Playing a role in building up a brand is a humbling experience that fuels a marketing team. In our business, we work with large corporations and new businesses alike. Often enough, those fresh new businesses don’t stay little for long, but it doesn’t happen on its own. Structuring your business model visually in a way that’s digestible for your audience is key.

Studies show that it only takes 3 seconds for someone to determine whether or not they want to do business with you.

Alright alright, someone said something about coffee, right? Let’s take a stroll through some important branding lessons from a handful of coffee shops in greater Grand Rapids who are doing it right.


1. Your brand is the first thing people see: Wildroast Coffee Co.


Remember the three second rule? We’re not talking about dirty food on the floor, but we are talking about split second decisions. When a potential customer is deciding whether or not to engage with your brand, an attractive logo and supporting brand is essential to drawing them in. We love Wildroast’s Coffee Co.’s brand execution, their logo has us thinking of pour over coffee, keying us in that they are up on trends and excited to take a look at their offerings. We can feel a sense of pride reflected in the presentation of their well curated coffee shop and investment in quality photography seen on their website and social media. With this amount of care to brand presentation, there’s no doubt that care gets carried over into each cup of coffee they brew.


2. Consistency builds a brand: Madcap Coffee Company


Once you have a logo and brand guidelines in place, it gets much easier to stay consistent so that everything your customers see looks professional and intentional. Madcap Coffee Company has clearly been doing exactly that since 2008. Madcap boasts an elevated, minimalistic style that perfectly correlates with their no BS menu. Although Madcap’s brand is very clean and simplified, every detail manages to feel well thought out and cohesive such as the fabric labels on their matte black coffee bags and thoughtful color palettes for each roast. By keeping their brand and offerings straight forward, you feel the mastery that each drink holds.



3. Brand recognition: Rowster Coffee


Brand recognition follows brand consistency, this is when people start to notice and remember your brand. When faced with a plethora of options, this could be the difference between being overlooked and being selected simply due to familiarity, we are creatures of habit after all. Rowster Coffee is widely sold across Grand Rapids, and is easily recognizable due to their distinguishable logo always used in high contrast within a black, white, and metallic palette. From their to-go cups and bagged coffee to their canned cold brew, it’s easy to spot those Rowster Coffee products we all love.





4. Sets you apart: Outside Coffee


Don’t overlook this one, there is a real balancing act between appealing to your industry and evoking personality with genuineness. When kicking off a new branding project, many of our clients lean towards playing things safe, if their top competitors are using blue, more often than not, our clients feel a need to fit in and follow suit. However, small branding risks can result in huge rewards, and isn’t it fun to play outside of the rules sometimes? We couldn’t ask for a better example than Outside Coffee. We LOVE all the coffee brands mentioned so far, but isn’t it refreshing to step outside of black and white for a minute (and we mean step OUTSIDE quite literally). If you are going to distinguish your brand from the rest, you’d better have the business model to back that up when excited customers come knocking. Not only is Outside Coffee’s brand totally different, but their entire business model is as well. Ordering from a permanently positioned camper year round in a twinkle light ambiance is something that Outside Coffee has become so recognized for that its drawn tourists into the city. With hammocks in the summer and geodomes in the winter, you’d almost forget to question the coffee, but if you haven’t yet been, we can vouch for it’s incredible taste!




5. Authenticity: The Sparrows Coffee, Tea & Newsstand


We’ve talked a lot about how to get people in the door and have them remember you, but the real goal of any brand is to create loyal customers who bring in business over and over again. Today more than ever, consumers are craving authenticity. Faced with overwhelming amounts of choices, consumers are looking for businesses they can feel good about supporting. Now, based off of this complete list, any one of these reputable GR coffee shops deserves your business, but we decided to use Sparrows Coffee as an excellent example of an authentic business willing to be vulnerable with their customers. Sparrows Coffee has incorporated their values strongly into their brand across social media, their website, and shop. Sparrows desire to spread kindness and inclusivity feels like they are reaching out to give you a big comforting hug. Their emphasis on sourcing fair-trade and local products as well as their environmental awareness instills a trust that has us feeling a little less guilty about that extra spend on a fancy latte for the day.


Is your business ready to strategically define their brand? If you’re looking to align your goals with your brand identity, contact us, we’d love to help.