What we did? Concept writing Brand image Book design
Draper Startup house is a hospitality concept like no other. It shifts the paradigm, combining a hostel with a work space. And adding a strong dose of a social aspect – where entrepreneurial minds meet, new ideas are born.
With locations from Manila to Austin to Tallinn and activities ranging from business education to catering, it all needed a focused and consolidated presentation. Brand Manual wrote and designed them a Brand Book – introducing and explaining the one-of-a-kind concept, going through the values and explaining visually how Draper Startup House transforms simple hostel stays into new connections between entrepreneurs. This is a venue where new ideas are inspired and companies are born.
The book builds on three cornerstones:
Connect. Inspire. Empower.
Draper Startup House has a very strong foundation. The whole concept is founded on empowerment of it tenants and the 9 hostels already operating on 3 continents are a living proof it works. It’s all part of a larger Draper network – educating novice entrepreneurs through the the Draper University, incubating freshly started companies by engaging its pool of mentors and helping them to grow by financing, raising money and finding investors.
The book we designed reflects this attitude. It’s copywriting and imagery is all about people and creating connections between them, regardless of the location. We figured out what really drives the startuppers and what motivates investors to join. A list of money-making companies validates the concept. There’s tremendous energy in the Draper Startup House – and we hope the book emanates it as well. Inspiration is a powerful tool after all.
The ambition of the company is all but meek – by 2028 there would be a Draper Startup House in every major city in the world, which will help them achieve their mission of enabling one million entrepreneurs by 2030. Brand Manual is proud to be a part of that story.
Blender is a new juice and coffee bar. The maiden outlet was opened in Tallinn, Estonia and is part of a broader service network, made up of Apollo cinemas and entertainment megastores.
There are dozens of juice bars out there and they all serve juice. So starting a new juice bar with just better, fresher juice was certainly no recipe for success. The only thing that would make a new juice bar really stand out from the crowd was a memorable customer experience. And that is what we created.
Those rowdy, noisy Estonians
Estonians are mocked by their Southern neighbours for being quiet and reserved to the point of being taken for dead. With Blender we aimed to break that stereotype for ever. The guys at the counter are big mouthed. Loud music is everywhere. Roaring noise of fruits being sacrificed at the altar of juice saturates the room. All of this energy washes over customer before they’ve even had a chance to taste their fruit concoction or caffeine shot.
We designed the service concept and together with interior designers, cooks and service managers formed it into a coherent whole. Finding the right counter staff was a challenge. Yet having clearly described the expected working style made it possible to repeat, laying a foundation for a scalable business. Finally we divined the name and created its visual identity – bold bits and pieces that support the service concept.
The emotional charge of the brand is conveyed throughout the bar – from the interior design to the heavy typeface, brisk copywriting and warm colours. Following their visit, the active social feed keeps customers tuned in even away from the counter.
Still in its infancy, the first Blender joint has already made its mark and created a swarm of fans. We wish it good luck and look forward to seeing it grow.
Interior design: Link Projekt
Photography: Oleg Hartsenko
A bold name and some music you can’t miss
A scalable concept
Building a connection to the Apollo entertainment world
Blender for here or to go?
Sandwiches taste smashingly good
The guys behind the counter (and beyond) are the ones who make Blender tick
It’s all about the B
Name creation for the menu + the attitude
A blender experience means also active presence in social media
Marinas are a complicated business. While nice boats and a restaurant is what everyone sees, a marina’s real business lies elsewhere. The benefit of the port may be, that it acts as a tourism gateway for the municipality or as an opening to the sea for local sailing enthusiasts. Or perhaps a place for owners to store their boats over winter.
Whatever dominates the money stream, a good reputation among boat owners is crucial. The most effective way to build that reputation is by pampering the summer sea cruisers. However, how the marina is seen by a first time visitor arriving by sea can be very different from how a member or the port operator sees it.
Using the rapidly developing Port Noblessner as an example, we designed a model of marina service, which can be applied universally.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the first step of making a marina usable is to consider the view from the sea. Marinas are built by people working from land. What makes sense from terra firma doesn’t make any sense at all from 2 miles out on the bay. A first time visitor will see a coastline which mostly looks the same, save for the city close by. The difference in proportion between the sea and buildings on land is considerable, therefore visible and understandable signage towards the sea must be of a different scale than what faces land.
In interviews with yacht owners of various nationalities around the Baltic Sea, we also discovered that it is the hygiene factors, which are most important. After days, or weeks, spent at sea, clean washing facilities and toilets are very highly appreciated. In many ways, the sailor’s needs mirror those of the camper: basic functions well done is more important than exclusive services, than can only be enjoyed if the basics have been taken care of.
Secondly, the generational difference in looking for information about ports became apparent. The older generation relies on printed material, while the younger generation will online search before weighing anchor. However, both groups will be paper dependent once at sea, as mobile coverage (even by the coastline) is patchy at best. Roaming costs also makes people reconsider internet searches beyond their nations shores. Therefore, having accurate material printed about the port, requires quite an effort on the side of the port to ensure that information reaches all publishers in time for the new season. And again, it is the perspective from the sea that is important, not the amenities for local pedestrian customers.
Building the services of the marina in reference to the needs of the sailing visitor, will immeasurably improve the impression of the marina. By far the most important factors are related to doing the basics very well, which draws in people, with whom others want to interact. In other words, it becomes a nice place to tie up the boat. From thereon, if the sky (or sea) is the limit, whereas the focus always has to be on delivering the hygiene factors well.
Losing focus is common with growing companies. KAFO was no exception. As the leading importer of Jura and Cimbali coffee machines and Lavazza coffee, KAFO was almost single-handedly responsible for the coffee revolution in Estonia. The country moved from the drip-drip-drip of nuclear waste to crema topped caffeine injections in less than 10 years.
However, as the consumer became more knowledgable and demanding, competition moved in and created price pressure. Competition increased in every segment served by KAFO, while they themselves started to meet HORECA customer requests, for lower costs on consumables. At the same time the sortiment of goods expanded and, for some time, it seemed possible to consider the thought of selling even other dry goods, which aren’t coffee.
The company was experiencing quick growth, but a few management decisions had created an environment of resentment among staff. Rebranding to KAFO was already decided, but the implementation plan was mostly cosmetic, while the problems the company was facing, would not be fixed by changing the name. A clear strategy to forward was required.
Working through our proprietary workshop format, Branding ABC, as well as interviews with KAFO customers, we discovered that, which other’s value about KAFO: the real strength of the company was not in selling machines and raw materials, but in the service they provided. One large HORECA client went so far as to say, that they don’t care what machines or what coffee is in the machines. As long as KAFO takes care of them, it will be good.
Good coffee requires three things: a machine, beans and knowledge. The company was founded on the knowledge of coffee and what customers valued most, was the service provided. Refocusing the business on delivering a better experience was encapsulated in the statement “we hate bad coffee”. Whereas every coffee company seems to say the obvious (we love good coffee), the idea that while KAFO “hates bad coffee”, it also suggests that KAFO can do something about it.
The strategy, therefore, has become opinion leadership. That good coffee can be done in many different ways, and that KAFO has the knowledge to get the best out of your favorite cup. And no, it is not a nice, “yes, of course we can help” approach. “We hate bad coffee” and where KAFO can make a difference, there it will.