Outside the box
Building a brand IRL
We officially started Solo in 2018 but realistically we were born in 2020. We are a covid baby. This means that up until now our marketing focus has mostly been building customers and community online. A place where all activity is measurable. “What engagement did that post produce? How many new customers do we have this month? What’s our rating on Trustpilot?”. They say you can’t improve on what you don’t measure, so these thorough reports of stats and figures have allowed us to be clinical in improving our service, product and business. But it’s very boring and impersonal which are the last things we want our brand to be.
We built our brand to change the world’s perception of coffee and energise our generation, and no surprises, we’ve realised this isn’t possible behind a screen. We’ve always thrown around the word community, as many start ups do. But our community has only really been online. Now that everybody is shaking off those lockdown learnings and remembering a life in real life, we are thinking about our place in real life.
We recently held an event called ANDFRIENDS. When the team pitched the idea, I was quick to ask why? It was an event that’s main purpose was to have fun. We normally sponsor other people’s events as a way to introduce new audiences to Solo. But this event was mostly pushed through our platforms and the brands that joined our event. It was for our ‘community’. Now after weeks of reflecting, I think it might’ve been the single best thing we’ve done in building a community. The brand was felt by hundreds in real life. People who we’d never met were telling us how much they like our brand. We were putting faces to names. All of those reviews came to life. Some marketing objectives are hard to measure and fun definitely falls in that category. Not only did we have a good time at that event, but it felt as though everyone there had a good time. Our product provided the energy, but our brand provided the good time.
We started the brand from working in hospitality and haven’t looked back since, but now it feels as though we’ve come full circle. If we’re looking to energise our generation, it will take much more than offering coffee. We want to not only start the party but actually host it. Use our growing business as a medium for a good time. It’s a tough pill to swallow for covid born businesses but there’s more to brand building than instagram. And we think community is best grown IRL. ANDFRIENDS was our first party but definitely not the last.