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Marley Coffee: Rethinking a Family Legacy


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When Rohan Marley bought 52 acres of fertile farmland in Jamaica, he had no idea that he would someday use it to harvest coffee. Fifteen years and 6 million dollars later, Marley Coffee® is setting high standards for sustainability and charity in the industry—helping Rohan create a legacy all his own. Brandfolder chatted with the company’s Creative Director, Nicole Whittle, about Jamaica, sustainable coffee farming, and the importance of brand altruism.

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The Marley Coffee® brand encourages consumers to embody the Marley lifestyle. Could you explain more about how your overall branding efforts help enforce these ideals?

Nicole: Marley Coffee® is based on the authentic and positive attributes of the Marley name and what this represents. The brand is soulful, uplifting, unifying and vibrant. Marley Coffee® is more than just coffee; we see it as a movement to support sustainable, organic and fairly-traded farming practices.

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It seems like Marley Coffee® is very influenced by Jamaica, and the idea of returning to one’s roots. How are these values expressed? 

Nicole: The brand values come from Rohan Marley, Chairman of Marley Coffee® and his commitment to his family’s legacy.

Our principles are rooted in the Marley farm in Chepstowe, Portland, Jamaica. It serves as a model for sustainability and a way to give back to the local community. Last year, I was fortunate to travel through Jamaica on our company’s heritage trip. After exploring the organic Marley farm, we visited the nearby Chepstowe Basic School, where some of our farmers’ children attend. We made a contribution to build the school’s first computer lab. The trip was truly inspirational.

In Ethiopia, our commitment is to improve lives, ecology and economics at origin through the WaterWise™ Coffee project. The creation of “vetiver wetland” sites is a sustainable approach to purifying water. We invite coffee drinkers to make a difference, simply by making a choice to enjoy Marley Coffee® .

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What sets Marley Coffee® apart from any other coffee brand on the shelf?

Nicole: The packaging reflects the brand heritage and our quality product with its vibrant colors and homage to Jamaica. The brand delivers on a level of depth that customers can connect with. Whether it’s the messages of unity and one love, or the universal appeal of Bob Marley’s music. One cup is a simple pleasure. Smile with the rising sun! 

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What advice do you have for other businesses trying to create a unique concept that consumers love?

Nicole: Be genuine, know what you stand for and make a difference.

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Michelle Polizzi is a freelance writer and former content coordinator for Brandfolder. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her bicycling around Denver, catching a live concert or cooking up a fresh vegetarian dish.

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