hunter © sensory lab

Sensory Lab / Brand Start up Wake up, smell the Yirgacheffe

Making a coffee brand perfect and future-proofing it for success

Project type

Brand Reboot

Sensory Lab

Brand strategy, Identity, TOV, Packaging.

It’s no surprise that Australia and New Zealand are infatuated with coffee. We have, after all, continuously punched above our own weight at the World Barista Championships. If that’s not proof enough, then just ask someone where you can go to get a good coffee and they’ll happily point you in numerous directions. Once there, you’ll be faced with an array of different ways to get the perfect caffeine fix; pour overs, cold brews, cold drips, batch brews as well as your typical mainstream coffee drinks.

And that was the original thinking behind Melbourne’s Sensory Lab. As the name suggests it was supposed to be a sensory coffee experience. Add that idea to a custom fit-out at the base of a famous department store and you’d think that would be a recipe for success. Sure, in the early days when you launch… but not when you follow that recipe for so long it becomes tired… and your sales of coffee rapidly decline.

Trading off convenience, rather than fixing the problem, is something we’ve experienced with other clients before. So for us, recommending a solution to Sensory Lab’s problem was clear as day… be more like Heston. And, like Heston, not only champion good coffee, but scale, scale, scale.

hunter © sensory lab7

People naturally experience coffee in many different ways, moments and places. So it made sense to explore what makes the perfect coffee moment. These moments came to life in simplified tasting notes which were complimented by a clean and elegant visual language, whilst the positioning line ‘Smell. Touch. Taste. Look. Listen. Sensory Lab. Coffee Made Perfect’ could have come straight from a Heston playbook. 

Results wise? Well, the rebranding resulted in exponential growth whilst it stormed across social channels everywhere. But perhaps more importantly, the repositioning galvanised the business and provided them with a new blueprint for success. With an eventual sale to the Peter Rowland Group, we’d like to think the moral of the story is something along the lines of ‘Keep things simple. Look for the human angle. Be engaging when you want to connect’. Or words to that effect.

“If you look at a before and after of our brand, you can clearly see where Hunter’s work started. It’s been instrumental to our success and continues to guide company decisions to this day. Hunter are on point.
– Lachlan Ward. Co-CEO at ST.Ali Coffee Roasters

Brand Start-Up Lessons/Key Takeaways:

  • Coffee at the end of the day is a commodity. It can be traded at different price points and graded as high, medium or low. Irrespective of where you play, developing the right strategy can be the marginal difference between success and failure.   
  • If you’re stuck in a category where everyone is duplicating each other, then look for category adjacencies for inspiration. Heston was Sensory Lab’s. What’s yours?   
  • The economics of commodities is simple. If supply exceeds demand the price goes down, and if demand exceeds supply the price goes up. However, it’s branding that creates the value… and is why there can be such a huge difference in price for a cup of coffee.

At Hunter, we can help you with:
Brand strategy, creative strategy, creative direction, art direction, copywriting, brand naming, logo design, brand identity, graphic design, packaging design, project management, production management 
and execution.

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