I have been trying to be too creative with the story and gotten myself tied up in things that don’t matter as far as an overarching idea is concerned. The overarching idea comes first. When applying a narrative to a brand, a myth is simple and effective and it can drive all other things.

My Question : What kind of narrative could be crafted, relying on the myth of Paris, to effectively inspire joining the brand that is Cafe de Paris within its marketplace?

The name Cafe de Paris comes with certain expectations.

What does Paris mean to the marketplace in which the cafe resides?

Romance. Fresh flowers. Beauty. Good coffee. Fine pastries. Cheese. Wine. Delicious crepes. Natural produce. Jams made from fresh fruit. Artistry. Refinement. A rich history full of culture.

The Narrative:

Paris is a city, but it is also a mythic place in the eyes of our market.

Cafe de Paris is not a coffee shop, its a gateway to that mythic place.  It’s where you find the good life, natural produce and jams made from fresh fruit. It’s a place of love and romance. It’s the delicate aroma of fresh roasted coffee, hand made crepes and pastries that melt in your mouth. It is the simple pleasures done beautifully and with value for artistry. Cafe de Paris is the delivery of the myth. It’s a gateway to a place where things are a little bit better.

Touch points:

Curation of every touch point to fit the myth is essential, including the logo, colors of the cafe, the packaging, the smell, and the experience.

Hire French natives when qualified.

Stock pastries made by local French owned pastry shops or made with French recipes.

Summer Festivals: Be present at the Louisville Street Fair and Boulder Creek Festival serving crepes. Provide free samples of cream cheese stuffed and chocolate covered strawberries, reinforcing the Parisian theme of fresh fruit, great pastries and romance. Packaging must represent the brands identity at a glance.

Upon seating guests at the cafe, always provide free of charge a little something such as one of the strawberries provided at the festivals, reinforcing the Parisian theme of fresh fruit, great pastries, romance and the good life. A little extra while expecting nothing in return goes a long ways.

Salon de Paris: Actively support the arts as they have in Paris for centuries.  Keep a curated collection of art on the walls. Hold wine tastings on First Friday art walks through out the summer.

Design invoices, receipts, packaging.

Holiday cards: Design holiday cards faithful to the brand.  Send them out to customers at that special time of year, letting them know the cafe cares.

Finally, create a plan to consistently manage the touch points.


Problem : The wheel isn’t exactly seen as exciting technology.

Flash is good, but there’s the rare occasion when you can connect on a sentimental level.

New is good, but there can be a deeper bond with product: nostalgia.

This product takes us where we ache to go again. ( this is the story )

It’s not a wheel, its a carousel.  It lets us travel round and round, the way a child travels. To a place where we know we were loved. ( this is nostalgic )

Problem : A coffee shop isn’t exactly new and exciting.

Notes from critique

Intro makes no sense and needs rewriting. Doesn’t make my point. Deosnt clarify what narrative I’m using and how it’s appropriate as a brand strategy for this particular product. I am once again throwing everything including the kitchen sink in there. Too many ingredients. Don’t have the right ingredients.

Each part should flow into the next.

Don’t define brand. They don’t care about it.  Do not educate client – it’s patronizing. What they want to know is how are you going to make theirr product come to life? Sell the ideas, sell the approach, sell the concept.

Strategy should come before demographics. Unless my roll out ties in to the demographics.

How does this all apply to my narrative strategy? How is my narrative strategy appropriate for brand? How does the brand position itself in the marketplace for those particular demographics?

Brand strategy is an overarching thing. Ask why is this appropriate for this particular coffee shop, in this particular place, with this particular market? We should be able to draw a line straight through each one and they should all connect. They must flow into and beget each other.The narrative strain (which is in my case the brand strategy) needs to exist in every slide and relate to what I am talking about.

“Seek out interaction” is too general. What does it mean? Be specific.

Interaction with community is NOT BRAND. It is a touch point. It’s implementation. Not brand.

Story is an element of brand.

How is one coffee shop different from another? Good versus bad coffee is not what we’re talking about.

If I am talking about the American myth then THAT IS the strategy. Touch points are how it will be implemented.

What is my overarching narrative (brand strategy) here?

An open cafe? I designed a smiley face on a bag? Mush.

What is the idea customers are going to leave with?

Where is the narrative in interaction? Not there.

We talked about the west, the American myth, the idea of entrepreneurship. These are overarching ideas which brand can be tagged on to. THESE ARE BIG IDEAS… and perhaps designing something to go on a bag can be a part of it.

Thats it.  Encourage entrepreneurship and the American dream through competition for coffee bag designs.

Community, relaxation, etc are not points that can easily be differentiated because every coffee shop in America provides them! You’re more community than the other one?  How is that a winning strategy?

The idea of a brand strategy is to position itself by uniqueness, by attributes.  If there are 5 coffee shops, what is it about this coffee shop that is going to stick in the mind of the consumer?

Fair trade organic?  Possibly, but then again how many coffee shops say that? Quite a few.  So you can’t really hang your hat on that. So continue search…

Why do people remember brands? Is it tied to being chic? If there are 10 clothing designers and they are all chic, what differentiates one?  Narrative.

Use a touch point to effectively disseminate brand. Where are the places the community interacts with the brand? These are touch points but they aren’t the brand.

Interactivity isn’t a niche that is long lasting.

What is the narrative concept that encapsulates all this in a memorable way that uses American myth, cultural ideals, or other?

Community is not a narrative or brand. Community must be hung on an overarching idea.

Community is a part of all brands.  Brands are tribes. “Come be part of my tribe”. That;s every brand.

How do you make one coffee shop easily identifiable, understood, and the consumer in the community really associates with this shop and comes here instead of the others? Taste aside. What is the idea of this place?

What if they do well and want to open up 10 more?  How does it apply? How is it useful?

Dazbog wasn’t first in the marketplace.  Starbucks was.  So they became the anti-starbucks. By their packaging and everything they are the alternative to Starbucks in Denver.  Just as yuppy. They are saying we are the other.

Start broadly.  Start with a narrative.  Think about who they are.  Give a story that encapsulates their attributes, that encapsulates their mission,  who they are and who they want to be.

Encapsulates if they want to be the community place give a narrative why that’s important? That substantiates and last as a brand. Give a story.  That’s the brand. What’s the story?

Then we can work our way down and implement that, what places are we going to interact with the consumer (touch points!)? That’s the strategy.

Don’t get caught up in the  minutia before you know what city you’re going to. Plane, car, truck, horse..  We dont care yet! Identify where you’re going. How are you going to justify san fransisco? Why there? Why is it cooler?

Ownership is my place? Ownership is fleeting.

Coke has contests does that change their brand strategy? No. They are just little one offs. Promote enthusiasm.  Doritos – send in your commercials, well use one of them. Did it change Dorito’s strategy? No. Its just a way to advance it. Don’t confuse advancing with brand strategy. They aren’t bad ideas, but they aren’t brand.

Give a story.  If its about louisville, if it’s about the area, if its about this persons connection to that, about where they wana go, about why this coffee shop is going to be the lightning rod that makes louisville run? Fine! Story.

Think broadly first.  Dont use general words when you can use specific ones.  They vs. UCD students.  Always better to be specific. Interaction – ok. But how does that mean brand? If its an element of brand ok – put it down on the food chart.



Notes from Critique

I have designed verbal masturbation.

All I am really trying to do is look in to is how can brand utilize ideas of community and entrepreneurship? That’s all this is.

Interaction has narrative. You don’t make an interactive narrative. You can make an interactive book – the book is interactive and the book has narrative and the interactions within the book carry narrative.

Flipping a light on and off is interaction. How you flip the light on and off is the narrative.

So what I am creating is an interactive shop. Some of the ways in which this shop will be interactive are providing a way for the community to give their input as far as modifications to the shop, allowing them to paint bricks on the walls, or design the prints on coffee shop bags.

How does any of this tie to creating/looking into aspects of brand? ANSWER THIS

“I’m giving him things.  Are things a brand?” I say I am giving interactions.

Finally : I am going to create a brand strategy. I am not going to create a product. I am going to create information graphics, a roll-out of a brand strategy that utilizes narrative. Specifically the idea of the American values of community and entrepreneurship as they are tied to this particular coffee shop. Describe the touch points. Create a nice little brochure that rolls out the entire strategy, all the touch points, and how the narrative is interconnected amongst all these things to create the idea in the mind of the consumer that promotes through the idea of American entrepreneurship and community a brand that is competitive and differentiates itself within its specific marketplace.

I am making things now.

A Solution

At this time love and community are very relevant in America.

Some relevant statistics below :

91% white
50% 34 and younger
82% college graduates
70% democrat
$109,717 Average Household Income

My Question : What kind of narrative could be crafted, relying on the modern American values of love, community and entrepreneurship, to effectively inspire joining the brand that is Cafe de Paris, rather than just buying from it, while differentiating the brand within the marketplace?

My solution to the question, with regards to my target market and current trends, is to design a program ( not a computer program ) that makes the coffee shop an ongoing narrative encouraging the modern American values of love and community through interaction.

Through this program community participation could take the form of decisions about modifications to the shop, or bringing students in to paint their own bricks on a wall ( which has its own symbolism ), or providing to the community the chance to have their designs printed for a period of time on the outside of coffee bags.

When the narrative becomes interactive it becomes intertwined with the community which makes it the community coffee shop. This could inspire joining the brand rather than just buying from it, while creating differentiation within the marketplace as no shop in the area currently has such a narrative in effect.

In essence the community becomes a part of the narrative and the shop becomes something they hold dear.

Reiteration / Refining The Question More.

Louisville is :
91% white
50% 34 and younger
82% college graduates
70% democrat
$109,717 Average Household Income

Tie the narrative to a myth/modern american values.

This has little to do with the coffee shop.  It has to do with peoples perception of the shop, and how its trying to differentiate itself.

What sort of american values does Louisville share with this shop? Love, peace, coexistence, good will, community and progress.

What sort of perception does it have?  How does it want to differentiate itself?  Better coffee and a better community.

How could I craft a narrative that relies on some sort of american values ( What matters right now? love, peace, coexistence,  good will, community ) to differentiate a coffee shop within the marketplace?

Remember: What is the narrative problem which if I solve, helps me create something that brings in more business?

***What kind of narrative could be crafted, relying on the modern American values of love, coexistence, good will, and community, to effectively inspire joining the brand that is Cafe de Paris, rather than just buying from it, while differentiating the brand within the marketplace?***

Should the community deliver the message?  Should the message be about coffee & tea?  I don’t think so.

Perhaps instead about the values of the people who come in – effectively associating Cafe de Paris with the values of Louisville?

How could we make the community part of the narrative?

Notes from Critique Monday, April 29th

How could a motion based narrative  promoting the cafe inform those who are looking for information, and inspire them to join the brand rather than just buying from it, while differentiating it within the saturated marketplace

I am getting closer.

How is narrative not as effective as it could be within a brand?

I have to figure out specifically what I want to look at.

I am still asking too broad a question.

What kinds of things am I thinking about to craft a narrative to differentiate this cafe within the marketplace?

The idea of rebirth is tied to what? How is narrative tied to rebirth? Its about the rebirth of the shop. We are not interested in the shop.

Does this (rebirth) tie into some sort of myth? Some sort of national ideal or moral value?

What kind of narrative is it? This is the narrative question. For example : How could I create a narrative that relies on the american myth to differentiate a coffee shop within a marketplace? <— This is being very specific in relation to the narrative question.

As I craft this I shouldnt care about the coffee shop/owner.  They are just a vehicle.  It has very little to do with this coffee shop.

This has to do with peoples perception of this coffee shop, and how it’s trying to differentiate itself on this block.

Maybe it has everything to do with small town America, the small town myth, and small town America ties into certain types of storytelling and myths. Small business, entrepreneurship, the dream of owning your own business, roads paved with gold. These are all American.

Whatever I do I have to reduce it to : what is actually the problem? For our purposes it needs to relate to narrative.

The problem is not differentiating – that is the end goal. What is the narrative problem which if I solve will help me create something that solves the differentiation/more business problem?

Think of this as problems within problems.

They want more business. How do we attract more business, how do we create brand? This leads to the question what story are we going to tell to attract more business? This is a narrative question.

What is the narrative problem which if I solve, helps me create something that brings in more business?  This is a narrative question. Then what elements of narrative do I have to look at to create an effective narrative that can differentiate and attract business.

I have to answer the central question first. Go in order.

More effective narrative creates a more effective brand which creates more business.

Personas work for some people.  Or I could look at cultural studies, look at trends, look at speech, look at systemic ways people are drawn to things, look at systems, look at the fundamental building blocks that create these things.

Systems are a thread that connect your personas.

In this case I want to think about how am I creating an effective narrative to solve my problem?  This is the main concern of this project.