Ethiopian Fine Coffees Harnessing hopeful optimism to create value for a nation

The challenge:

Create prosperity for farmers by developing new Intellectual Property for Ethiopian Fine Coffee and the three villages, which produce the finest coffee in the world.

Our thinking:

Ethiopia is the oldest yet most undervalued coffee growing nation in the world. Four million Ethiopian farmers, traders and carters were not benefiting from the financial value being derived from their products by the big multinational coffee suppliers. Three villages in particular, Yirgacheffe, Harar and Sidamo all produce different, excellent coffees which deserve to be recognised in the same way Parma ham, Champagne and Cognac all confer authenticity and distinctive fine quality.

Our travels highlighted that we needed to reflect Ethiopia’s new-found optimism and hope. To reflect this we developed a Brand Story about ‘A new dawn for a nation’. The brand architecture uses a symbol of a branded coffee bean, which is capable of being stenciled on coffee sacks using the most basic processes. It is underscored with each village’s name – uniting them under the overall Ethiopian Fine Coffee identity. The whole look broke with the conventions of premium branding, creating a very distinctive ‘un-designed’ brand identity. We also produced a suite of imagery to bring the optimistic side of Ethiopian life to the fore.

Its Impact

We delivered a new Brand Story, brand architecture, brand identity and photographic assets to bring the story to life. The result was re-evaluation of Ethiopian coffee that saw exports increase by $100 million in 2007/8. Indeed in 2008 African Business reported that ‘Ethiopia can expect to earn between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion a year for virtually the same volume of coffee, thanks to branding.”


Brand and Business Insight
Brand Positioning
Brand Architecture
Brand Story



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