Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Think We Pass the Muster On This One

From Andrew Hetzel's blog

What's in a Coffee Shop Name?

What should I name my coffee shop?!? It’s one of the most popular questions that I am regularly asked and surfaces with alarming frequency and urgency on online discussion boards like and Specialty Coffee Retailer’s Online Forum. First things first: don’t panic!

The trend in coffee shop names these days from “cutesy” to outright absurd – are you naming a business or a boat? I suggest that rather than come up with the latest coffee pun, consider something that more appropriately captures the essence of your business and tells potential customers what they are likely to expect when they walk through your doors.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular categories of coffee shop names and their representative examples (these are REAL):

Medical Side Effects

* Trembling Cup
* Permanent Addiction
* Jitters (also, Jitter Bean, Jitter Java, Jumpin’ Jitters, etc.)
* Diuretic Delights (okay, so I made that one up)

The Puns

* Bean Around the World
* Daily Grind (also Back to the Grind, Nose to the Grind Stone, Breaking Ground, Sacred Grounds and so on)
* Brewed Awakenings
* Brews Brothers
* He Brews (a Christian Coffee Shop – this one is growing on me)

The Crowd that Misspells Espresso with an “X”

* Premium Expresso
* Heavenly Expresso

The Unfortunately Named

* Mud Puddle
* River Brew
* Java Trout Expresso Internet Bar & Gifts (I attempted to contact this company and congratulate them on their naming achievement, but alas, they were out of business or perhaps operating under a different name)

All of the frustration associated with naming a business is probably the result of competing in an escalating battle of wits; let’s think about this rationally, consider:

* Who are your customers? With proper business planning, this one should come rolling off your toungue. Are your customers morning commuters? Students? Couples out for an evening of entertainment? Office workers? All of the above? Knowing who your customer is will help you to understand how your name will be perceived.
* What is your business identity? What do you want your customers to think about when they read your name? (coffee – doh!) we’ll get to that in a moment: IN ADDITION TO COFFEE, what do you want your customers to think about? This is a question only you can answer: is it an emotion? a place? a memory? There are plenty of words other than “bean” or “cup” or “java” that you can use to get your point across.
* Now we can tell them it’s coffee. You should always keep the image of coffee present so that customers can quickly identify what you do. Picture driving by a business at 40 MPH and seeing the name or logo – in the blink of an eye it should be readily apparent that you serve coffee as a primary business. On the topic of that logo make certain that the logo is clear, not overly elaborate and has a crisp and easily identified color scheme.
* Make it unique – Unless it is your intention to masquerade as part of some large chain (such as a coffee shop I once visited named “Starbean,” written in bold green and white text), you’re going to want a brand name that can be uniquely associated with your company and product. Do a little search on Google for “Daily Grind.” Go ahead – I’ll wait. At the time of writing this article there are over 1.4 million mentions of the words Daily and Grind, and nearly 700,000 for the phrase “Daily Grind”; I can identify about 150 unique listings that are coffee shops or other coffee and tea related businesses. How will your business possibly be identified, recognized or remembered through all of that noise and confusion? Also consider possible legal setbacks to having such a similar name; Daily Grind-A is not going to be very happy when Daily Grind-B opens up down the street and will probably have something to say about (or, more likely, their lawyer will do the actual talking). Always have your attorney research your prospective name(s) for possible infringement on another’s trademarks or business names – you can do a cursary search through the US Patent and Trademark Office website and the corporation or business division of your Secretaries of State offices.

Oh, there’s one more category that I failed to mention above:

Popular Culture and Literature Names

* Bean Me Up
* Hill of Beans
* and Starbucks

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