: What is your Story? Why is it critical to have a Brand? Why is your Brand inclusive of your customer, your menu, and your community? When launching a new café or re-launching an existing café, a strong Brand Story will connect you with your customer, and connect your customer with your Brand.
Think of Brand as a story you are telling about your unique elements, your unique purpose, and your unique products and services. Think of this as less fact based and more anecdotal or story like. In order to create your marketing plan, logo mark, space location, and have longevity for your café, your Brand is what builds that lasting relationship with your customer – and keeps them coming back. Also, having a Brand “language” provides a way to revise and update your brand every 5-7 years in order to stay innovative and ahead of the market trends to keep your Brand unique and compelling. The language is an itemized group of brand elements carefully created and grouped together to make a coherent and compelling brand. For instance, your brand language might include your; brand story, menu concept, philosophy, sustainability values, logo mark and usage, messaging, unique interior and architectural elements, and locational requirements.
When deciding what your story is, think about the menu of products and services that you are passionate about and would like to offer to your customer. Research that product market extensively by visiting similar cafes, researching trends, notes their unique experience qualities, and creating a Performa. For example, if you are looking to create and serve the best quality espresso with local bakery items, with high quality customer service, research which market and demographic will yield the highest ROI for that product and service. You may be surprised to find out from your research that your product and service may not yield the ROI in the markets you think they will. Be open to looking at new markets or shift your product and service type.
Some start-up café owners look for a location first. And some café owners create their unique brand based on a passion for a product and service. Ideally, you will create your brand first – as that passion will give your cafe longevity and that constant locational differences and customer preferences do exist. The West Coast may have different preferences from the East Coast and the Mid-West. It is a mistake to design a café to your own preferences and tastes and not consider the majority of the consumers in your regional area. Research into your region will provide insight into those consumer preferences for your product and service.
Sustainability, community relationships, and overall “purpose” for starting your café, will be evident in the products you carry, your customer service and operations, and overall experience. Integrate your beliefs and values in these areas into your Brand Story. These are areas that more and more companies are seeing a direct relationship with bottom line.
When we work with our clients to create a Brand, we ask many questions about menu, products, services, operations, customer, demographic, flow and function, equipment, and overall “vibe” of the experience. The experience is both virtual (website, digital, and word of mouth) and physical (the actual café design and space layout). Knowing your Brand Story and language will provide a launching point to create the entire experience.
You can first brainstorm your own Brand, before gathering your group of experts. This way, your team will have a good sense of what is important to you and what drives you to starting your own café. Write down your unique qualities in “story” format. If your passion is to bring two regions of coffee together into own brand, share the stories of these regions, and provide a comfortable community based café – that can be narrated by you. To accompany your words, visuals or a picture (paints a thousand words) can also be powerful with your story. Go through magazines, take photos of elements of any kind (lighting, colors, POS, furniture, trees, industrial plants, people, communities, etc.) that resonate with you and embody the Brand experience. We call this the “Artifacts Board.” Together, the narrated Brand Story and the Artifacts Board will paint the entire Experience. Our 10 Tips Jumpstart Café pocket books allow you to write your thoughts in one complete booklet and it also prompts questions to consider (http://www.amazon.com/Cafe-Jump-Start-Signing-Jumpstart/dp/B0085Q2T6Y Pinterest is an online image site that allows you to collage your photos and other images in one area (http://pinterest.com/).
Having the right team of experts at the beginning – during the Brand Creation Phase – can make all the difference in creating a successful café. From Marketing to Space Design to Site Selection, all of these mindsets bring value to your vision from the very beginning.
Your Brand is the foundation for your café’s success and longevity. Our passion and vision, along with the right team of experts at the beginning – during the Brand Creation Phase – can make all the difference in creating a unique and successful café. Experts in Marketing, Space Design, Site Selection, and Feasibility – all of these mindsets bring value to your vision from the very beginning.
Stay tuned every month for valuable tips.
Melanie Corey-Ferrini, Experience Architect with Dynamikspace offers services from consulting to full service café creation. www.dynamikspace.com