Mabus Agency + My Brother's Cup
The combination of quality products, passionate business owners, and beautiful stories goes a long way toward making a product stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Mike Pittman, Founder
Mike Pittman is a soft-spoken man with a strong presence. He’s determined. He’s passionate. He’s got a vision that isn’t hard to grab onto and run with. Mike makes great coffee so he can take the proceeds and help people who live in the world’s most remote reaches. He works all day, every day so he can afford to carry a bunch of medical supplies up a mountain to a remote village in East Asia. And he’s no spring chicken. He does it because it’s his God-given calling. He loves people.
When Mike came to Mabus Agency, he was having trouble growing his coffee roastery beyond the local level. Regular orders were coming in, but new business was slow. Mike worried his look couldn’t compete in the hip and constantly evolving U.S. coffee market, and he was right. His branding, design, packaging, and website got him to a point but could carry him no further. They were impressive efforts for a startup, but they needed refreshing.
The Old Logo
Wasn't getting it done
The original My Brother’s Cup brand worked in the local context, but as the brand became regional, the look grew stale. The icon, which featured one mug pouring coffee into another mug, was too on the nose. The icon mostly existed as a sticker placed on the brown coffee bags before shipping them.
Similarly, the website was dark and incomplete in places—allowing customers to buy coffee, but not giving them a simple path through the shopping process. Online customers will abandon purchases if the process takes more than a few clicks, so My Brother’s Cup needed a faster sales system on its site, as well as sales copy and promotional landing pages for best-selling roasts and bulk customers.
To attain regional reseller distribution and increase online sales, Mike knew he needed better visuals, better packaging, and a stronger web presence.
Mabus Agency spent weeks with Mike, exploring each of his coffee roasts. We watched him make his coffee and listened to him play his guitar in between batches. He talked about how long he spent getting his staple roast, Relationship Blend, perfect. He talked about his friends in East Asia a lot. We knew we needed to know more about them.
Paul Mitchell, Mabus Agency’s brand director at the time, wanted a better look at what made Mike Pittman so passionate about his coffee. He got his passport and his travel visa. He bought a backpack and a new pair of hiking boots. He bought a lot of goofy blue bandanas. Paul hails from the Pacific Northwest, and Mike took him to altitudes he couldn’t get used to. But along the way, Paul discovered that My Brother's Cup wasn't about the roasting process. It was about relationships. It was about people.
You see, Mike doesn’t even drink coffee. He never developed a taste for the stuff. But, his wife has a discerning palate for it, and the people he most longs to help live in a region where coffee beans are king. We would tell you more about that location, but then we would all be in trouble. The reason he helps them is because their government refuses to.
Mike didn’t begin roasting coffee because he loves coffee. He began roasting because he loves people.
He makes the coffee and his wife, Kay, does quality control. The coffee company offers him cover as he visits a region where, because of his beliefs, he is unwelcome. He is also able to use the profits from sales in the U.S. to provide humanitarian aid to his friends in East Asia. Mike aspires to grow his sales to a level that will allow him to offer his friends in these remote communities better prices for their beans, bringing his mission full circle.
Story of the Brand
My Brother’s Cup coffee offers more than a daily dose of caffeine. The coffee offers drinkers 30 minutes together to sip and talk. It offers a break in a busy day. And, on a much larger scale, it offers hope to people forgotten by their own government. The new branding had to be hopeful and vibrant, but relaxing and communal.
The icon is simple line art—a droplet sprouting wings. It’s simplicity combined with hope. It’s two opposite but mirrored sides brought together through a drop of coffee.
The orange color draws attention—it’s the caffeine.
The white and gray patterns are earthy, like the beans the coffee is brewed from, like the agricultural communities the coffee benefits.
When My Brother’s Cup is on the shelf, Mike usually isn’t around to tell the story of the coffee himself. The bags have to stand on their own. Making My Brother’s Cup coffee stand out on shelves was no small order. Even the most basic grocery stores carry multiple brands of coffee with well-designed, eye-grabbing packaging. Mabus Agency combined large, clear, and natural imagery with the My Brothers Cup brand elements to create metallic bags that stand out on a shelf without being overwhelming.
Without sales, My Brother’s Cup can’t achieve its humanitarian mission, so Mabus Agency set out to build a site focusing on the coffee's superior quality, letting the mission serve as a secondary selling point. The site features motion graphics, interactive scrolling, and beautiful visuals combined with practical navigation to get the user through the purchase process seamlessly. Along the way, the user can choose as much or as little interaction as they like without being distracted from the site’s mission—selling coffee.
To make sure My Brother’s Cup sells as much coffee as possible online, the site was streamlined to focus on selling. While users can read about the mission of My Brother’s Cup, watch videos about Mike’s humanitarian work, or read up on coffee facts, they are never more than four clicks away from a bag of coffee being delivered to their mailbox. Customers can pay using traditional online methods or quickly check out with Apple Pay and PayPal. The site also offers monthly subscription services and recurring order discounts to ensure customers stay connected with the company while making their shopping experience easier.