I love coffee. I’ve loved coffee ever since I was a kid. I started drinking coffee when I was in grade school and after all these years – I still love coffee. In fact, I’m a coffee fanatic! My experience with branding dates back almost as far and I’ve come to learn that they have more than a few things in common.
How Coffee Sets the Stage
I’ve had a lot of great experiences with coffee; drinking coffee with my family after meals; planning the latest project at work over a rich Italian Roast; meeting with Christian leaders in Brazil over a cafÃ© com leite; enjoying a cappuccino with a colleague in Beverly Hills; or sipping Turkish coffee with friends in Israel.
I’ve tasted some truly great coffee … and I’ve tasted some bad coffee. Believe me, I know the difference. That’s because for 50 years I have had a broad base of experience with coffee. I love coffee both because I enjoy the flavor and because my experiences around a coffee cup have consistently been enjoyable and often memorable.
Your Brand’s Flavor
Your organization’s brand is like a cup of coffee. Every time someone interacts with your organization another drop is placed in the cup. If each experience is the same, the flavor will be coffee — coffee — coffee. With each impression the brand grows stronger and richer. Over time, people will learn the flavor of your organization and form a clear opinion of your value. When the flavor is consistent, people know what to expect and many will come to love your brand.
The Diluted Brand
If your brand becomes diluted with other flavors the experience begins to change. If you put orange juice or a soft drink into a cup of coffee, it dramatically changes the flavor. If people experience a mixture of flavors from your organization they will not know what to expect and soon withdraw from the experience.
Oftentimes, through mixed messaging an organization’s brand becomes confused and cloudy, instead of clear and crisp. An organization must be intentional about maintaining a consistent brand across all of its Branding Points.
Brewing a Distinctive Brand
Branding Points are places where your organization touches people. Each time your organization interacts with people a brand experience is created. Branding Points begin with things like your logo and graphics, but include much more… Branding Points include the way you answer the telephone; the look of your facility; and the way that people feel when they come to your offices. It has to do with the way you communicate, the fonts you use, the letters you write, the content of your website… and more!
These things all contribute to the overall Brand Essence of your organization. They determine the nature of the donor, viewer, and listener experience. If the flavor is consistent, the brand experience will be consistent. Just like a great cup of coffee, your brand will be something that they continue to come back to over and over again.
In fact, I think I’m going to get a cup of coffee right now.