As a coffee roaster and someone deeply entrenched in the world of third wave coffee, even I can find it incredibly confusing to navigate the latest trends in our caffeine addictions. I’m not sure when we all started to lose our collective minds, but in my humble opinion, coffee has become way too complicated.
I believe this over complication comes from the desire to differentiate one coffee from another. Now, let me make this very clear, there is definitely good and bad coffee. I’m not arguing that. I’m more interested in discussing who can taste the difference.
In a BuzzFeed video self proclaimed coffee experts tried to guess the price of unmarked coffees after just tasting them. The most interesting result occurred when they tried a cup of $7.00 Intelligentsia coffee. Most of the reviewers said they would pay $0.50 for the cup and some even questioned if what they were drinking was indeed coffee.
Now imagine if the reviewers had known the price of each cup of coffee before they tried it. The results would surely be completely different.
In a laboratory test, scientists scanned peoples brain as they were told that they were drinking $10 and $300 bottles of wine. When the subjects were drinking the $10 wine, their brain barely lit up, they gained no pleasure from this wine. When the subjects were drinking the $300 wine, their brain was flush with activity, the parts of the brain responsible for joy and happiness were illuminated. The punch line is that the people in the study were drinking the exact same wine. The price changed how they perceived the taste of the wine.
This has always been the case, it’s the same reason why we will pay $400 for a plain white t-shirt with the word GUCCI printed on it. Which begs the question, do we buy stories or do we buy products? Although each industry is different I do believe that brand building is the most important aspect of any business strategy for long term growth today.
Commodities are no longer commodities. Products like coffee and water are now being differentiated and it is no longer the company with the lowest prices that is winning. If your business is going to thrive in 2018 you need to tell authentic stories and build your brand.