Costa is the nation’s favourite coffee shop, but the result of great distribution was brand ubiquity. In key metropolitan areas the brand struggled to compete with independent coffee shops delivering a superior coffee experience.
We were asked to create a finer brand expression and experience, initially for a London concept store, in order to help to force a reappraisal and attract less frequent discerning visitors to the store.
Our strategy: the original London artisan
In 1971 the Costa brothers arrived in London with a burning desire to make fine coffee part of London life. This store is also a real celebration of the brand’s heritage made relevant for today’s coffee lovers. We used this to re-frame the challenge of brand ubiquity as an opportunity to credibly own the position of democratising the quality coffee experience, making it fun, inclusive and accessible for those that appreciate good coffee but who are intimidated by the snooty independent scene. We focused the brand on the craft of coffee, defining the store proposition as ‘Coffee is King’. This inspired the name Costs Coffee House, as well as a focus on new product experiences, service principles and store design.
Elevation not reinvention
We reinstated some of the original visual assets, such as the ‘darts’ around the Costa roundel that formed part of the original Costa Coffee boutique store identity in the 1980s. We also created a more ‘refined’ experience of brand assets from the exterior right through to store design. The signature Costa red provides a familiar welcome and a visual anchor in store.
Unchain the chain
We introduced more informality and personality in the identity system, from new uniforms that elevated Baristas to Craftsmen and allowed their individual flair to shine, to handwritten signage.
Open up a world of coffee experience
We used wallart to tell core heritage stories, grounding the experience in Costa’s coffee quality story at key moments in the customer journey. ‘London Born and Blended since 1971’ positions Costa as the original coffee artisans. In other pieces we delivered, a world of new coffee experiences in an accessible visual and verbal style. We also introduced the concept of window theatre with a ‘Now Brewing’ sign that disrupts the customer journey and create interest from the street.