If you’re the manager or owner of a café, you’re probably aware that one of the most important ways you can obtain a sustainable competitive advantage over your competition is by developing and nurturing your brand. If your customers identify with the atmosphere that you’ve created then they will become repeat customers. On a similar note, if your brand is conveyed well to newcomers and passers-by then you will get increased footfall if they like the values you represent. If you want to improve your brand and reap these benefits, there’s no cut-out-and-keep system – but some food for thought is always valuable.
Make it Yours
Assuming you know the basics about branding, you should already have a brand persona that is consistent throughout your business and resonates with every interaction between clients and staff. What you may not know is that customers can discern pretty easily if your brand is something that you don’t believe in. The best way to improve your brand is to make it amplify your personal values, beliefs, and enthusiasm about running your café. If you try to distill your values into a brand, you won’t have to try hard to implement them. It’ll be completely natural. A good brand doesn’t do much of the hard work itself; it works in tandem with the company and the people involved – more like a blanket than a tool.
You should also make sure that everything in the café is thought through by you to keep your brand consistent. This includes the lighting and even the food offerings. For example, if you wanted to have a boutique retro brand you could serve ice cream floats. Just make sure your commercial freezer fits in with the retro feel – you may need to source this from a company with a wide variety of products so you can find the ideal one. Somebody like Fridge Freezer Direct has huge variety available that would be perfect for when you want to keep your brand consistent.
In the 1970s marketing was changed forever with Jack Trout’s concept of positioning. If you haven’t read his book – read it. It details how a brand doesn’t fight just for attention – that’s not how the human brain works. A brand fights for a certain position in the viewer’s mind. For example, the position for a soft drink is typically held by Coca Cola or Pepsi. You need to occupy a position, no matter how niche. You could occupy the position of the most ethical coffee-shop in your neighborhood, or the position of the shop with the best pastries, or best variety of coffee and tea. That way, you’ll be known as the café for your chosen positioning – locals will think of you when they think of where to get ethical coffee, etc.
Let Everybody Know your Story
Your café has a story; that’s inevitable. Even in the unlikely event that you faced no challenges setting it up, you must have gone through a journey deciding to embark on your café venture. Let your customers know your story and make it an integral component of your brand. Storybranding outlines the importance of establishing a story and making the customer the protagonist. You are helping your customers achieve something in their life, and it’s important to frame your brand in that respect. How do the products and values you offer help your customer achieve a goal in their life? A café is a welcoming, nurturing environment so you have a lot of opportunities here – just make sure you convey it properly. Improving your brand is not a modular system; it requires maintenance. You need to live your brand, not just implement it. Once you start doing that, your customers will love it with you when they visit your café, and if they like your values they’ll keep.
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