There is a quote by award-winning author Justina Chen in her book, North of Beautiful that sums up how I felt bringing branded coffee to Whitefish Credit Union:

“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.”

Some adventures are better than others. Serving varied lobby coffee for your financial institution was not an adventure that I personally, found amusing.

Cooperative members in most cases, want to feel a part of something.

The more you can give something unique to your members, it makes the offer to non-members, that much more powerful. My first experience with branded coffee was as an account holder at Umpqua Bank. Though not a co-op,  their model at the time was heavily customer focused. One example of this was the experience provided to customers in each location and, their branded coffee. After sign-on, Upmqua customers were given a small bag of free ground coffee and genuine smile.

Soon after joining the marketing team at Whitefish Credit Union, I knew I wanted to bring this same concept to our members. In discussing how we could streamline member experience, I knew it was simple: consistent lobby experiences and coffee.

The idea of branded coffee had already been tossed around once before, but this time we were able to make it happen. With executive leadership on-board the Whitefish Credit Union successfully brought branded coffee to members, in all branches. It helped that Capital One had just started promotion of their Coffee Shop Cafés.

For members and community

For cooperatives and companies focusing on customer-first experience, branded coffee is such a great promotion. It’s almost like the Native American Peace Pipe or Sacred stone of Wohpe, turquoise given as a symbol of friendship. Even if you don’t partake in the coffee libation, the offering does not go unnoticed.

Whitefish Credit Union branded coffee is only served in lobbies. They do not distribute coffee as new account gifts. However, working with the local coffee roaster that roasts the custom coffee, we were able build bagged coffee promotions for the rollout. The marketing team lead various whole-bean giveaways using direct-mail advertising. Each time, the response rate well exceeded our projections! We were happy to hear positive feedback from branches across our membership area. The team continues to focus on other opportunities to give members consistent, excelled experience in each branch location.

If you have tossed around the idea of bringing branded coffee into your company, why not make it happen, today? Rice CMD can help you make it happen. For now, enjoy your favorite brew and consider your next great adventure in business and in life.