Winning Customer Loyalty

Win Customer Loyalty
The growing demand for specialty coffee has made the food service industry fiercely competitive. As store owners, we often focus too much on consumer acquisition: that is, getting more people in the door. Although that’s undeniably important, customer loyalty has a substantial impact on profitability; that is, getting customers to come back.

Here at Stockton Graham, we understand the importance of customer loyalty. We recently asked Consumer Research firm Mintel to help us study what keeps customers coming back.

Their answer? Coffee drinkers are not only looking for a great tasting cup but the right atmosphere, service, and convenience. By focusing on these four key drivers of customer loyalty, you will be closer to creating a distinctive coffee experience that builds customer loyalty.

Coffee Customer Loyalty

Taste

The most important aspect of any coffee shop is the coffee. Our Mintel study found forty-five percent (45%) of out-of-home coffee drinkers listed “taste” as the top reason they frequent their favorite coffee shop. With that in mind, it is very important to pick high-quality coffee beans.

Service

Having properly trained staff is invaluable. After all, a cup of coffee is only as good as the barista making it. The Mintel study found that barista expertise can make or break a customer’s experience. Eighty-two percent (82%) of coffee drinkers surveyed said “artistry of coffee preparation” was an essential part of their coffee experience and a key driver of customer loyalty.

To help your baristas advance their coffee artistry, Stockton Graham’s specialty coffee brand Dilworth Coffee offers beginner and certified barista training as part of the  Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Skills Program. This includes Barista Foundation, Brewing Foundation and Brewing Intermediate courses, all of which allow participants to earn credits toward an SCA Coffee Certificate.

Great service is hospitality that wows and delights customers. Team members are your brand ambassadors and can have a huge influence on whether or not customers return. Promoting a customer-centric culture will make your customers feel valued and appreciated, increasing the likelihood they come back.

Convenience

In today’s always-on-the-go coffee-drinking culture, convenience is important. That means consumers will expect a great tasting cup of coffee wherever they buy it. Yet, even if your shop has the best coffee in town, consumers will go elsewhere if your baristas aren’t efficient in building drinks and moving customers from order to pick up quickly.

There are simple ways to streamline your staff’s workflow to help them work efficiently. And most often, this begins with the layout of your coffee bar and workspace. An effective coffee bar layout will group equipment, storage and cleaning tasks by drink type, which will eliminate unnecessary steps while preparing drinks and also make the workspace safer for everyone.

On the consumer side of the coffee bar, offering mobile payments and operating separate “express lanes” for simple coffee drinks during rush times will get customers in-and-out quicker. This not only creates a positive experience for your customers, but also allows your staff to increase productivity and improves the number of customers your staff can handle each day.

Atmosphere

The Mintel study found that atmosphere vital to building customer loyalty. Your coffee shop’s atmosphere affects how customers perceive your service and quality.

Floorplan and decor have a big impact on customer experience. Leaving clear paths to registers reduces clutter, making your shop appear airy or spacious. Lighting, color scheme, and even background music can be the difference between an environment that feels warm and relaxing or one that feels cold and sterile.

When considering your store’s atmosphere, it is essential to understand your target audience and store’s location. For example, if your store is located on a university campus, you’ll want to consider modern tech elements like touch screens and charging stations as part of your design. Whereas, if your store is located in a financial center, you’ll want to include communal tables for business meetings and televisions so your patrons can keep up with market news.

Atmosphere is one of the few elements of a great coffee experience that can, and should, change over time. Always keep an eye on consumer trends. Visit competitor shops, and regularly talk to your customers about ways to improve their environmental experience.

At Stockton Graham & Co., we blend the art and business of coffee. We are committed to empowering all of our partners to maximize their customer loyalty. For more information about our Batch 0995 coffee or the Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Skills Program, email us or call us at 800 835 5943

3 Ways to Attract Millennials to your Coffee Shop at the Holidays

Millennials are experiencing the holidays differently than generations before them. This shift means (among many things) that millennials are seeking experiences that enrich and fulfill as opposed to objects that clutter and collect dust. One of the key ways that millennials are seeking to have these experiences is through technology.

holidaysHave you stopped to consider how your coffee shop can meet the needs of millennials for experiences? It is important to take these young consumers into account as you strategize attracting more business this holiday season.

We have some ideas that will help you invite and keep this demographic that is now more than one-quarter of the nation’s population. Although in general they are more reserved in their spending, there is one time of the year millennials are leading the charge in spending: the holidays; And there is one item that millennials can’t get enough of: coffee. Buying coffee nearly twice as often as older generations, young people spend about $80 per month on cups of Joe, well above the overall average of $67.

1. Partner with a Cause for the Holidays

Millennials want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. In fact, fifty percent of millennials would be more willing to make a purchase from a company if their purchase supports a cause. The holidays are a great time to celebrate goodwill and compassion for humankind.

Consider partnering with a local non-profit and donating a portion of your sales of a particular item towards a good cause. This could be a local homeless shelter, clean water in underdeveloped nations or an organization you believe in and are passionate about.

A good example of this is the partnership that Stockton Graham & Co. has formed with Grounds for Health. In this partnership, $1 from each purchase funds life-saving health care for women in Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Peru. Tis the season to give (and in giving, millennials will continue to return to your shop to cheer you on as you cheer others on).

2. Advertise your space

The holidays are a time for coming together and celebrating friends and family. Millennials value experiences over having material goods. Many millennials are far from home and looking for a place to connect during the holiday season. Consider renting out your cafe space for events or even planning events yourself. This could be a holiday party, a local church choir concert or celebrating holiday birthdays.

By renting your space out you are making deeper connections with your millennial shoppers who are longing to connect on a more substantial level. You are investing in relationships that will continue to grow as you create a space for them to have more experiences. It is also great exposure for people who have never set foot in your shop to become familiar with you.

Gift cards are big with millennials so as you are renting out your space for that gingerbread decoration, be sure to have your gift cards displayed front and center.

3. Tap the Technology Trend

Lastly, the best way to reach the next generation of consumers is through their smart phone. Millennials are nearly two times more connected through technology than any other generation. This translates to 13 percent of millennials using a mobile app to determine their venue.

To get and keep their attention, you have to offer a service, product or information while making it easy to connect to your establishment.

“Technology is changing the way that people are buying their coffee,” said David Sprinkle, Research Director, Packaged Facts, during a recent National Coffee Association (NCA) webinar on food service coffee. But avoid a straight sales pitch he advises. “Don’t just hawk your product, but provide information and services that are of interest to your consumers.”

Are you pairing items that are popular with millennials and posting it on Facebook? Use social media to let them know what is new and why you are offering it. Technology is a great tool to sell that new pumpkin spice latte, or the gingerbread mocha. Millennials are already online, meet them there.

Phone ordering is a new way of ordering coffee as well. This is a reflection of the on the go mentality of many millennials. Consider having an app created for your coffee shop that would allow your consumer to order and pay for the coffee before they get to your counter. You could roll this out just in time for the holiday season when consumers will be busy spending and shopping.

In general, the holidays are a time of cheery vibes and increased spending. Your younger consumers will appreciate the fact that you have shown that you care about them. This will also help to create a sense of relationship (which is exactly what the millennial is looking for) between you and your millennial shoppers.

To speak with a customer service associate please call 800 835 5943. 

Stockton Graham Launches Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Stockton Graham & Co. launched nitro cold brew coffee in Raleigh on May 22 to rave reviews during the four-day local celebration of good taste called The Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. On June 10, we will launch our nitro solution nationally at Coffee Fest Dallas. Drop by Coffee Fest booth #917 to speak to our coffee experts and sample the brew.Nitro Coffee Stockton Graham & Co.

At the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival, customers lined up three-deep to taste our refreshing, sweet brew, which was featured in partnership with Café Helios. For the un-initiated, nitro coffee is cold brewed coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas. The gas transforms the cold coffee into a creamy, fizzy non-alcoholic beer-esque drink that can be enjoyed anytime of the day or night.

The Business Case for Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Nitro CoffeeOffering nitro coffee is a slam dunk for an independent coffee shop, restaurant or bar, according to Thom Swain, Director of Southeast Sales for Stockton Graham & Co. Both the Specialty Coffee Association of America expo in April and the National Restaurant Association show in May featured nitro coffee prominently and booths offering nitro coffee were packed.

It’s no wonder. There hasn’t been a alcohol-free beverage option in recent history that hit the sweet spot in terms of demand, profitability and ease of implementation. Here’s a break down of the business case for nitro cold brew coffee:

Profits: Roughly $1 in costs, which include coffee and nitrogen gas, can create a 12oz beverage that can sell at $4-$5. That’s a 400% profit.

Implementation: Simple nitro systems are readily available at craft beer supply and home brew supply stores. A basic system will cost roughly $1000, and will break even at 250 servings. Many independent shops are reporting sales of 5-10 gallons (or 50-100 servings) of nitro a day.

Differentiation: Nitro is a product that is becoming known to more customers but that is still generally difficult to find. “Shops that develop a nitro program now will be ahead of the curve, positioning yourselves as a destination for nitro even before the product becomes more available,” said Thom Swain.

Demand: Nitro appeals specifically to millennials, who according to a 2016 survey by TD Ameritrade, spend more money on out-of-house coffee than any other demographic. “Offering nitro will shore up this demographic and have this coveted demographic in your store morning, noon and night,” Thom said.

Our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Recommendation

Through our research we have found that consumers in the 18-35 age group grew up on soda and have an affinity for the sharp, fruity flavor of phosphoric acid that gives soda its “pop.”

Nitro CoffeeWith that in mind, we recommend using East African coffees tapped with beer gas. This summer, we are recommending our Tanzania Peaberry that features juicy citrus and berry flavors. The nitrogen brings out a cane sugar sweetness that’s reminiscent of good southern-style sweet tea.

For a crisper and more fruity brew, you might try our Ethiopia Limmu. This limited-edition, natural-process, single-origin coffee provides a clean, sweet mouth feel and pops with the flavors of strawberry, raspberry and rose hips.

Both Tanzania Peaberry and Ethiopia Limmu are roasted to order at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facilities.

When it comes to preparing and serving nitro cold brew coffee, a variety of systems are available. You may opt for a custom-made jockey boxes like the one we prepared for Café Helios at the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. There are also relatively inexpensive countertop coolers and more elaborate full kegerator beer tap systems. Either of these options are available at places like Home Depot, home brew stores and restaurant supply stores. The team at Stockton Graham & Co. can discuss options based on your business concept and traffic and provide step-by-step guidance on brewing, gassing and serving nitro coffee.

If you are in Dallas for Coffee Fest, stop by our booth #917 to meet the team to sample our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee or call us at 800 835 5943.

Clean Labeling & Your Coffee Shop Menu

Natural and organic foods have been touted for over two decades, but 2016 is bringing in a natural food sea change of epic proportions. The shift is toward clean labeling, which translates into food and beverages that are less processed and more nutrient-rich. And importantly, clean labeling means offerings that are void of extra salts, sugars, colors, flavors, hormones, antibiotics or any other additives.Clean menu clean labeling coffee shop stockton graham organic coffee roaster

In fact, clean labeling as it is called has become so important that it is transforming big manufacturers like Mondelez, Kellogg and Heinz Kraft. And FoodBusinessNews named clean labeling the #1 menu trend of the year.

“Big Restaurants are all-of-a-sudden dumping some artificial (and other bad-for-you) ingredients from their menus,” reported international food and restaurant consultants Baum+Whiteman. “We’re looking at the ‘healthification’ of fast- and fast-casual food.”

Food industry observers are quick to say that the clean labeling trend is not a fad, but rather a long-lasting shift in consumer attitudes away from highly processed foods, especially among the coveted baby boomer generation. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 76% of baby boomers look to clean label or unprocessed products due to concern about their health while 69% of Millennials also site health concerns as the reason they would buy clean products.Smoothies, Stockton Graham & Co., Breakfast

Now’s the time for coffee businesses to get in front of one of the biggest food trends that can impact your business in 2016 and beyond. Here are some ideas from Stockton Graham & Co. to help you lean into the clean label trend.

  1. Assess your customer base
    If your store is on a college campus, in a college town or near a university, in a high-tech corridor or near an active adult retirement community, chances are your customers will gravitate toward clean labels. If in doubt, do an informal survey of your regular customers. One approach, “We’re thinking about adding a small menu that focuses on clean ingredients – that means we’ll look at beverages without added salts, sugars, flavors and the like. Is this something you’re interested in buying from us?”
  2. Know that “clean means clean”
    Replacing “artificial” additives with “natural” additives means you are still using additives: “natural raspberry flavor” shares no genes with real raspberries and customers know it. If you’re committed to a clean menu then look for products that are 100% fruit or ones that contain no added flavoring or preservatives. Click here for simple Green Menu recipes for your coffee shop.
  3. Start with your coffee
    Adding organic coffee to your menu is a simple, inexpensive way to lean into the clean menu trend. Plus, its a simple way to gauge your customers’ affinity for clean labeling. Raleigh coffee roaster Stockton Graham & Co. offers several organic single origins like Organic Fair Trade Guatemala, Organic Mexico Chiapas and Organic Sumatra. We also offer roast-to-order organic blends and espressos.
  4. Buy local
    Let’s face it, in foodservice avoiding all additives can be nearly impossible. And until you see how your customers will react, there’s no need to completely switch your menu over to 100% clean. You can take small steps across the board by implement more natural ingredients, like pesticide-free organic produce or foods with no added chemicals or hormones. One trick is to look for local suppliers of milk, cheese, butter, meats, vegetable and breads: when you buy local, foods get to your business faster so there is less need for preservatives or chemicals to maintain freshness on long cross-country journeys.
  5. Add USDA-certified OrganicMonin Organic Vanilla Syrup
    According to Food Navigator, 81% of American families purchase organic foods at least some of the time, and this is a good place to start. Plus, the price differentials between USDA-certified coffee, milk, soy milk, syrups and sauces and non-certified products are now fairly minimal. In addition to offering several USDA-certified single origin coffees, espressos and blends, Stockton Graham & Co. carries a wide variety of USDA-certified Organic and clean labeled products for your store.

If you’d like to discuss options for your menu, feel free to call us at 800 835 5943.

 

Visit Stockton Graham Three Ways At SCAA Main Event

Stockton Graham at SCAA Main Event with Torani and Grounds for HealthWhen it comes to developing and promoting the specialty coffee industry, there are few organizations more respected than the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). And the SCAA Main Event is the most attended coffee event of the year. If you’re headed to Atlanta on April 13-17 for the event, there are three ways you can visit with Stockton Graham & Co. Raleigh coffee roasters, baristas, marketing guru and sales team during your time there.

Pathway Class: Golden Cup Brewing (CP 158)

Stockton Graham & Co.’s Brady Butler, who is Chair of the Brewing Pathway Committee for the Specialty Coffee Association of America, will lead the Brewing Pathway course on Friday, April 15.

Brady has been in the coffee business for over a decade. He started as a barista at Dilworth Coffeehouse in Matthews in 2006. He then joined his family in opening their own coffee shop called The Coffee Garden in Stallings, NC. He then started his own business called Carolina Espresso Services, where he advised coffee shop owners on how to brew the best coffee.

Stockton Graham SCAA Brewing Pathway“The class is a must for any coffee professional who is serious about their drip coffee, whether you use a commercial batch brewer, Chemex or Hario V60,” Brady Butler said. “It builds on great brewing fundamentals and gives everyone the tools and knowledge to make their coffees shine.”

The SCAA offers the Brewing Pathway because competence in brewing coffee is essential for industry professionals. CP158 is the third of four classes that make up the Golden Cup Technician Certificate.

Grounds for Health Booth 1524: Every Sip Can Save a Life

Stockton Graham will be showcasing our Grounds for Health Blend coffee in booth 1524 at the SCAA Main Event. Created in partnership with international non-profit Grounds for Health, every sip of this coffee helps provide vital health care for women in coffee growing communities.

Grounds for Health, formed in 1996, addresses the one of the most eye-opening disparities in women’s health globally: cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills more women in coffee growing communities than any other cancer, and it is expected to kill six million women in the next 15 years alone. Yet, with simple screening and inexpensive treatment, cervical cancer doesn’t have to be deadly.

Grounds for Health Blend Coffee from Stockton Graham & Co.

Stockton Graham Coffees is donating $1 for every retail bag and $5 for every 5lb wholesale bag of Grounds for Health Blend to help fight cervical cancer on coffee farms in Nicaragua, Peru and Ethiopia. Drop by booth 1524 to learn about Grounds for Health Blend and how you can help by putting the coffee on your menu.

“The health of the coffee industry depends on the health of the people who plant, harvest and process coffee at its source,” said Lane Mitchell, marketing director for Stockton Graham & Co. “Through Grounds for Health Blend, we are helping coffee businesses of all sizes make meaningful contributions to the health and wellbeing of the people who work on coffee farms. Because it costs so little to prevent and treat cervical cancer at coffee’s source, we can truly say that every sip gives Grounds for Health the opportunity to reach more women and save more lives.”

Torani Booth 829: Bringing Flavor to Life

2015 Blender SpecialsIn the center of the room, Torani will be brining real flavor to life with the help of Stockton Graham & Co. baristas. Drop by booth 829 at the SCAA Main Event and try some traditional coffee house style drinks like a vanilla cappuccino and hazelnut latte, as well as more cutting edge offerings like coconut iced coffee, hibiscus margarita and white chocolate coconut frappe.

Our SCAA-certified baristas, Alex Jeans and Chris Bennett, will be manning the Nuova Simonelli espresso machine in the booth. While Debra Dolan will be discussing how to easily implement new menu ideas at your store.

Debra boasts several SCAA certifications including in Introduction to Espresso, Hands on Espresso, Brewing Fundamentals and Comparative Cupping; she is also a SCAA-Certified Level 1 Barista. Over her decades in the coffee business, Debra has earned a BGA Certificate and a Serve Safe Certification. A frequent volunteer at industry events including the SCAA Regional Barista Championships, Debra also served as a judge at the 2013 Coffeefest America’s Best Coffeehouse competition in New York City.

“Last year, Torani won the SCAA’s Best New Product award for its Ginger Lemongrass Syrup,” said Stockton Graham & Co.’s Debra Dolan. “We can’t wait to partner with Torani to share their newest innovation. We’re sure it’s going to spice up the Best New Product category again this year.”

 

Registration is Now Open: Don’t Delay

Anyone can attend the SCAA Main Event. One day passes start at $150 and full three-day passes run $275 for SCAA members and $345 for non-members. All expo passes include access to the exhibit hall, lectures, competitions and networking events. Visit https://www.scaaevent.org to register for the SCAA Main Event.

 

2016 Coffee Shop Trends

Coffee Shop TrendsEach year about this time, we forecast coffee shop trends for the coming year so our customers can position themselves for success. Whether you run a coffee shop, café, restaurant, kiosk or otherwise offer specialty coffees in your store, this list of 2016 coffee shop trends is for you.

Sense of Place

Everyone’s over the cookie-cutter cool that’s defined coffee shops for the last five years. You know the look: Blond wood, giant chalkboards, exposed pipe, Remy stools, vintage barn pendant lights.

As living and eating locally has become the trend du jour, consumers are more interested in neighborhood nostalgia and are looking for a coffee shops with an authentic sense of place. If your store is located on the site of an old barn or a school house, then go with that. If not, do some research to discover the look and feel that will give your store a sense of place like Amelie’s French Bakery in Charlotte, Wild Boar Café in Fort Collins or L’Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris.

Relatedly, nature will begin to take center stage inside coffee shops in 2016, and the color green will especially be on trend. In addition to coffee shops with outside garden spaces, don’t be surprised to see mixed-use greenhouse and botanical coffee shops popping up towards the end of the year.

Interactive Shops

Coffee shops have always been an easy place to socialize, whether your customers are on a first date, taking office work “off campus” or catching up with friends from across town. In 2016, stores will become even more interactive. Look for long-communal tables, sugar and milk served family style, and baristas who get out from behind the counter to interact with customers. Genius Bar-type brewing classes will become popular, as customers see coffee as more of an experience than a beverage. For inspiration, check out Pinewood Social in Nashville or Café Streets in Chicago.

Signature Blends

Nearly every store serves at least one “house special” coffee, whether its a flavored latte or a single-origin coffee. Baristas will start taking that trend to the next level in 2016 by becoming coffee mixologists. By mixing coffees from different places and different roast levels based on a customer’s flavor preferences, a barista will create a bespoke coffee blend for each customer. The result: a customer experience that can’t be replicated at any other store.

On Tap

2015 was the year that iced coffee took off, and this year it will be even bigger. Customers will enjoy cold coffee drinks straight from the tap like an up-scale bar or lounge, and Nitro coffee (that’s seeped coffee infused with odorless, flavorless nitrogen gas, kegged like beer and served on tap) will continue to be a big seller. In fact, this year you’re unlikely to find a successful coffee shop without a cold brew option (or two) behind the counter. Call to make an appointment at our Raleigh coffee roasting facilities to learn more about cold coffee beverages for your store.

Flavors, Flavors

Once considered the ugly stepchild of coffee, flavored coffee has become hot. In fact, Mintel Research reports that sales of flavored coffee are up 15%, with dessert flavored coffees leading the way. Put all the dessert-flavored coffees into a bucket, and sales are up a whopping 800% since 2010, Mintel research reveals. As we move into summer, which is the season for iced coffee, expect to see cold flavored coffees on tap, in frappes and on ice.

Mixed Use

Shops that focus on coffee have usually found that sales dip considerably from about 5pm onwards. That has prompted many stores to offer alternative evening and night time menus that entice morning customers back after dark. Applying for a liquor license and offering wine and cocktails is one popular choice. But other ideas include adding fresh baked breads like our customer Great Harvest Breads of Greenville, NC or chocolates like Chocolate Café in Southbend, IN or Cocoabar in New York City. The Office Coffee Shop in Detroit adroitly combines a coffee shop with a for-rent workspace; look for more work/coffee combinations and other mixed-use retail/coffee concepts.

All Wet

Well trained baristas know that water quality is one of the most important, yet overlooked, elements of coffee brewing. So in 2016, water will get its due attention. Check out the water tasting menu at 3FE in Dublin, Ireland and Maxwell Colonna Dashwood and Christopher H. Hendon’s book, ‘Water for Coffee.’ Stockton Graham & Co. offers training programs for owners, baristas and staff that address water quality, as well as the other five essentials of brewing great coffee.

Bitter: Sweet

Coffee has been traditionally served with sweet foods like cookies, chocolate and pie, of course. But 2016 will recognize an evolution in customers’ palates. Tropical Island Coffee & Café in Winchester, VA serves coffee with spicy jerk chicken and plantains while Chef Booj Supe of Gourmet Garage pairs a medium roast with mushroom and cheese risotto. Coffee shop trends will increasingly involve menu innovations and deconstructed classics.

To talk to a sales associate about how you can integrate any of these coffee shop trends into your business, call us at 800 835 5943.

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of a Brand Story

What’s your brand story? Storytelling is a timeless tradition our ancestors used to pass down truths, myths and traditions through the years. It is an impactful craft for strengthening your customer engagement. And it’s a vital extension of your brand and a great tool for creating and retaining brand advocates.

Tell Your Brand's StoryIf you are new to the scene, here are some guidelines on how to start developing your brand story. And for established companies, take a second look and be sure your story has all the necessities. Good stories can strengthen your brand, engage your customers, and inspire your partners.

Who: Every business has one mastermind behind the whole operation. Or maybe there’s a group of folks that conceived your enterprise. Whichever the case, be sure to say who had the idea. A photo of the founder in action will speak volumes as well.

Richard Rosendfeld of Two Leaves and a Bud Tells his Brand Story

Two Leaves and a Bud great job of communicating founder Richard Rosendfeld’s story and how he saw a need and made it his mission to fill it.

“Founded in 2005, two leaves tea company™ began with a journey. Founder Richard Rosenfeld travelled the world on business, where meetings are synonymous with amazingly flavorful cups of tea. After returning to the states, Richard looked everywhere for a good cuppa’ tea…but had a hard time finding one.”

When: This can be as simple as when the company started or a more detailed timeline highlighting significant changes in your organization’s history. Established companies will have many milestones recorded. But if you are new to the scene your accomplishments are still important to share. Letting customers/partners know, encourages them to celebrate your success too.

MAHLKÖNIG coffee grinder Brand Story

Grinder manufacturer Mahlkoenig has a rich history. They feature it on their website with photos and stories about the original machines and how they evolved.

Iced Coffee and Chai company Big Train also does a great job telling customers ‘when?’.

“The name Big Train was chosen by the founding partners in 1991…For over 20 years, Big Train has established itself…In February, 2013, Kerry announced the acquisition of Big Train”

A Taste of Southern Season Raleigh StoreWhere: Where is your store, company, factory located? You may have several locations but every company needs to have a home base. Be sure to let your customers now your ‘birthplace’.  If your origin is a small town it’s okay to associate with the closest biggest city or align with the region. But it may be more intriguing to stick with your small town.

For almost forty years culinary mecca, Southern Season had one store in Chapel Hill, NC. In the past few years they’ve opened three new locations, with the most recent being in our hometown Raleigh, NC.

How: Your brand story should include how you got started and how you came to be what you are today (which could be the same as when you started). How your goods are made (without giving away trade secrets of course). Or how you provide the service you do.

David Rio Brand StoryDavid Rio started as one of many products in a Japanese language catalog.  The company, still run by founders Scott and Rio, achieves success through its perpetual commitment to customers, employees, vendors and creditors. Now they are one of America’s premier chai brands.

Why: This is your mission statement or your core values. “Why?” could change as your company develops and grows so be sure to update it when necessary.

Great Harvest Bread Company Brand StoryGreat Harvest Bread Co. in Greenville, NC uses the walls of their stores to help communicate their brand story. Shop owners, Gregg and Kim Green “have a passion for ministry, service, fellowship and great food.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co our obsession is blending the art and business of coffee. We haven’t always been a specialty coffee roaster and wholesale beverage company. Seeking the American dream of becoming entrepreneurs, our founders thought the Raleigh market was ready for a coffee house concept that offered high quality coffees, and handcrafted espresso drinks in a comforting atmosphere. Read more about how we became who we are today.

Storytelling is an age-old concept that brings people together, keeps them engaged, and builds trust. It might take some time for you to cultivate this story. But when you do, get other people to help you tell it. Make sure every member of your staff knows the brand story, so they can share it with your customers. Get your team together and make sure they know your who, when, where, how and why. Have them take turns practicing telling it with excitement and passion. Following these basic guidelines will get your storytelling efforts rolling, engaging your customers and converting them to brand advocates.