Case Study: joe coffee
In 2018, three friends purchased joe coffee, a retail coffeeshop and bakery with an physical address well located slightly west of the center of town. Legally known as the Ptown Coffee Corporation, the three friends—Mark Shaw, Peter McBrien Jr., and Glenn Siegmund—are colloquially known collectively as MPG. MPG is not just a combination of the friends’ names; it’s also a reference to the expression “miles per gallon,” which in this context evokes the dynamism and vitality guests derive from the café’s energy and its beverage and food offerings. Together the men brought over thirty years’ experience and leadership in the insurance and financial services industries to the business, expertise in quality assurance and client experience, and an openness to learning the coffee industry, particularly emphasizing the “third wave” artisanal approach. All three new owners are longtime integral members of the Provincetown community; Siegmund resides in town fulltime and is a volunteer at SKIP; McBrien owns a second home in town, while Shaw is in town as often as his corporate work allows. The friends for years made joe coffee their own place for socializing and were already attuned to the needs and preferences of the café’s client base. The shop had been in the community for a substantial time and already had a good reputation, but the new owners wanted to introduce some new products while continuing with longstanding community favorites.
joe coffee’s audience includes local, year-round residents, second-home owners/part-time residents, and tourists and visitors. Many people consider this to be “their” place for morning coffee, for meeting others, and generally for a place to hang out.
The new owners were anxious to keep this clientèle’s devotion and to build it in others.
Ptown Coffee Corp was in most ways starting from scratch, so needed to build joe coffee’s presence and branding, both in physical and digital milieus. They came to ptownie with several needs:
- an updated, mobile-responsive website to announce the change in ownership and better serve the clientèle, as well as getting the coffeeshop noticed online
- an announcement of the change to the community, so required content creation (press release, supporting articles, etc.) as well
- uniform branding and narrative on all platforms (social, web ads, email)
- social media management
- advertising package to engage with the community and more targeted ads
- graphic design services for promotional materials and in-shop visuals
- an email/G-suite account
ptownie was able to solve joe coffee’s problems through:
- website design and development (font selection, color theory, etc.) for a fully responsive SEO-ready site
- monthly social media management (design and narrative)
- graphic design rebranding (new branding of its overall look)
- content writing and editing, including articles and PR pieces
- advertising package with graphic design included
joe coffee and ptownie consulted through each of the following steps:
- Project kickoff/discovery: research and user insight with mood board
- Industry-specific information and conversations with client:
- looked for inspiration from other artisanal coffee retail sites; client had extensive list of sites they liked
- decided on a feeling described as dark, rustic, strong, chocolatey, serious, mature
- decided on succinct, targeted presentation letting imagery do the talking and immediately connect users with their desired information (menu items , hours of operation, or contact/address info)
- use of video intro to create a “wow” moment
- applied design package from site to all other print/digital mediums
- Design concepts/prototyping mockups
- Website development with attention to webflow/stock imagery/stock videos/SEO-friendly copywriting
- User testing and staging site
- Finalizing launch and scheduling changes to hours/menus throughout season.
joe coffee requested continued use of the original logo, leaving the ptownie design team with an existing starting-point. After deciding on a target audience and specified user goals, the research sought industry-specific information. Words the owners decided were joe coffee identifiers (dark, rustic, strong, chocolatey, serious, mature) were used to inform both website design and website copy. Following the final website style guide decision, the same branding was applied to all other print and digital media platforms. The other services provided were SEO (search engine optimization)-friendly copywriting, a contract for monthly social media management, a revamped template, some PR work, and an advertising package.
Generally speaking, constraints included:
- need to use existing logo for continuity
- an extremely short timeline for completion: site needed to be ready for April
- work with owners who had very strict time limitations due to other aspects of the business
- site/project started in winter months, making it hard to get good photos/videos; ptownie used stock images instead
- three owners, so three sets of feedback for each phase
- existing staff needed to be part of the process for reasons of continuity and community
The owners are pleased with the partnership. “Being new business owners but frequent visitors, we didn’t understand how this community worked from a business perspective,” says Mark Shaw. “The biggest benefit was engaging a company that knows how Provincetown works. Everything came smoothly out of that knowledge: social media, interviews, and the community partnerships. Statistics show improvement in community engagement month after month. ptownie keeps us aware of so many events in town so we can participate—for example, we were able to make a donation to Women’s Week events. The Ptown pie is big enough for all of us; the circle can always be expanded. We like the emphasis on partnerships and cooperation rather than competition.”
Anecdotal observation: in the summer months during this engagement, the line formed outside the coffeeshop before it was open.
Data was received from:
- social media
- site traffic via ptownie.com
The Next Steps
Because of the success of the launch of joe coffee’s new branding and new/improved digital services, the work continues in many ways with additional options. Ptownie provides the company’s social media, monitors all analytics, stays up-to-date with website maintenance and content updates, designs updates based on user experience with all platforms, and facilitates the group they have joined (via ptownie) to collaborate with other local businesses in “Businesses for Provincetown.” In addition, joe coffee and ptownie are exploring the option of creating a specialized app and a possible quarterly newsletter.
Specific next steps include:
- continued monthly social media
- exploring app creation
- exploring newsletter options
- monitoring all analytics
- site maintenance and content updates
- yearly data-driven design updates
- increase in positive reviews on Google and Facebook