The Dutch Bros. brand has built a solid and enthusiastic customer base and gives takeaways that any business can start using to build up their following. Read about guest blogger Chris Garrett in his bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.
Founded in 1992 in Oregon, Dutch Bros. Coffee Company has become a giant in its market out West. As a simple drive-thru coffee stand, you wouldn’t expect a fervent following of their brand. But drive for 5 minutes in downtown Boise, Idaho and you’ll see a rash of Dutch Bros. bumper stickers gracing our cars. Out here, we love our Dutch Bros.- and here’s why.
WHAT’S THEIR ANGLE?
As a drive-thru, Dutch Bros. doesn’t have the opportunity to use in-house branding like custom wall murals, floor runners, or signage that most other enterprises rely on. Instead, they have embraced the philosophy that everything is a branding surface, especially their customers. With an online store full of desirable merchandise bearing their logos and catchphrases, often geared towards the ski and cycling cultures popular in the West, Dutch Bros. hasn’t had any trouble finding space on which to advertise.
MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS CAMPAIGNS
Dutch Bros. has utilized a branding tactic of running more than one phrase and logo at one time. Normally, this could be a mistake, as too many marketing campaigns at once tend to muddy the message and make a brand less recognizable instead of more. Dutch Bros. makes it work by being trendy and using phrases and logos that are anything but generic.
The popular Dutch Mafia logo doesn’t even mention coffee- it’s a shady-looking fellow holding a steaming cup. But everyone around here knows that it’s Dutch Bros. coffee in the cup and everyone around here seems to enjoy putting this somewhat sneaky logo on their cars, bags, and clothing. Along with “Dutch Love” and the new “Rebel” line of energy drinks, the Dutch Mafia campaign has become something of an in-joke for people who know where to get the best coffee in town.
When you pull through a Dutch Bros. drive-thru, you can bet that you’ll be greeted enthusiastically by a chipper employee. The overtly friendly attitude at every single Dutch Bros. location is a hallmark of their quality of service- it reflects the positivity and friendliness expressed in the Dutch Creed. The owners advocate optimism, good will, and affability- all communicated through their employees.
The abundance of positivity and the playful nature of their campaigns has garnered a rarely seen level of brand loyalty, particularly among the Millennial crowd who appreciates personality. The fact that Dutch Bros. is a Western company lends a feeling of community, despite their decidedly non-local spread from Arizona to Idaho. Their locations are locally owned and the main company engages in multimillion dollar contributions to charitable causes. It’s hard not to root for them.
WHY DOES THIS WORK?
The reason these approaches have proved so effective for Dutch Bros. is that they have sought out support from their community with genuine love and a quirky sense of humor, both important for reaching younger consumers. The feeling of easy humor and friendliness spans from their mission statement to their campaign designs to their employees to the kinds of swag they offer. They know their general audience and are making the most of the model they’ve embraced.
HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM DUTCH BROS. COFFEE COMPANY?
The most concrete tool to take from the Dutch Bros. toolbox is the use of swag. The online store, full of higher-quality branded wares, is an extraordinary thing to pull off. What some companies would be giving away as promotional swag, Dutch Bros. is able to sell for profit. From the old-fashioned windmill on their cups to the new Rebel energy drink line they’ve released, it’s all presented artfully on swag you’d actually want to own. Expand your brand in your merchandise by investing in some cool offerings that appeal to the younger generations.
The most important lesson is cohesion. People are able to think of the Dutch Bros. brand as if there’s one guy in charge of it all, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Some brands suffer from multiple personalities, dissociating themselves from their campaigns or stretching themselves into too many directions. By following Dutch Bros.’ example, you can learn to present multiple ideas across multiple mediums without losing track of your message.
About guest blogger Chris Garrett:
Chris Garrett is a writer, designer, and branding consultant. He, like everyone else in Boise, loves Dutch Bros. On Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.