Entrepreneurs have vision. But all too often it exists in intangible form – unstated, undocumented, or both. It’s our job to help them articulate it and get it on paper so it can be worked against and, hopefully one day, fully realized.
Our brand strategy work really kicked into gear when we honed in on the team’s true and unwavering vision. It’s a bold one, invigoratingly so. Beyond coffee, they dream of a world where people can buy any agricultural products direct from the source — anytime, anywhere. And when this occurs, power is returned to the hands of both growers and customers.
This exciting vision was a critical starting point. And we knew it was on us to craft a brand and marketing strategy that would put Vega on the path to carrying out their dream. We immersed ourselves into the history of the coffee industry, past and present market trends, and the complexities of today’s global trade. It was our job to become as rooted in the industry as possible. So we scoured history books, industry white papers, and even archives of decades-old coffee advertisements. This primary and secondary research proved important for our framing Vega in the larger industry and crafting our ultimate recommendations.
Once we came up for air, we looked onto the current horizon – scoping out the landscape of coffee brands and consumer trends. We analyzed competitors, from mainstream specialty companies to other Fair Trade and roasted-at-origin organizations. The insights we gleaned yielded three key brand strategy insights.
First, Vega has the quality and service to appeal to a broad audience – not just those who care about ethical consumption. With hundreds of options available – even those claiming fair and ethical trade – it’s crucial for the Vega brand to tell the story of impact without fully leaning on it to cultivate lifelong customers. The product, service, pricing, and outward-facing brand needed to be as engaging and appealing as any competitor in the segment.
Second, Vega’s streamlined supply chain makes it a perfect candidate for adopting the direct-to-consumer model assumed by popular brands like Away, Dollar Shave Club, and Warby Parker. Vega enables customers to buy a strikingly high-quality coffee bean without the traditional markup. Even better: despite the sea of options, there’s not a single coffee company currently positioned as a D2C brand.
And lastly, there are plenty of brand tropes in the vast sea of coffee brands. From the exclusivity signaled by Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia to the earthy and emotionally evocative imagery of coffee farmers used by plenty of others – Vega had to channel its rule-breaking boldness into a personality that could stand out. Playful cartoons, whimsical illustrations, and standard “dirt-roughened hands picking red coffee beans” wouldn’t cut it.
Through our archetype work, we identified the Rebel as the perfect fit for Vega. Not an anarchist, destructive, angry rebel. But an iconoclast that’s not afraid to boldly break rules in order to revolutionize a system that’s inherently broken. It’s a personality that would certainly differentiate. But just as importantly, it would reflect the commitment and passion of the founders and team. Through this recommendation, we encouraged Vega to not shy away from their worldview. And to shift their marketing voice, tone, and imagery to follow suit.
With these key insights as our starting point, we then crafted a strategy to push this personality out into the world and minds of consumers. We mapped strategies against central objectives to:
Drive new B2C acquisitions: prove marketplace demand and accelerate its growth.
Build brand affinity and loyalty: increase the average lifetime value of customers.
Convert B2B leads: arm the sales team with tools needed to efficiently and effectively attract, engage, and close.
Set the stage for more investments: demonstrate measurable predictability, consistency, and scalability with KPIs.
We made technical recommendations for improving email conversion rates and outlined user experience updates to their ecomm platform. We analyzed the effectiveness of each of their marketing tools in driving visitors and sales. And we went deep into social feeds to analyze voice, tone, and engagement.
Beyond all this we crafted personality-aligned, multi-channel creative campaigns to engage customers with the brand in ways that would start to push an impact-focused coffee social enterprise into the mainstream. We channeled the Rebel archetype and their passion for social justice into campaigns that asked customers to “get woke up” and positioned Vega Coffee as “fuel for the resistance.” Some of the campaigns were education focused, bent on teaching people about the inequitable supply chain. Others used real-life social cause rebels to highlight Vega’s value props.