Cameron Fry, Creative Director and Owner of Liqui Group, tells us about his company, their role in the Global Coffee Festival 2020, plus how important branding is in both the physical and digital space.
Tell us about yourself and Liqui Group?
I am proud to say that since 2007 we've been creating innovative brands and interiors based on a detail-focused approach and a belief that things can be different. Liqui Group and our team have flourished into an award-winning, multi-disciplined, sustainable design studio based in both London & Brighton in the UK, and Los Angeles in the USA. We’ve worked hard to build a reputation for creative thinking combined with effective commercial purpose and a total service approach, becoming an design authority in the coffee industry. We offer our clients a full service approach - helping them with market analysis, brand development, interior concept creation, fit-out, bespoke furniture and lighting design and manufacturing.
If I had to say what I am most proud of, it is our manufacturing capabilities twinned with our design knowhow. The team and I have created a design practice with sustainable manufacturing at its core, with our design studios deliberately overlooking our main workshop. This means we can offer bespoke joinery and customised products for coffee shop interior projects all around the world. It makes us almost unique in this field and means we can go beyond what would normally be possible for an interior design agency.
Why is coffee shop branding so important?
Branding is everything. This cannot be overstated. Some organisations put it to one side and view it as a luxury. They might view branding as just the logo, focusing on getting the interior and operational aspects of a business up and running. This is obviously important, you wouldn't want a polished brand for an organisation with no substance.
If you think about it though, the companies and organisations people talk about know that brand is everything. It’s the key ingredient that elevates their business. Some people and organisations get it, others don't seem to be able to get their heads around it. This may be because it's rooted in emotion and human behaviour. It’s difficult to make it conform to measurable principles. Businesses however that do understand it have a huge advantage and are obvious to spot. You can see it in everything they do. From the way they present themselves on social media, the way they engage with customers, their tone of voice, the service, the food, the coffee, the interior — all a reflection of who they are, their story and their character. If a coffee shop, or restaurant, or any organisation for that matter overlooks their brand, they’re overlooking their importance. If they overlook their importance, their story and what makes them special why should people care — people will overlook them.
COVID will accelerate coffee shop and hospitality organisations' understanding of the power of brand. This is because they’ll quickly begin to see the companies that do understand it move forward and flourish. Now more than ever it is so important to engage and create meaningful experiences with customers and communities. Businesses need their support. They need people to care. It means emotional bonds need to be created and this can only be done through the communication of a well-defined and designed brand.
With this all being said however, it is very important to remember that a brand cannot be faked. A brand in its simplest form is the communication of a story and personality. A story and personality cannot be faked. Consumers are more educated than ever; they can easily sniff out an organisation that is just saying what they think consumers want to hear.
Branding is so important to coffee shops, or any organisation, because it gives them the voice to communicate with their customers in both the physical and digital world in a clear and considered way. It should be viewed as the core of any business that wants to prosper, as communication is the only way lasting and meaningful relationships can be built.
What is your involvement in The Global Coffee Festival 2020?
We’ve been ingrained within the coffee industry for many years. This industry and our clients’ have helped build our business, as we’ve helped build theirs. To us it’s more important than ever to support our industry. We want to be there in any way we can to help the coffee industry prosper. Our aim is to continue with pushing new and existing client's businesses forward. This is why, when asked to be one of the sponsors for this event, we had to say yes. We’ve supported London, Amsterdam, New York and LA Coffee Festival for many years. Working to bring their vision and brand to life at every festival through event design and brand experience design, including working with lead sponsors to hone their brand experience. This year we’re proud to have worked with them to create their television set — the focal point for Global Coffee Festival.
Cameron Fry will be taking part in a panel interview at The Global Coffee Festival entitled Time, Space and Design in Hospitality. Register for your FREE ticket today.