Star Outdoor celebrates 15 years of helping cafés and roasters promote their passions

star outdoor

Star Outdoor has built a wealth of experience over the past 15 years in helping cafés and the coffee industry maximise their outdoor branding potential.

According to Managing Director Mark Star, Star Outdoor’s purpose is to support businesses to activate their brands with outdoor branded products across three categories: to promote your passion, to amplify your brand or to protect your community.

Star Outdoor has been supplying products like wind barriers, umbrellas, A-frames, and flags to cafés and coffee businesses nationwide for 15 years that do just that.

“We call those categories the three pillars of our business, and Promote your passion is dedicated to coffee, food, and beverage. Cafés, roasters, coffee bars, and restaurants are in hospitality because they’re passionate about what they’re creating,” Mark tells BeanScene.

“It’s a part of who they are and their dedication to the work, and we want this reflected in the branded products we’re providing them.”

Mark founded Star Outdoor after seeing the need for pop-up marquees and similar products for schools, markets, and events that were portable and sun safe. It wasn’t long before he saw demand for outdoor branding from the corporate and hospitality sectors, and the advent of digital printing making it possible to develop a wide range of products for individual cafés and businesses.

Star Outdoor even has an inhouse graphic design department at its Queensland headquarters to help business owners without a marketing background make the best use of their outdoor space and branding.

“You can’t expect business to come to you. You need to put yourself out there and stand out from the crowd, letting people know you’re there and promoting yourself and your passions,” Mark says.

“Gaining new customers and growing a community of regulars can all be done through consistent and effective branding.”

star outdoor
Café umbrellas are a valuable tool, helping cafés and brands to be noticed.

Star Outdoor works with many leaders in the coffee industry to supply and design their outdoor branding – Campos Coffee, Dimattina Coffee, Wolff Coffee Roasters and Gabriel Coffee to name a few – giving Star Outdoor a wealth of experience when it comes to café branding. Mark says it’s important to consider how outdoor branding will be seen in different circumstances.

“As someone is driving down the street, they will see a café umbrella, even if it’s from 50 or 100 metres away. The umbrella itself is the first visual impression that coffee is there,” he says.

“As they approach closer, they’ll see the café or roaster’s logo big and bold on top, and they might think ‘that’s a coffee I like’ or ‘that café looks smart’. Then, they’ll go and park their car and walk along the footpath. As they get closer, that branding on top of the umbrella will start to disappear and, instead, they see it on the a-frame and wind barriers.”

With COVID-19 and recurring lockdowns putting pressure on a café’s ability to offer table service, Mark says Star Outdoor has seen a surge in interest for outdoor branding and products that enable more seating. While umbrellas and wind barriers can make outdoor seating more comfortable, Mark says seating restrictions have led to another way they can be used to protect the community.

“The wind barrier has become a bit of an unsung hero to cafés that need to limit customers and collect contact information,” he says. “They’re still a highly effective branding item and wind barrier, but now they’re also a crowd control tool to keep your customers safe. You can use them to manage who’s arrived at the café and checked in, where they should be seated, and keep them segregated from passers-by or takeaway customers.”

One of the biggest considerations a café must keep in mind when it comes to outdoor branding, according to Mark, is whether to feature its own branding or that of its suppliers. Using a café umbrella or wind barrier with the logo of a coffee roaster or other product available at the café can save money and appeal to fans of that brand. However, self-branding these products can instead help a café build a name and brand of its own.

“If you use outdoor products featuring the brand of your coffee roaster or another supplier, it’s important to share the ethos of that company. Not only does the promotional material inform people a certain brand is stocked, it also says that you’re aligned with what that brand stands for,” Mark says.

“What we’ve noticed is that more people are co-branding their outdoor products, featuring the logo of the roaster and the café side by side.”

Another trend Mark sees in the café industry is branding becoming more subtle, taking up less space on the umbrella, so it’s less about the brand and more about the passion behind it.

“Some cafés prefer no brand at all. For us, the challenge is talking to the customer about their business, their culture, and what they’re trying to communicate, then replicating that in their outdoor products,” Mark says. “It’s a challenge we enjoy.” 

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This article appears in the August 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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