My favorite coffee shop is about a mile from my office, and it has an unexpected name: Second Best Coffee. That’s a strangely self-effacing way to market a cup of coffee, isn’t it? So, why “second best”?
The company website explains:
“Second Best Coffee, at its core, is a commitment to relentless improvement. Coffee is our passion, and we cannot imagine a day where we do not learn something new. We tinker and talk, research and read; absorbing anything and everything we can. Whether we’re excited about the intricacies of coffee production in Costa Rica, working on a new roast profile, or tweaking our extraction parameters, we are constantly figuring out ways to translate new knowledge into better daily practices. Second Best is not a self-deprecation, but a way for us to acknowledge and pledge that tomorrow’s coffee will clearly make today’s Second Best.”
I love this statement. In fact, I’ve rarely read a clearer, more interesting statement of a company’s purpose. Why does it work so well?
A Compelling Purpose
There are a lot of coffee brands out there, running the gamut from enormous corporate chains to tiny mom-and-pop shops. Aside from convenience (the “store on every corner” model embraced by Starbucks) or cache (small batch, artisanal coffees catering to the refined palate), how does a coffee shop differentiate itself from the pack? Usually, it’s by asserting quality – think “Seattle’s Best” or even “the best part of waking up…”.
Second Best Coffee sets itself apart with a name that draws people in and makes them think. It prompts the question, “why second best?” and a search for the answer. Then there’s the answer itself – a succinct, inspiring statement of purpose. It’s at once quirky, relatable, and aspirational. Once you’ve read it you can’t forget it, and every cup of coffee becomes part of an overarching storyline of passion, hard work, and commitment to becoming greater than we are. Now that’s a compelling way to start your morning!
At Eidson & Partners, our purpose is to “help our clients do something new.” We seek out and create excellence through innovation. And we’re fueled (and inspired) by Second Best Coffee.
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