So early yesterday morning we woke up to big headlines in the coffee news: Alterra Coffee is now Colectivo Coffee.
Wow. Really? Milwaukee’s locally born and raised brand? What’s the scoop?
Well, according to sources, Alterra owners Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller say they are parting ways with Mars, Inc., the global distributors to whom they sold the brand name in 2010. By changing their name, they will move forward as an independent and locally owned company.
I’m not necessarily interested in their business plan. But their marketing plan fascinates me. Once again I say wow. I’m in total awe of the gurus who ground this campaign—anyone know who is the agency? By noon of yesterday, everyone from On Milwaukee, to the New York Times, to the San Francisco Chronicle had announced the news. And Colectivo Coffee was cruising along with its re-branded website.
Here’s what I think is wonderfully creative and brilliant. The Fowlers and Miller have taken something so commonplace as public transportation and made it meaningful. Sure, colectivos are nostalgic to them because back in the early days of their business they rode these funky buses throughout the Guatemalan countryside learning about coffee. But they make colectivos meaningful to us as well. They acquire this hippy-cool 1958 bus and use it to tell a wonderful story. They talk about the everyday men and women that work in Guatemala and use colectivos as their daily mode of transportation.
“Colectivos gather people together at stops in the community,” say the owners. “It’s the beginning of the day and the end of the day. They’re places where people form relationships.
“Our cafes are places where people gather. We bring people together from many walks of life. If our cafes could be put on wheels, I think they would be colectivos.”
Aren’t these just the best branding words ever? They completely define the community spirit that embodies specialty coffee cafes. I’m ready right now to go hang out in a Milwaukee Colectivo Coffee!
Check out both these awesome videos: This short story on their name change and this longer version about the bus. The quotes, the storytelling, the people, the music, the imagery…both videos are done so lump-in-your-throat well (and I’m so jealous)!
Blessings to Colectivo Coffee and your new brand!