A well roasted fable

Brand Strategy / Naming / Branding / Packaging

‘Coops Roast’ was a long awaited dream for Ben and Ellis; two mates, who, since school, dreamt of operating their very own coffee roasters. Zip forward a few years, and the dream is actually alive and beating, caffeine flowing through it’s veins, with good sales, a growing customer base and a product that is well beyond it’s competition.

As ‘Coops’ grew, they found it harder and harder to explain themselves, their ‘why’ (see Simon Sinek) and how it related to their brand. Initially they could just rely on the great product, but then, when it came to growing beyond single sales, they both knew they had to stop and re-examine their brand story.

I joined the team and cracked open the heart of Coops Roast to see what was inside. The process began with a deep dive into understanding their ‘why’ and from that, crafting the brand strategy, core statements and re-visiting the brand name.


To be able to get to grips with all of the elements within a brand, you need to kick off from a strong foundation.

Originally called ‘Coops Roast’, the name derived from Ellis’ daughters’ name - which is heartfelt, but wasn’t something either founder thought had real depth in relation to their company. They and anyone employed by them needed a story they could stand behind and share. What followed were many key questions, deep chats and a few runs around their hometown of Lincoln. We ended up with a list of 284 names, eventually whittled down to just 32. These 32 were then taken to all the key team members and voted on (by the power of sticky-dots!). Drawing the final three names, it was already beginning to be clear which name everyone was excited about…


Seven Districts

“We’re proud to be from Lincolnshire, where we sipped our first coffee, burnt our first bean and celebrated our first roast, perfecting our craft as we grew; naturally we wanted our own coffee to be inspired by our home.

Many-a-great tale have been shared over a cup of the ‘dark brew’ and doubtless many more will still be told; to carry the heart of our homeland to the world, we want you to enjoy yourself a cup inspired by the folk-lores woven throughout these Seven Districts.”


Tales, Myths & Folklores

Lincolnshire is a county filled with ancient history, beautiful heritage and age-old folklores. We wanted to take some of these to the world and share their passion through the stories woven throughout these seven districts.

Each of the single origin coffees are named after a folklore from each of the seven districts, taking the unique profiles of the coffee roasts and matching them to the qualities found in the various districts throughout Lincolnshire.

Each bag carries the accompanying folklore and each folklore has been given a beautiful illustration by the hand of Hannah Wheeler, to help bring these long-lost stories back to life. From the Blind Byard who’s hoof-prints can still be seen, to the Great Bell that can still be heard, we’re carrying our stories to the world.


Looks good, tastes good.

From the very beginning we knew that the brand needed to stand out on a shelf. The coffee market is absolutely flooded with various brands and styles; high-end to cheap-and-cheerful, from our initial research we worked out our target market and price points to build the highest quality packaging available within our budget.

Many coffee ‘startups’ opt for the classic kraft bag and black ink stamp, it’s cheap, easy and doesn’t give a negative impact on the brand. But having said that, it doesn’t really bring a positive impact. We wanted these bags to carry the stories we hold so close to who we are, they needed to set the scene - dark, mysterious and intriguing.


Bringing the story home

We wanted customers to walk away with something more than just coffee. We wanted to share the experience of bringing these stories home, so how could we do that in real life?
We created seven individually designed story-boxes to look like books that could sit on a shelf next to each other - a library of our folklores, each with a useful guide and an introduction to Seven Districts.

With all of these elements combined, you can truly walk home with a small piece of Lincolnshire and share each folklore over a cup of the ‘dark brew’.

Working with Big Blond Bear on our project has been nothing but a great experience. What I love about Isaac and the team is their passion. They don’t just do what’s needed, they always go above and beyond by fully immersing themselves in your brand as if it’s their business, too. Lastly, I love how transparent and integral they are, too many agencies these days have ulterior motives; not Big Blond Bear.
— Ben, Seven Districts