- About Radio Roasters: Radio Roasters is a small batch roastery in Georgia that provides single origin coffees through online sales, stores, and subscription delivery.
- How they use stickers: In shipments and in stores, Radio Roasters' "brew method" stickers do the job of educating future customers, marketing the business, and letting coffee lovers share their passion.
- Results: The stickers have begun a small and effective word-of-mouth campaign about Radio Roasters.
I wanted to involve the community and educate people how coffee is made, sourced, and brewed."
Every day, we receive hundreds of new sticker designs for printing. Most of them are artistic or clever. But there are a few that really catch our eye because they blend design with brand marketing.
A set of stickers from Radio Roasters is one of the few that really stand out. Designed by TNKR Design, Radio Roasters' stickers show various brew methods for coffee. Subtly printed on the stickers is the website address and after a quick look we had to learn more about the small batch roastery based in Atlanta.
The man behind Radio Roasters is Chip Grabow. An NPR producer for 15 years, Chip moved to Atlanta to work at CNN. Although he edits scripts at CNN by night, during the day he’s busy roasting specialty grade coffee and building a business.
In 2011, when Chip moved from the West Coast to Atlanta, he was surprised by the small number of specialty coffee shops and roasters. He decided to combine a passion (love for coffee) with a dream (running his own business) to launch Radio Roasters. He had a jump start with the help of some friends who roast in other parts of the country.
Brewing involvement and education
All new businesses face the difficult decision of branding and marketing. Chip quickly found one answer, "We have a great designer who did our branding and created our brew method stickers."
But marketing wasn't as easy.
Great coffee is different.
The answer came from the mission to involve and educate. Carefully sourced beans and small batch roasts are just the start. His goal to educate consumers also includes showing people how to make and enjoy a single cup of coffee.
"From the beginning, I wanted to involve the community and educate people how coffee is grown, sourced, and brewed."
That started with a single page and a few images describing techniques to brew a great cup of coffee with different brewing methods. While making the page, his designer made unique circle designs featuring the method: Clever Drip, cone drip, Chemex, and Aeropress.
Each method features a short paragraph about the method's history and specific steps. The result is unique, "Great coffee is different."
Soon after, the brew method stickers were made.
Stickers were an obvious way to help. People always love stickers.
Broadcasting the goods
A consistent design and unique colors make the set stand out. At local stores like Sq/Ft Decatur, where Chip's roasts are sold, he places a few stickers next to the bags. The color and design draws attention and, he hopes, subtly begins the education process. Chip adds, "Good design is helpful."
But it also creates a sudden interest in making (and drinking) coffee in new ways.
Casual coffee drinkers often only know one or two methods of brewing coffee, such as a standard drip coffee maker. These stickers show four lesser-known methods that improve the richness and taste, which open the door for "the switch" to take place.
The Switch has been described as "when a particular mix of events and emotional energy exists, a customer will choose a different product to use."
Although small and simple, the stickers are, in part, accomplishing that job — giving a casual, novice, or even "pro" coffee drinker an opportunity to choose Radio Roasters' coffee over their old favorite.
Add to that the fact that stickers are easy to hold and use just about anywhere.
Chip explains, "People love stickers as a kid. You love collecting them and holding on to them."
Tuning in for more
The bulk of his business is built around a subscription service to encourage customers to buy and have on hand only the freshest beans and to consistently try new varieties. Customers can pick from different coffee origins and bag sizes.
Coffee changes by the season and so each quarter, Radio Roasters features a different origin or variety. When customers buy through his subscription service, they get stickers thrown into each shipment.
Cool brands are always the ones who give you cool, free stickers."
As the subscription business has grown, the stickers have had a growing impact. A customer might place a sticker on a notebook they bring to work or they'll place it on a coffee mug they bring to a meeting.
"We’ve had people ask our customers, 'How do I get these stickers?' We always tell them to say, 'You have to order Radio Roasters Coffee'. Recently someone saw a Radio Roasters sticker on a colleague’s laptop and asked about it. So they gave them an extra shot because they knew he liked coffee."
As the subscription business grows online, Chip is looking to expand to other stores in and around Atlanta. Stickers have been a pragmatic, economical way to naturally pull people towards Radio Roasters.
"Although we’re just starting, the stickers have definitely increased interest. We’ve had a great response on Instagram. People comment and ask where they can get them. We tell them 'you have to order!'"
"They respond, 'I know where I'm ordering next time!'"
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