#Branding #Communication #Service design

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.


KAFO A4 letterheads, envelope, businesscard etc. Screenshot of the KAFO homepage T-shirt with the slogan "we hate bad coffee" Guide to placing the KAFO logo on coffee machines KAFO pattern on a red background white minivan with we hate bad coffee written on it Two spreads of the KAFO cvi book