Rebranding Coffee: How and Why Some of the World’s Best-Known Retailers Make the Jump

Following the pandemic, the coffee market is now more competitive than ever. Branding and positioning their products properly have become more important to retailers in all industries and building rapport with customers is nowadays absolutely vital to those seeking to succeed.

For years, various food and drink companies have been reshaping their logos, designs and overall aesthetic, all with the goal to stay relevant and relatable.

Below are some examples of coffee companies that set out to tell a new story to their customers and ultimately benefited from it. 

Starbucks Simplifies Its Logo

Asked about the thought process behind one of the world’s most famous trademarks, the designer of the Starbucks mermaid, Terry Heckler, told The Seattle Times, “It’s a metaphor for the allure of caffeine, the sirens who drew sailors into the rocks.”

This siren has been adjusted over the years following its creation in 1971. The brown-colored, bare-chested ensemble, with the rounded text of “Starbucks”, “Coffee”, “Tea” and “Spices”, differed quite radically from today’s design.

The logo we’re so used to seeing now was devised in 2011 by Lippincott. In what might seem like a strange move, the words “Starbucks” and “coffee” were dropped from the latest version.

It all came down to the company’s desire to reshape the visual representation of Starbucks, creating a cozy image of a homely brand rather than a large business.

Striking Gold with Nescafe

Four years ago, the international coffee brand Nescafe decided to rebrand their specialty Gold Range.

The aim of the new marketing campaign, titled Those Few People, was to employ human examples to connect to customers on a deeper level and amplify the brand’s presence in the market.

The project required a level of self-awareness within the corporate team. Having analyzed how the company was being perceived, the brand could set clear goals as to how it would like to be perceived.

Using emotion and human connection, Nescafe ultimately succeeded in raising the profile of their Gold Range with almost no direct references to the product’s taste, smell or look.

Ease and Relatability: Coffee Friend and Its Use of Color

Coffee Friend, an omnichannel coffee retailer operating in multiple European markets, recently decided to redesign its single-origin coffee packaging.

In 2019, the sales of the retailer’s conventional coffees and blends grew by 42%. When it came to the sales of its single-origin range, however, a decrease of 5% was observed.

The team quickly recognized that the packaging of the product wasn’t helpful: it failed to provide consumers with a quick way to differentiate between blends.

With the help of designer Kęstutis Nenartavičius, Coffee Friend set out on a rebrand, aiming for “maximum simplicity”.

This resulted in black, flat-bottomed bags, with each coffee variety given its own color and a unique pattern.

Customers could now easily pick up their favorite roast, with no need to remember its name.

As a result, the sales of the transformed coffee range grew by as much as 179% throughout 2020.

Pandemic Causes AMT to Rebrand Internally

AMT, a coffee shop based in London, was recently bought out by the franchise Change Please.

Established in 1993 and aimed at people on the move, AMT is a well-known UK coffee brand, with stores located in train stations, airports and hospitals.

This year though, as its customer base was forced to stay at home, the brand’s profits dropped, which caused Change Please to swoop in and take on most of the company’s debt.

Since the acquisition, the branding of AMT has been adjusted to the unique needs of Change Please.

All profits of AMT are now donated to the franchise’s community interest company. The firm uses this money to help people facing homelessness by providing barista training, employment, and support.

Despite the company having been rebranded more by force than by choice, the profits of AMT will likely rise in 2022 thanks to commuters returning to London.

Change Please has decided on the brand’s ethical image — it remains to be seen what external transformations will take place in the future.

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