The power of pretty in business

We spent a few days up at a ski chalet last week.
Needing a break from the not-so-awesome wind gusts I went into town, passed a Starbucks, and decided to grab a coffee. Across the road was a beautiful green wood building with a large wrap around porch, warm redwood accents, and a tooled sign that read “Ashanti Coffee”.

I skipped Starbucks and went to Ashanti instead.
Do I always skip the tried, tested and true to test the waters of something different?
No way. Not when it comes to coffee.

What made the difference that day?

Pretty design.

If the building facade, logo and sign looked like they paid the neighbour’s teenage son to construct them, then I would have made a very different purchasing decision.
We are very superficial when it comes to taking a risk and testing a new brand.

Especially when the choice is between something new vs. something reliable that I know I like.

Here’s Ashanti’s secret to stealing sales from the big box guy that’s known better, who’s been in business longer, and is already doing an amazing job:

Look just as good, yet be intriguing. 

The warm woods and simple yet tasteful high-end sign screamed high-end coffee. It screamed jazz-club poetry and fair trade chai latte. And you know what? Their branding message was spot on.

I had a great chat with the owner who was on-site happily greeting customers from behind the counter. He was a friendly micro-roaster who grew his own beans in Zimbabwe. There was even a guy in the back corner strumming on a guitar. (Honest.)
His exterior design was in perfect harmony with his product, so I wasn’t disappointed when I walked into his shop. The owner hit a home run with the look-and-feel of his product.

The brutally honest takeaway: If your materials look unprofessional, you will have a really hard time convincing people to trust you.

About Chris Donnelly

Chris Donnelly is a brand strategist and a launch specialist. She works with entrepreneurs to flesh out their values, their launch plans and that special unspoken secret ingredient that makes them unique in the marketplace.


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