Branding for the Future

Over the past 20+ years I have had the opportunity to speak to countless numbers of coffee professionals at conventions and seminars around the globe. Marketing is a hot topic, but Branding is rarely if ever discussed.

Regardless of the industry or the size of the company, Branding is one of the most important aspects of a successful business.

There comes a time in every business when it is essential to consider re-branding.  Re-branding is a scary proposition for established businesses…will people accept a new name, logo, or buying proposition?

This is the question that one well-known roaster/retailer faced when he decided to change his company’s name and image from Caffé Pronto to Ceremony Coffee.  I asked Vincent Iatesta why and how he made the change.

Many of you will relate to this story. After more than 10 years in business, Vincent and his team wanted a brand that was better aligned with the company’s products, quality and service offering.  He believed the name Caffé Pronto sounded like a QSR establishment and was a hindrance in building the wholesale business rather than a brand that target customers engaged with.  They were already working hard with customers, sourcing amazing coffees and roasting light to highlight the terroir, but the Caffé Pronto concept didn’t really capture or convey any of this.

They took a hard look at their business and through a year-long internal rebranding initiative, arrived at the Ceremony concept, and “we haven’t looked back”.  Changing the name of the company was a start, but it also required new packaging, website and everything else related to the identity.  They also fine-tuned other aspects of their business model.
•    A significant focus on seasonally fresh single origin coffees replaced a heavy hand on blends
•    Remaining blends were renamed to align with the new brand
•    Both wholesale and retail menus were simplified and more coffee-centric
•    Customer service capacity was improved in admin, tech support and training
The entire focus of the company changed from mainstream coffee offerings to celebrating the origin, production, and services of coffee.

Did it work?  The retail and wholesale growth of Ceremony is amazing.  They continue to re-evaluate the business with the same thoughtfulness they used when they did their original re-branding.  For more information about Ceremony coffee visit

Rebranding is not just for roasters and retailers.  Producers are faced with the same challenge of ensuring their brand is aligned with their mission, values, capabilities, and customer’s needs.

This year one of Brazil’s most innovative coffee producers took a long hard look at their brand proposition.  After a trip to Europe in early summer, the Daterra marketing team lead by Gabriel Moreira decided to accept the challenge they received from existing and potential customers…
“We don’t want to purchase the same coffee that other roasters in our community are purchasing. We want something special and exclusive from all of coffee supplies”.

Daterra had built a reputation of being a big farm with a strong focus on automation and quality.  The problem was, as the Daterra brand became more recognized and widely used, some roasters began to think of the company as too big and not able to meet their business focus. What made the Daterra brand strong now appeared to be a barrier to success.

For years, the Daterra production and marketing team had been talking about the hidden jewels or masterpieces on the farm.  Last year they decided to conduct an auction to provide better recognition of the Daterra brand as a niche coffee producer.  Even after the success of the auction, roasters were still not clear about the capabilities of the farm.

Thus, the Daterra rebranding project was born.  The task was straightforward but the work was anything but simple.  How do you re-brand a large 20-year old farm to meet the needs of the current market?

The marketing, production and quality teams had no option but to work with the reality of the farm.  The following were a few key realities, which proved to be both plusses and minuses for the team.
•    17,000 acres, with about 40% planted in coffee
•    15,000,000 trees
•    Average annual production of 10 million pounds of green coffee
•    GPS farm management
•    Advanced sorting equipment
•    Focus on experimentation and innovation…dedicated scientist on staff
•    100% Traceability…ability to sort all coffee production by location on the farm, varietal, processing method and cup profile
•    Full quality range of products

The team recommended the Three Farm branding concept as an effective tool for roasters to help determine what level coffee they need for different uses.

Brands of Daterra    Quality     Attributes
Classics    82-85    RA Certification – Large Quantities marketed by menu name.  Used for blending and single origin brewing.
Collections    85-88    RA Certification – Registered by lot and menu name.  Recommend for single origin brewing.
Masterpieces    89 –    RA Certification – Very small lots, exceptional quality, fully traceable, rarely reproducible

To learm more about Daterra Coffee contact them at

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