Building Brand Strength through Nuance: SCAA Origin Trip to Guatemala

All of us in specialty coffee understand how special this industry is, yet we also know it is not necessarily easy to translate that story to coffee drinkers. Depictions of coffee flowers, bright red cherries, and roasted beans are routinely used to paint a picture in the consumers’ mind, to present a connection to the coffee’s origins. Images, and often bios, of coffee farmers are inserted into marketing pieces, further alluding to this connection. Despite the beauty of these images, it does result in, more or less, one version of the story. We have an immense opportunity to capture and convey more nuances, and that is precisely what we intend to explore on this trip.

We have introduced a new SCAA Origin Trip format designed for marketing, sales, and other coffee professionals charged with telling the coffee the story to customers. This trip will include a variety of technical sessions, farm visits, and cultural exchanges to provide a real sense of Guatemala as a coffee producing country. In addition to the tour elements, this trip will include active discussions among the group and with various actors in the supply chain designed to explore more nuances of the story that will lead to deeper and strongly differentiated coffee stories. There is much more to explore and this trip will begin to uncover those opportunities. The dialogue will focus on important building blocks for developing and differentiating the positions for coffee brands:

Describing Taste | Considering how the producer describes their coffee, what technical experts say, and factoring in personal experience…how best to convey this experience to coffee drinkers?

Building Relationships at Origin | What does the term “relationship coffee” mean? What are we hoping to achieve by connecting the consumer with the origin of the coffee and those who produce it? What images and stories convey that message? How can we create a stronger connection?

Understanding Sustainability Challenges | Exploring the social, environmental, and economic constraints that strain the supply chain. An honest dialogue about inter-relationships, addressing complex issues such as:

• Is the consumer interest organic and/or certified coffee counter to economic viability for the producer?
• Do commonly used images help promote a relationship with the farmer or do they border exploitation?
• What does the producer think/need/want out of this deal?
• Do quality interests compete with ones of sustainability?

The Untold Stories | Exploring how honey, bird and butterfly habitats, traditions, success, and modernity can deepen and differentiate coffee stories.

Along with experts from Anacafe and throughout the supply chain in Guatemala, we will be exploring the potential for strengthening and deepening the meaning behind our marketing efforts, developing the messages of quality and sustainability, and highlighting the relationships between buyer and seller in a meaningful way.

Why Attend?

This SCAA origin trip is aimed at strengthening the authenticity, differentiation, and value of specialty coffee brands. Participants will learn and experience factors that contribute to great tasting coffee, examine environmental and social issues important for sustainability, and meet coffee farmers to understand the opportunities to connect coffee drinkers to the amazing people who grow it.

Participants will:

– Be exposed to various coffee regions of Guatemala, understand taste attributes, and discuss how to effectively educate consumers.

– Visit three different farms and meet those involved in production, providing an opportunity for meaningful connection.

– Explore environmental and social issues, discuss solutions with various actors in the coffee value chain, and examine opportunities to strengthen the conveyance of corporate social responsibility.

Click on the image below for more information or to register for the next SCAA Origin Trip, March 11-17, 2012: