Cuvée Coffee: An Evolution from Product to Brand

Cuvee Coffee: An Evolution from Product to Brand

Earlier this month, Cuvée’s Mike McKim invited registrants from April’s Luncheon along with Austin AMA volunteers to his East Austin shop for a redux to hear the Cuvée brand story over complimentary local coffee and beer. Thanks to Mike and his staff for a wonderful evening! Here are some of our favorite takeaways.

A quality product.

Mike is a humble realist – he recognizes the work he has put into his extremely successful business, but he won’t shy away from the mistakes he made in the early days of Cuvée. Mike honestly admits that in the beginning, he did not recognize the importance of “a brand”, and instead focused all his energy on his product because he believed that a great product sells itself. And in the beginning, that philosophy worked. However, if that great product was going to go the distance, Cuvée needed a brand and story to sustain it.

An idea. Then, an ‘aha’!

When you think of coffee on the store shelf, you usually imagine earth-toned bags, right? A sea of brown is precisely what Mike found when he excitedly went to Whole Foods to see his first product on the shelf. Cuvée’s packaging looked like every other brand, so much so that Mike couldn’t find it. So when Mike’s wife suggested selling their beans in blue bags as a way to differentiate Cuvée, Mike didn’t shy away from the revolutionary idea. The blue bags jumped off shelves. Over the next 90 days after changing the brand’s colors, Cuvée saw a 300% increase in sales. The blue became the catalyst for their brand story…

Serious Coffee Doesn't Have to Take Itself So Seriously - We Believe in Liberating Specialty Coffee

“Transcend coffee…. find inspiration outside your industry.”

A set of steadfast company values.

Cuvée’s blue bag test made Mike realize that great branding + a great product can go the distance. Mike decided to formalize the company values swirling around in his head. These five values inform and frame everything they do:

Consistent Quality, Local Love, Authentic Relationships, Insatiable Ingenuity, Come As You Are

“As an entrepreneur, you should move away from saying, ‘Listen to me because I’m an expert”, towards “Let me listen to you…’”

The brand is alive.

Cuvee CoffeeWhat has kept Cuvée so successful? Mike says that today, he likes to think of the brand as a “living entity.” He makes sure to ask himself the questions that will keep his company on the right path: What’s important? What do we believe in? Who are we here for? How do we behave? What do we stand for? Every single one of those questions is one you should be able to answer, whether for your personal brand or for your business.

If you haven’t experienced Cuvee, check out their coffee bar at 2000 E 6th Street, or visit www.cuveecoffee.com.

Follow Cuvee on Facebook to find out about registration for their upcoming roastery tour on July 17th.

**Mike McKim and Austin AMA sends our sincerest apologies to the registrants of the April Luncheon for the scheduling mix-up. If you were unable to attend the June 4th event at Cuvée, we hope to make it up to you soon!

Images: courtesy of Cuvée Coffee