Brands Are People Too [PSFK NYC 2012]

Todd Camichael, the founder of La Colombe Torrefaction coffee discusses how by seeing your brand as a human being, you can better connect with customers.

At the PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2012 on Friday, our diverse lineup of speakers are sharing valuable insights and ideas about technology, business and creativity.

Todd Carmichael, CEO & Co-Founder of coffee company La Colombe Torrefaction, has spent the past 18 years advancing the way the nation experiences its coffee. In pressing the limits of taste, service, and most notably coffee sourcing–venturing into the world’s developing countries to responsibly and sustainably gather the planet’s best coffee no matter the origins–Carmichael is offering an alternative to big chain coffee retailers.

Carmichael manages the brand philanthropically ‘as if it were a decent person.’ Confessing that he’s ‘not passionate’ about coffee, becaue that coffee is a democratic luxury that should be accessible to everyone, and affordable — and therefore not thought about with heated emotion.  As one of the first few roasters for Starbucks, he’s witnessed a landscape that’s become increasing self-serving:

I do believe that every corporation has the one goal and that is to make only money. Google is now the man – ‘The Big Brother.’ They didn’t stick to their core belief of  ‘do no harm.’

The Acid Test: A Speed Date with the Human Brand La Colombe

“People, at the end of the day, like decent people.” For the analogue company its all about staying relevant and keeping an open heart. La Colombe is a craftsman that’s in it for the long haul. It’s not selling out or going public. The craft is coffee roasting.

Carmichael recognizes customers and employees as people — they’re not all potential clients.

‘Make it big and get out’ is not the philosophy of a middle weight company like La Columbe. We source coffee in third world countries so we recognize these real human beings and see the world for what it truly is.

For more insights from Todd, check out PSFK’s Need to Know Magazine

La Colombe Torrefaction / @toddcarmichael

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