Cream In My Coffee is about Brand Metaphors and why you’ll not only need one to sustain a great and profitable company with solid employees but, particularly for a corporation that is marketing to the general public (B2C). Metaphors are how we understand and both describe or explain the world around us. We use them all the time, each and every day. When used behind a new or old brand, they can produce extraordinary results.
Brand Metaphors are quite simply the master stroke toward gaining any notable success. One, it is absolutely necessary to usurp the competition… easily. Two, it creates a deep connection with the audience subconsciously and emotionally. Third, the metaphor should be deep enough to pierce the veil of reality bypassing the conscious and rationale mind.
Once you have the Brand Metaphor you’ll need a whole series of guidelines to follow way before you even consider a logo design, font selection, business cards, website, etc… This article will also cover some other magical Design aspects pertaining to metaphors as well. Logo design is just the face of any company and yes, it has to be great but, the face of company is just not enough.
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A Back Story:
There was an art project in the millennial year where life-sized sculptures of fiber-glass or cemented cows that were placed around NYC streets and parks. It was an urban art project funded by the city. A year later the cows were auctioned off to the public and business sector and the money was donated toward future projects. New York City is nice like that. Not always, sometimes.
I always wanted to do one of these cows and participate in the art project. 1999, I had just graduated art school. It was too early for me.
If I had the opportunity to do one of these, below is the design I would’ve opted to do. I would’ve called it: Cream in My Coffee.
Some Hard Data and Another Story:
In the great American modern day we look forward to having a coffee in the morning. I know I do.
Five fascinating facts about the all-American coffee drinker:
• 68% have a cup within the first hour of waking up.
• $18 Billion is spent on specialty coffee in the U.S.
• 60% claim to need a cup of coffee to start their day.
• 34% go to premium places (Starbucks, Coffee Bean) for coffee.
• 29% go to lower-price outlets (McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.).
I think 34% is a clear winner to me. I like premium coffee.
There is nothing quite like the smell, the flavor and the warmth from that first fresh rush of caffeine in the morning. Rising from the sleepy depths of the sandman to the erratic tune of a freshly brewed, hot black, coffee. It is just the American way.
It’s a bit of a fascination that we seek to bypass various brainwaves and states of consciousness, first thing, so early in the morning. While sleeping we are in a Delta state. Theta waves is a slowly waking dream-like state. Alpha may be considered semi-conscious, restful and quiet and Beta state is when that caffeine kicks right in. Beta is wide awake.
Here’s how science has it outlined:
[ I think the above illustration illustrates what great mohawk should look like. Even if it were a hat or helmet, that would be fine by me. ]
Gamma waves are the buzz in my morning dosage. This requires four heaping teaspoons of a Cuban coffee, Café Bustelo in a pint-sized, 16oz glass. Add boiling water through a gold-plated, metal filter. Add two teaspoons of raw sugar or maple syrup. Stir and sip. Yum!
By the second cup, the giggles and snickering starts. Then, I write one of these Neurochemical things and somehow, this combination magically gets me more business.
Some days I wake up a Pacifist and ten minutes later after the very first cup of coffee, I’m a Democrat. After the second cup, I’m a Conservative. If I have three cups, I become a staunch Republican. Later, after lunch and a power nap, I’m Liberal-minded.
As the afternoon wears on, I drift into the evening as an Independent. Before bed, I’m a Pacifist again. 😀
Coffee assures that I’m never in the same mindset all day, each and every day, and this makes life mich more versatile and exciting.
There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts just two blocks away from where I live, however, I prefer to walk 1/2 mile (10 blocks) to Starbucks which is one of my all-time favorite cafés. I do love their branding as well.
Dunkin’ Donuts looks like a entertainment-less amusement park but the customers never seem to be amused. It is an empty shell of a brand or shall I say a brand that is an empty shell. The donuts are ok but, I can easily do without them. They are filled with so many strange chemicals that only a seasoned scientist can properly pronounce the names.
Rather than bore you with a contrast and comparison between the two, let’s just go straight to the brilliance and wonder of Starbucks. Love it or hate it, I can assure you that once you read this, there’s no going back to seeing this logo or the name the same way ever again. 😀
There are three subconscious reasons to be drawn to the Starbucks brand.
The most recent version of the Starbucks logo:
- It’s a woman.
- It’s a woman with a crown.
- It’s a woman with a crown with a five-pointed star on top.
- Wait. It’s a mermaid or a siren.
- It’s a mermaid or siren with two tails?
- It’s a woman, mermaid or siren holding up her fins!
But, mermaids only have one fin.
And if a mermaid were sitting in this position, holding up two fins, what would you call this pose?
A month ago, giving a neuro-branding presentation at Pace University, I asked the crowd of PR students at the same question. Among all the giggling and snickers, one male student eagerly raised his hand and said: “YOGA!”
I said: “That is 100% correct! The answer is Yoga.” 😀 Laughs abounded.
Sidebar: There’s a bit of an actual danger to a corporate brand having a logo that has been exposed and compromised like I’m doing here. Once it becomes conscious, it starts to kill the magic and mystique of the deeper Brand Metaphor. I’m sharing this with you because it is a very valuable business tool to use in your company. You should have one. People are drawn to companies that have deep metaphors and they don’t even know why. It’s an automatic winner.
A metaphor works better when it is left looming in the subconscious, below the surface. This is where 95% of the brand attractions is—in the subconscious.
This is is how companies like Marlboro, McDonalds and Coca -Cola have become so monolithic in size scale and profitability.
Does Sex Sell the Starbucks brand?
You bet ya it does. Sex is an emotionally loaded thing. It’s charged and fully Neurochemical. However, there are times when you SHOULD NOT use it and it has NOTHING to do with integrity or PC behavioral constraints.
Now no one I know has ever accused me of being a one hit wonder. This Starbucks, Cream In My Coffee, excerpt shall be no different.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a logo like this:
At a Starbucks one day with an old friend and I noticed Greek people staring at him… It wasn’t he they were staring at as much as his shirt. He served in the special forces in Greece years ago.
Here’s the bonus. Do you see any particular similarities between his shirt and the Starbucks logo?
If you have, great. If you haven’t that’s okay too.
It turns out the Starbucks’ siren is adapted not from a Greek myth but from a 16th-century Norse woodcut. Steve [a writer who worked on the new logo] explains how the logo designers found her by poring through old maritime-themed books, hoping to find something that would “capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots.” He goes on to describe the original icon as “a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme.”
Here are similar visual metaphors:
Wings are to birds like tails and fins are to fish. Just look at it. Can you see similarities?
Starbucks is a compound word: STAR and BUCKS.
Here the final—nail in the coffin—and ultimate reason I’m a fan of Starbucks coffee besides it being a great tasting coffee that I both like and love.
Star = Fame and Bucks = Fortune.
“So, who doesn’t like fame and fortune?” I ask.
No one told me about this. You won’t find it in magazines or books on marketing. I uncovered it one day drinking coffee at Starbucks. This is what happens when you drink three-four cups in one sitting. It shoots you off into gamma wave territory and these are the waves that the real-time superheroes ride. The creative zone.
Okay. What are the take aways here?
- Branding is a very real thing and affects Americans whether they like it or not. You are subject to it.
- This all goes far beyond all those tips and clips you see and read about on your favorite news media and blogs.
- There is a science to all successful corporations. The fantasy they’ll try to sell you is that their success just happened. It doesn’t. Brands are built from the ground up.
- Do you or your company need a Brand Metaphor? This completely depends on how big you want your company to be. You won’t stand up as well to the competition that has one, that’s for sure.
I can say that you definitely don’t want to be on the competing end of a Brand—ID we do for a client. Client LOYALTY is great but it only goes so far. See the divorce rate: infographic.
What we do is gently seduce the public so that our clients get the amount of business they ask for. We do this by addressing many of the deeper needs of their customers and clients. We especially focus on many hidden wants and desires. This seldom has anything to do with superficial things like money; doing sales, specials or discount deals. These devises work but only for a small percentage of the US population (12%). We are able to dig much deeper, spread far faster, grow wider and fatter because we know more. It’s just that simple.
I hope you enjoyed this. 😀
If you have a dream worth pursuing, give us a call. We can make it happen.
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grows businesses into movements,
improving peoples’ lives.