Fire&Spark President, Dale Bertrand, sat down with Brad Flaherty, the Chief Marketing Officer and Creative Director for Fire Dept. Coffee, a veteran-owned and firefighter-ran ecommerce brand that sells great coffee in order to support an even better mission; 10% percent of net proceeds go to help injured and ill first responders and their families. During the interview, Brad told the story of how Fire Dept. Coffee has managed to use their incredible mission to build a community around their brand purpose, including how he was able to discover the right messaging for their audience and grow the brand with authentic content. Watch the full recording below:
If you’re short on time, here are some takeaways:
Powerful messaging propels brand support. When branding and marketing your ecommerce company, using messaging that your audience can genuinely resonate with will boost brand awareness. Fire Dept. Coffee uses the phrase, “Run by firefighters for the benefit of firefighters” to demonstrate their support of the firefighter community, bring awareness to their mission, resonate with their customers, and stand out in the market.
Authentic connections are easy with a like minded audience. Finding the right audience becomes much simpler if your customers care about the same values you promote. It was easy for Fire Dept. Coffee to build authentic customer and partner relationships because the parties were in support of the same cause: supporting firefighters, first responders, and veterans.
Your content shouldn’t be selling all the time. Brad made a great point that products shouldn’t constantly be shoved down customers’ throats. Instead, Fire Dept. Coffee focused on building trust within their community, leading to genuine brand loyalty.
Influencers who love your brand will promote it for free. When it comes to influencer marketing, many brands tend to focus only on budget. However, Fire Dept. Coffee was able to get multiple free influencer endorsements from one simple fact: they loved the brand’s mission and wanted to get involved.
Engagement is a result of authentic content. Brad mentioned that creating something that isn’t actually there will only drive away your target audience and make your content irrelevant and confusing. Fire Dept. Coffee found success with social media content by focusing on comedic real-world scenarios that the firefighter community could relate to.
Focus on your core market and the rest will follow. Fire Dept. Coffee doesn’t try to appeal to every consumer, but rather uses messaging that targets their specific market: firefighters. As other coffee lovers became aware of Fire Dept. Coffee’s donation efforts, the brand’s customer base rapidly grew without the marketing straying away from their core customer.
***A special thanks to Brad Flaherty who made this event successful.***