Monday, February 1, 2010

Ethiopia Coffee Secures Brand Identity.

Whether you’re religious about your coffee or just a casual drinker, you’ve no doubt seen mention of Ethiopian coffee on some sort of packaging or marketing.  The brand identity and marketing of Ethiopian coffee will finally be regulated and controlled by the Ethiopian government. After a long fight with coffee giant Starbucks, in early 2007 the Ethiopian government won the the rights to trademark it’s coffee beans which account for about 2% of Starbucks’ coffee purchase. In a effort to use Starbucks as leverage and re-position the country Ethiopia within the luxury lifestyle so many of us attempt to live out by drinking our premium coffee, the Ethiopian government recently hired UK-based design firm Brandhouse to create a series of new brand logos to use in it’s upcoming coffee marketing push. The new logo featuring a letter “E” in the form of a coffee bean over the name of the countries most popular coffee varieties Harar, Yirgacheffe or Sidamo, accompanied by the slogan “Ethiopian Fine Coffee.”, was designed to “establish Ethiopia’s reputation for high-quality coffee around the world, like French wine, Russian caviar, or Cuban cigars.” No doubt the Ethiopian government have realised how their country’s natural resource is a coveted commodity around the world and is using Starbucks’ marketing techniques to try to get a larger share of the revenues from their number 1 export. Hopefully the marketing plan for Ethiopian coffee tells the story of how Ethiopia has long been considered the birthplace of coffee. Stories sell products and brands, and if done well a story from the originator of coffee should sell foreigners on the image of a bountiful, resource-rich Ethiopia, a stark contrast to the current story of Ethiopia resounding in tourist and consumer minds