I tell people that our brand is coffee, and every time I say this, they look at me quizzically. It’s a great way to get their attention, a technique our Lord mastered. Coffee, from a brand perspective, is a metaphor. It precisely communicates what we are about while giving direction on how to export our message.
My long-term objective is to deconstruct the professional counseling model while simultaneously building a strong and exportable worldview of discipleship in families and local churches. Coffee communicates this presupposition, right?
Universal Soul Care
Think about it. Coffee communicates two individuals who are sitting together, working through their problems from a sufficiency of Scripture worldview. Any Christian can bring soul care to any other Christian, and they can do this from any location, i.e., coffee shop (Romans 15:14).
Too often a Christian will disqualify himself from the discipleship process by saying he does not know how to do soul care. Ironically, the woman at the well could say, “come see a man,” and she only knew the man for about a half-minute (John 4:29).
Feel, Vibe, and Look
By deconstructing the counseling model while building out a discipleship worldview, we picked coffee as the metaphor for our brand. Coffee communicates many things. Here are some of the words that come from our coffee brand:
Relationship, Friendship, Story, Grace, Casual, Coffee Shop, Personal, Togetherness, Life, Help, Hope, Community, Discipleship, Gospel, 1-on-1, Training, Change, Repentance, Culture, Relevance, Identity, Fellowship, Communication, Encouragement, Leadership, Others, Authentic, Advice.
And here are some of the vibes that we run from while screaming with terror: Clinical, Counseling, Preacher, Stiff, Medical, Institutional, Christian Cliches.
No Jesus Junk
And, by the grace of God, we will never have Jesus junk on our website, which includes papyrus, crosses, and fishes. If a person is going to be offended by our resources, that offense will be Christ, not the paraphernalia hanging on our walls.
This idea explains why the words that communicate the vibe of our site are clean, put-together, real, genuine, trustworthy, current, personal, and, by all means, winsome. (Christians do not laugh enough.)
A gay guy wrote me, saying he believed he could talk to me because he felt the warmth and welcomeness, even though he knew that I teach homosexuality is a sin. He got our brand:
Let the gospel do the offending, not how we present or communicate the gospel.
Keeping It Real
After we figured out our metaphor, it was not hard to find the voice, tone, descriptors, look, and feel. From there, we came up with our colors, fonts, and other ways we communicate our brand visually.
Coffee also gave us insight into our logo. We went with my name because it’s my signature; it’s me, a real person, which is better than a “corporate-looking” AT&T ball.
And then there are our photos. All our pictures are real-life, not CGI, PhotoShop, or other forms of trick (artificial) photography. Real people going through situational challenges and personal hardships need genuine, authentic, compassionate, and practical soul care.
So we picked coffee as our brand. Find your metaphor, build your brand.