Today my wife wanted to know why I wanted to drive 5 miles to get a simple cup of coffee at my favorite local coffee house, The Lost Bean. While I became defensive for my need for my favorite caffeinated beverage, it did get me thinking as to why I would drive additional miles when there are other coffee houses much closer.

In delving into my mind set to literally go the extra mile, I realized that there are three C’s when it comes to successfully marketing your local coffee house.

The first is obvious: Coffee! Marketing your local coffee house requires that the product itself be marketable and worthy of word-of-mouth. The Lost Bean has developed a unique niche in the coffee house world, which is that they only use organic coffee beans. This is not only true of their coffee, but also the various ingredients that they use for the sandwich’s, soups and tasty muffins that they offer and sell. It is more than a positioning strategy, but a heart-felt ethos from the owner, Bodie Berg.

The second C is Communication. The staff are engaging on a truly personal level, but this does not begin to describe the atmosphere. This local coffee house feel is truly genuine from most others in Orange County, Ca. From the daily philosophical quotes scribed on a chalk board, to the locals who hang around and say “Hello”, this place has a home-like feel. The sitting areas feel life an extension of your living room, which makes it socially acceptable to sit next to a stranger. There is no corporate feel here at all. Bodie has created a place that is relaxed, soothing and even a bit like one has been transposed to a different locale. Time even seems to slow down a bit.

Coffee is the drink of conversation, and this local coffee house engenders that spirit fully.

The third C is Community. To truly become a unique brand amongst locals, good products and good communication forms a base that can now take you to a level that most local brands never move up to; and that is becoming a part of the community. The word “community” can become overused and abused. But when done right, it is a value that adds to your business that you cannot purchase. It is a part of your “brand equity” that can only be earned with consistent endeavor. Much of Bodie’s profits, about 30%, go to local charities. This commitment to the community resonates within The Lost Bean that is hard to put your finger on, yet wafts through his coffee house as strong as the enchanting aromas themselves.

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