The Tale of Two Coffee Shops

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There are two coffee shops in two small, rural Ontario towns that I love visiting. They’re about 15 minutes apart from each other and couldn’t be more different in how they sell their product. It’s a perfect tale of what constitutes good marketing.

The one coffee shop has arguably the best coffee I’ve tasted. Better than the other coffee shop and better than the big name brands like Tim Hortons and Starbucks…. hands down. But their marketing is soft. They don’t have a strong brand - the cups aren’t branded, the shop doesn’t have a consistent look/feel that exudes their brand in an inviting way that makes you want to stay.

Meanwhile, the other coffee shop has decent coffee, not the greatest coffee, but the differentiating factor is that their marketing is standout. They have their cups branded with their coffee shop name, they have the right ambiance in the coffee shop that it makes you want to sit down and stay awhile (and drink a few more cups of coffee!), they have the right magazine available to read and the visible art on the walls (that include historic paintings of a prominent cow and bull!) is what makes it an Instagram worthy place to visit. You want to stay and you don’t know why.

Simply put, the difference between the two coffee shops doesn’t come down to their product quality.. it comes down to marketing.

Its hard to believe that we put more weight on the one coffee shop simply because of how good their marketing is when the whole idea of why we go to a coffee shop is to drink the coffee in the first place. I keep thinking to myself that if the coffee shop with the best coffee were to invest even $1000 on a new logo, some new outward facing marketing materials (including branded cups), hang some local art and a create an ambiance with a certain look/feel within their space that matches their brand, they’d be Instagram worthy too.

All in a days work, right?!

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