The old catch phrase is “the best part of waking up” is a good cup of coffee. And as yesterday stated, America’s favorite beverage by and far is its function-focused beverage, Coffee*. So it makes me think, why is it so integral to how we function and why the way we consume it is so important.
I think it tells a lot about ourselves, to be honest. I enjoy grinding up my own sourced roasted beans from specific vendors and employing a french press to get the desired result. I got to this process through a simple process of trying to remove any unneeded steps and wanting to grind my own product rather than purchase already ground coffee product that I am not sure about the quality of. But this isn’t necessarily all about how I consume, I thought about how we used to consume. And what started this train of thought was my youngest son’s Thanksgiving arts and craft assignment required a coffee filter. I thought man I haven’t seen or needed one of those in a long while. For years we had a Mr. Coffee and the concept of having a machine that requires a one-use product to make something so simple and elegant as a cup of coffee feels foreign to me now. It obviously is less efficient for individual usage, and it feels like the coffee filter adaption for individual home unit consumption was a genius board room meeting idea to make money off of filtered paper rather than just to deploy a simple metal filter that could be re-usable and washed as was included in the original french press.
And then it dawned on me, there are a lot of business practices, products, and services that have not been simplified down to the elegance of the French Press. Ironically, quite the opposite has occurred, the French Press was invented in 1852 by Mayer and Delforge in France, and It wasn’t until 1908 that the automatic drip machines with the use of paper coffee filters were invented in Germany by Melitta Bentz**. They intentionally made a product that would serve a large group of consumers but in doing so created waste. Flash forward and Mr. Coffee in 1970 re-introduced this product to homes all over the United States.
The more fluff we add, the more waste we create and it only dilutes the capability of our products/services promise. And consumers are very different than they were from previous generations. Some brands choose to explain themselves or use PR marketing tactics that include donating to a charity rather than adapt. Gimmicks like this are largely ignored, the product is what we remember it is. Mr. Coffee will always be known for having coffee filters, and Keurig will always be known for creating a by-product of k-cups that go into the landfill. And by being known for these things it will be a ball and chain on their brand’s image as they progress and adapt.
As we live in a world where we are consuming smarter, a new opportunity is presented for small businesses to simplify what they produce into more function-oriented solutions. And in some cases maybe not re-invent the wheel but honor its origin and intent. What are some of the brands you are paying attention to that are keeping their products/services function-focused?
ElephantMark was recently invited to be listed in the top 30 Small Business Brand Agencies by DesignRush.
*https://www.statista.com/chart/23082/most-consumed-drink-types-us/ OCT 1, 2021, STATISTA GLOBAL
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melitta_Bentz Inventor of Automatic Dripped Coffee