For those playing along with the Free Idea Day home game, here is a brief backgrounder that I used to formulate my thoughts. The information comes from @CA_Tea.
Yes, we are different. In the following ways:
- We have patent pending technology for brewing any loose leaf tea or herbal/tisane in one minute which gives as good or better a result than traditional steeping. (We were just written up including photo of machine in May 2009 Fresh Cup industry magazine/editorial & page 20 onward)
- This allows us to put loose leaf tea into almost any venue, including drive-throughs, feasibly.
- We are a tea AND coffee brewery, about 50/50 in sales, which puts our tea sales way above the % Starbucks or Coffee Bean, etc., do in tea. Why? Because of #1 above!
- We brew everything by the cup..we never batch coffee or tea (no airpots, no 'iced tea' sitting getting nasty and bitter in the refrig until you order). That also gives us 0, yes 0 waste of either. It's to you in 1 minute.
- If you Google coffee and tea Temecula, or tea and coffee Temecula, you will find that we dominate the category pages and you can find reviews, etc. there. We are putting up an etsy website this week, because we don't want a permanent site up until our branding is where we want the world to see it.
I am also a contributor for T Ching (7th ranked tea blog on the Web/had a story on it yesterday www.tching.com <http://www.tching.com> on Teapod) and our Twitter is CA_tea. You can find my profile under Contributor's section.
The word(s) for our brand (like Branson's 'fun' for Virgin) is 'positive energy'. There is no box as far as we're concerned.
We have already received a licensing/partnership proposal from a large tea/coffee wholesaler on our patent pending process but our attorney/LLC partner believes we need to keep it proprietary to us until we build the brand and retail concept.
Why tea vs coffee? I think there are multiple answers to that one but probably the biggest is the healthy image of tea with all the studies coming out in the last 5 or so years on its' health benefits. However, I also see young kids who love tea, iced, chai latte, etc. Then the 20-somethings who are striking out (hopefully) on their own and looking at options that are new and fresh (after all, tea is only thousands of years old as a beverage)..they've done coffee to 'death' and are interested in tea but also yerba mate, Rooibos, matcha (pulverized tea leaves, so you consume the entire leaf).
The one minute thing is huge (people will watch it and ask 'what is it'..sorry, patent pending/secret..) as they are always in a hurry, and the taste just knocks them out from brewing with this process. However, we also have a beautiful store where people 'feel' peaceful, happy. We have the sound of water, a coffeehouse familiar feeling but lighter/happier, nice side patio space with flowers, vine, pots, etc.
Ok, background over. And now… drum roll please, here is our first Free Idea Day winner.
So here is where I’d start.
First, the differentiation point of 1-minute brewing. I agree with your lawyer (did I just say that out loud??) that you need to hold on tightly to that differentiator. It gives you a basis for a brand and it’s not something easily replicable.
Second, I’d consider different brand words. 'Positive Energy' is very SoCal, surfer, hippie and while it may play well today you need it to play well tomorrow when you’re selling in places like West Texas where they aren’t so accepting of that kind of thought. It has also been done to death I think and doesn’t really give me, the consumer, a simple benefit that I want or need even if I haven’t voiced it.
Instead – I think your brand words need to focus around thoughts like respite, break, center or centered. I’ll get to why in a minute.
Third, use your product to solve a problem I have. I’m too damn busy. I’m sitting at 30,000 feet writing a blog post when I should be reading or maybe chatting up the nice man to my right. But I’m blogging because I’m behind. It feels like I’m always behind. I live in a behind world. And guess what, I’m not alone.
So, fourth, combine your brand with your benefit – one-minute brewing.
One minute isn’t a lot of time. It’s really not enough time to tweet, or read an email, or send a text – even though folks try. But it is the perfect amount of time to do nothing and not feel guilty for doing nothing. Heck, I just sat back for one minute, stirred a little cream into my coffee (sorry but it is a very early flight) and allowed myself to gaze out of the window. And guess what? It felt nice. I gave myself a minute. In fact, I think it felt so good (given the crazy morning I had) that I think I’m going to do it again as soon as I finish this post – a little reward to myself.
So what I’m saying here is that I think your brand is about giving people a minute. Specifically the one-minute it takes to brew your tea.
Everything you do in retail, in advertising, in social media, in experience and ambiance should be about maximizing the power of that one minute. Make it the best damn minute of my day. A reward to myself. Think about what I’m looking at, listening to, smelling, even where I’m standing or sitting. Is there anything there that would catch my attention or invite me to read it or pick it up? If so, get rid of it. Make that one minute about me. About introspection. About NOT having to actively process anything. Give me permission or just ‘force’ me to stand still for one minute. Have a no cell phone rule at the counter. Have a sign that asks customers to either turn the phone off or place it on vibrate so that others can enjoy their one minute – hell create a tradition of turning off your cell when you enter the store. How cool would that be… you create a transitory moment for me where I actively unplug for a minute from the rest of the world. That would be cool to see. To watch every customer that enters your store actually turn their phone off or to vibrate as they walk through the door… very tribal.
Then, as you expand out of retail, make your product about giving me a chance to have a second, or third or hell, as many one minute moments as I want. Because there is something special about watching a tea bag steep in a hot cup of water. There is a subliminal change as I watch the water turn to tea… heck the last guy that could do something that incredible got a pretty large following…of course he did change water to wine which has a larger following maybe than tea but I digress.
Become the one-minute brand. The brand that reminds all of us to sit back and take just a minute to reinvest in ourselves. Even if that reinvestment doesn’t include your tea, even if it is just a minute spent breathing and starring into space or listening to a tune or just paying complete and total attention to my child or another person who is special in my life.
That minute can be magical and we all ought to want that minute. Let your brand carry that message and make me want that moment. Do it right and hopefully your customers will thank you with their patronage and for giving them a one-minute experience worthy of trying to replicate.
Ok folks, so that is the best I can do on limited information, an early morning flight and a single cup of coffee. So now it is your turn. You’re smarter than me anyways so let’s have it. What have I missed? What did I get wrong? What did I get right and how would you carry that beyond my meager thoughts?
Oh yes, and tell a friend about this and invite them to come spend one minute with this marketing challenge and to give us their two cents. It’s that Tweet It link just down below.