Coffee Shop Branding: Beginners Guide

Coffee was introduced to America in the mid-17th century, and by the 18th century it was one of the most popular, and profitable, products in the world. The first Starbucks Coffee, a pioneer of coffee shop branding, was opened in 1971 – fast forward to today, and there are over 30,000 stores across 80 countries around the world. And that’s just one coffee shop. In America alone, statistics inform us that there are over 150 million daily coffee drinkers, with the average consumption being 2.1 cups of coffee per day. That’s a lot of coffee.

Despite it’s long-time popularity though, the success of coffee is no longer just because of it’s taste.

Three words for you: Coffee. Shop. Branding. 

There are four important things to keep in mind when creating the perfect coffee shop brand. The four branding pillars:  brand identity/purpose, experience, community, and delivery. Creating a brand isn’t just about making a cool looking logo – it’s way more complex than that. Your brand matters just as much as your coffee – if you’re only focused on creating the best logo, for instance, you’ll fall short.

Your brand should integrate all four pillars – your identity/purpose as a business, the experience you want to share with people, the community you build, and the way you deliver it to your customers. Each pillar is important on its own, but as a whole they will build a brand that customers can’t help but want to be a part of.

Brand Identity:

Let’s talk about Starbucks again.

As far as I’m concerned, Starbucks is coffee royalty…seated on the throne of the coffee kingdom as the reigning coffee shop of the world. A true champion of coffee shop branding. But don’t get me wrong – I don’t actually think that they have the best coffee ever. What I do think is that they are the best coffee brand ever. I’ll tell you why.

I did some extensive research on Starbucks. I wanted to know their origin story, how and why they became so popular, the number of stores they have, statistics on how much coffee they sell each year, etc. What I found is actually quite intriguing, and says a lot about their brand’s identity.  

Moby Dick has a card game! Starbucks created a logo that links directly to their goal as a company – to help people discover their coffee! And although the logo has evolved since 1971, it still is the one thing that everyone associates with Starbucks Coffee.