Brand Perfect:Omotesando Koffee, TokyoA Case Study by Mobile Observations, January 2012www.mobileobservations.com
Brand Perfect:Omotesando Koffee, TokyoA Case Study by Mobile ObservationsMobile Observations is a provider of strategic insight and creative inspiration forvarious internationally operating businesses and organisations.www.mobileobservations.comThis work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visithttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
PassionIn order to stand out in arguably theworlds most crowded brand environmentmany businesses do everything to grabfleeting moments of attention frompassers-by. However, tapping into theminimalist design of traditional Japan, oneTokyo coffee shop has managed tobecome noted worldwide for its brandingapproach of quietness and seclusion.The cafe, named after its current locationin the Omotesando area of Tokyo openedin January 2011, and by summer it hadbeen discovered by several Tokyo basedtrend and design bloggers and agencies,as well as international lifestyle magazineslike Monocle.Owner and master barista Eiichi Kunitomokindly took the time to explain his thoughtsabout coffee and the cafe business over acup of Espresso when MobileObservations visited Omotesando Koffeein July 2011.
QualityWhile the spatial concept of the cafe isbuilt on impermanence and mobility, theproducts sold are of solid quality. As thepremises are simple and efficient (theonly seats are a bench in the garden)value is added by carefully selectedcoffees and cakes, the latter naturallycubic in shape.The serving style takes inspiration fromfast take-away cafes in that no trays orplates are used. Instead, the cakes areserved in Omotesando Koffee brandedcoffee filters. This ties together the ideaof take-away food and high qualitycoffee in a nice and innovative manner.As the lcoation of the cafe ischallenging for customers, beinglocated in a nondescript old houseinside a maze of small residentialstreets, calling cards are of highimportance. Also these are printed onunbleached coffee filters, immediatelysetting the right tone for potentialcustomers who see them the first time.
ThoroughAs the time of customer contact in acafe like this is short, implementing athorough brand experience in all detailsis of highest importance.The customer is reminded of the cubetheme central to Omotesando Koffee atall touchpoints: In the space, in theproducts sold, in the packaging and inthe accessories and few gift wares ondisplay.Also the colour scheme of brown andblack is consistent throughout all items,adding to the effect. The only elementof a different colour is the coffeemachine, highlighting the core productof the establishment with its red colour.Good coffee can arguably be had atseveral locations in Tokyo andelsewhere, but the understated, stylishand thorough branding of OmotesandoKoffee sets it apart form the others, andensures the customer will rememberhis or her visit; Perhaps with enoughfondness to even recommend it toothers.
SimpleContinuing on the branding theme, it isworth noting that the space is highlysimplified and even bare. Of all itemsoffered for sale there is only one or afew samples on display. Often cafescan be noisy places both in terms of theaural experience, but also in the senseof the visual presentation. OmotesandoKoffee is again making its mark bybeing decidedly uncluttered.The sense of calm brought on by thesparse display suits the current locationvery well, as old Japanese housestraditionally tend to be sparselydecorated. However, should the cafesomeday be moved to another locationaccording to plan, the few displayeditems will be easier to integrate into thatspace too compared to a more richlyfilled point of sale concept.Another benefit from not filling up thespace available for display is that itallows each item to be elevated to aspecial status, instead of being lost in amass. This enhances the perception ofquality, and encourages the customerto enjoy the items visually while makinga purchase decision.
ConclusionsCreating a strong and memorablebrand does not need to be acomplicated operation for anestablishment of this scale. The hardestpart can actually be to fight the urge toadd elements, when the best brandimpact can be achieved by strippingaway everything unnecessary.This approach to spatial design andproduct display should not be seen as asolution only for a cafe and only for thislocation. Many smaller shops couldimplement the core branding ideaspresented here in order to elevatethemselves above the competition, andadding a feeling of refinement andluxury without large investment. As forthe good principles of brandingpresented here; They are universal.More images and information:http://ooo-koffee.com/Questions to Mobile Observations:firstname.lastname@example.org