Mom and pop coffee shops are being crushed by behemoth companies like Starbucks. Add on the worst recession since the Great Depression and you have a recipe for disaster. It takes extreme measures to compete in this business landscape.
Newhall Coffee Roasting Company is using social media marketing Jujitsu to take on the challenge. It’s staying nimble, competing where it can win, and still staying true to its mission.
Newhall Coffee Roasting Company started off as a couple of coffeehouses in the Santa Clarita Valley of California. The owners weren’t satisfied with the coffee they were buying from other roasters so they started roasting their own. Newhall Coffee is now one of the premier roasting companies in California.
The company sets aside a portion of its profits for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America in memory of the passing of the founder’s brother, Corey. Newhall has also recently launched a new program called Newhall Coffee For A Cause that helps qualified non-profits with fund raising efforts.
Social media is such an important part of the company marketing formula that, Ryan Barton, Newhall Coffee’s marketing manager, suggested we conduct the interview “social media style” via Twitter using a hashtagged (#CoffeeCause) conversation.
You can see the actual Twittter conversation by searching over the “#CoffeeCause hashtag.”
Interview with Newhall Coffee Roasting Company
Jesse (@jesseluna): Hi, I’m Jesse Luna. Thanks for agreeing to the interview. Can you tell us your name & role at NC please?
Newhall Coffee (@NewhallCoffee): Hey Jesse, I’m Ryan Barton, and I manage the integrated marketing campaigns here at Newhall Coffee.
J: Hi Ryan. There are 2 areas that I’d like to cover – NC’s use of social media & @CoffeeForACause. Q1: How did Newhall Coffee first jump into social media?
NC: It arose from the desire to make our online marketplace our online “big box retailer.” We started as a local coffee house. and we wanted to regain that sense of community — throughout the nation.
J: Interesting. Has NC used social media instead of pursuing some traditional distribution & branding methods?
NC: We allocate our resources to a variety of social media platforms rather than broad stroke marketing. We’d rather pursue targeted marketing efforts with higher yields than an imaginary market of “everyone.” You won’t find us buying ad space, but you will find us enjoying hand-to-hand grassroots efforts. We enjoy the interaction with customers at Costco and Sam’s Club road shows. Same goes for online conversations.
J: Q2: When first introduced to your brand, one thing that really stood out was the packaging. The packaging prominently displays social network logos. How did that decision come about?
NC: Adding social network logos and a URL (newhallcoffee.com/connect) was our way of inviting current customers to our online communities. We want to hear from you. You’re buying our coffee, now what else can we give you? On SM platforms, we’re offering loyalty discounts, we’re having events, etc. And we want to engage. Simply, it’s taking existing advocates, and hosting a community to find friends who share the same enthusiasm.
J: Thx. Topic #2: Tell me about @CoffeeForACause and what inspired it.
NC: Sure! @CoffeeForACause reflects a cause very close to our hearts. Our founder, @mitchmcmullen’s, brother passed due to leukemia. Due to his advocacy, Mitch was named Man of the Year by LLS twice. Corey’s blend was probably NCFaC in infancy – where blend sales were donated to LLS. Similarly, our Patriot Blend is a way for us to give back to our troops overseas. For every bag sold, we donate a cup of ‘american morale’ overseas.
So NCFaC was our way of helping charitable organizations raise funds through something more than magazines. We’re finding it’s easier to do when it’s a win/win — people want to support an org, and they love coffee. We know our community gave us our start (not big $ from Wall St.) so we’re dedicated to give back to our roots.
J: If people are interested in @CoffeeForACause, what’s the best way to get more information?
NC: They can visit www.NewhallCoffeeForACause.com for an overview and a 3-step sign-up form. It’s completely free to the organization and they get 40% back from every bag sold, so they can sign-up today, and start tomorrow. Or, they’re welcome to DM me at @NewhallCoffee and we can speak there freely.
J: Ryan, thanks for the interview. This will be written up as a blog post. Happy Roasting!
NC: My pleasure! And please feel free to share discount code “CoffeeCause” for 20% off at NewhallCoffee.com.
[End of Interview]
Let’s keep the conversation going. Was there anything in the interview that stood out in your mind? Have you seen other successful social media efforts by coffee shops?
Feel free to share via the Comments or “@” or DM me on Twitter.