Veneziano Coffee Roasters goes soul searching

Veneziano Coffee Roasters

Veneziano Coffee Roasters has undergone a brand evolution to rediscover its essence, what it stands for, and how it can use its voice to reach the broader coffee community.

Ten years ago, the idea of a marketing rebrand would simply involve a revised logo in a new font and colour, but these days, it’s about so much more than visual identity. It’s a deep dive into a brand’s DNA.

After five reiterations of the Veneziano Coffee Roasters brand, design agency Pop + Pac was tasked with the job of helping Veneziano navigate its brand refresh. Managing Director Craig Dickson says this time was the longest and most extensive process yet.

“The first brand relaunch we did 18 years ago involved [Veneziano Co-founder] Rocky Veneziano drawing on the back of a cocktail napkin,” Craig says.

“We’ve been through the process a few times, but this time around, it wasn’t just about designing a suite of new packaging. It was about digging deep to understand who we are, what we stand for, and why we’re different to our competitors before playing around with our visual identity and all the things that underpin it.”

Pop + Pac is renowned for its work in the design space, in particular in the hospitality and specialty coffee industry. To date, David Popov and business partner Mauris Lai have worked on brand strategies for seven roasting brands and more than 50 hospitality venues, in what David describes as their “passion project”.

veneziano coffee roasters
Veneziano’s new microlot range is celebrated by use of colour and map graphics.

“No matter how many brands we work with, the outcome is never the same, because we take the time to understand the individual business, listen to its needs and appreciate its storyline. No brand identity is ever the same,” David says.

Veneziano’s brand strategy was an inclusive process involving its entire team from sales managers to customer service staff and accountants to roasters. Each were involved in branding exercises, responding to questionnaires, and answering obscure questions, such as the type of dinosaur the business would represent, and the colour it best resembles. The results, David says, signified an underlying representation of excellence that helped identify the Veneziano brand as one that strived to make a meaningful impact in each segment of its business.

“We kept coming back to this brand essence of ‘coffee with significance’, which can be expanded to the farmers Veneziano works with, on-the-ground staff, and every person associated with the business,” David says.

Craig adds that the company has previously shied away from saying it’s larger than the average specialty roaster, but with the help of David, he unpacked its importance.

“We learned that our size, talent, and access to resources is to our advantage. We have deeper pockets, more tools in the toolbox, and more things we can leverage because of our size and experience,” Craig says.

“Veneziano has always been conscious of what it pays at farm level, the impact it has on farming communities, and choosing to work with people that embrace this idea of ‘coffee with significance’. It means we can make a difference to the lives of our customers and make them more profitable. We can have a significant impact on our staff and give them a career. As a roaster with a commercial and specialty division, we have an even greater ability to make a significant impact at origin and to the farmers we source coffee from compared to smaller guys.”

With its newfound confidence and brand essence, ‘coffee with significance,’ along with Veneziano’s new hero message, ‘everyday evolution’, symbolising its ability to grow in this ever-changing market, David used graphic imagery to evoke the brand’s new identity.

For the first time in Veneziano’s 20-year history, its blends have undergone a name change to support the new strategy. While the former names hold a special place in the team’s heart, the blend composition, flavour profile, and quality has not changed.

veneziano coffee roasters
Veneziano’s blends have undergone a name change to support its new strategy.

Veneziano’s range will now be known as Crave, Elevate, Pulse, Aspire, and Soar. Each name evokes a sense of energy, action, and evolution, with the blend’s flavour profiles the inspiration for the new colour theme.

Veneziano’s hero microlot range has also undergone a makeover, with the country of origin celebrated by use of colour and map graphics. Even the colours of traditional clothing from different origins were considered.

“We wanted this process to be an easy transition for the consumer, so we used colours of the existing product packaging with greater depth and earthier tones. We didn’t want to alienate the current customer to the point they were receiving a totally different experience,” David says.

“The use of coloured ribbons takes on the personality, flavour profiles, and name of each product. Like the idea of ‘everyday evolution,’ you can see in the new packaging how the ribbons move and change direction.”

The team went through about eight different choices of names and designs to reach the end result. Craig says while customers will undergo a natural period of adjustment, it was important that Veneziano brought its much-loved products in line with the new strategy in a more aspirational way.

“We’ve had the same brand identity and packaging coming up to five years now. As we well know, the coffee industry is dynamic and changing rapidly. Daily in our business, we seek to find new ways to maintain a fresh approach to what we do, to challenge our status quo and do things better, from the way we source coffee, approach barista competitions, and innovate with new products. Our look and feel are no different,” Craig says.

“We’ve been talking about changing our blend names for 10 years. The Italian names we had for our blends like ‘forza’ aren’t as relevant now as when we started the business 20 years ago. Back then we didn’t have a strong understanding of who we were, but now we do.”

The Veneziano logo has been treated with small visual updates, including a custom designed typeface. The wings, however, remain intact and the core identifying marque of the Veneziano brand.

“Our logo has built up equity over the years and is well recognised across the industry. This evolution was not about changing for the sake of change, but adding layers of depth to our brand in a rapidly changing marketplace,” Craig says.

Veneziano was committed to its brand evolution long before a global pandemic rocked the Australian hospitality industry. The year-long process resulted in Veneziano’s new packaging sitting in the warehouse since March. The team then took the time to communicate its new brand ethos to wholesale customers before teasing fans with a social media campaign ahead of its official unveiling on 31 August.

“One thing we haven’t done during this pandemic is back off the marketing we’re doing. If anything, we’ve spent more on marketing in the last two to three months than we ever have. It’s so important to communicate and stay connected to our customers,” Craig says.

“We could have easily said ‘it’s COVID, stop spending money and stop our brand launch’, but we made the decision to plough ahead so that when we come out of COVID, we’re ready to go and hopefully even stronger on the other side.”

Craig says this decision not only gives Veneziano’s wholesale customers faith in the brand’s commitment to market longevity, but allows it to connect with the retail market on a deeper level.

“We now have the opportunity to go on a creative journey, connect with the B2C market, grow our presence in the retail market, and position ourselves in the consumer space in a fun and vibrant way,” he says.

“This relaunch is an exciting next phase for Veneziano. It forces us to be more creative in our connection with the consumer market and think outside the box. We’re excited to move with the times and evolve – something we’ve always done and will continue to do.”

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This article appears in the October 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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