Methods Used

Photo Journeys
Competitive Audit
User Surveys
Journey Mapping
Click Testing
Usability Testing
Desirability Testing

Tools Used

Pen & Paper
Optimal Workshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Spark

The user is a 25-44 yr old living in the Twin Cities who wants to buy good quality coffee beans from a socially responsible brand.

The Challenge

Peace Coffee’s message is that they roast incredible coffee and do it with a socially conscious and farmer first business model. Even though Peace Coffee has a great reputation and loyal following with young Twin Cities residents, they think they could reach even more TC residents and sell more coffee if they improved their in-store shopping experience.

The Approach

Through competitive analysis and user research I identified a target customer and their coffee wants and needs. Then, I designed and tested a new coffee bag design and brand ambassador prototype to address these wants and needs.

Research: Photo Journey & Competitive Audit

To gain understanding of the problem space I asked two coffee drinkers to photo document their journey buying coffee. I discovered that while in the grocery store their attention was split between all the different items on their grocery list. These participants purchased their coffee based on price, quality, and fair trade.

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The photo journey lead me to a competitive analysis of the different direct and indirect competitors of Peace Coffee. I wanted to see what they were doing that Peace Coffee wasn’t and vice versa:


Direct Competitors


Indirect Competitors

The biggest takeaway from this competitive analysis was that Peace Coffee’s packaging was much different from it’s competitors. Peace Coffee seemed to focus on brand while all the other coffee packaging focused on blend or quality of roast.

Research: User Survey, Click Test, Persona, & Journey Map

I needed to hear what coffee drinkers thought. So I asked them! Using Optimal Workshop I created a short click test followed by a few simple and broad questions about coffee.

The click test: I showed 14 participants 3 coffee bags and asked them the click one time on the part of the bag that was most important to them. As you can see below, I found that on the Caribou and Starbucks bags the clicks were heavily focused on blend and roast, while on the Peace Coffee bag none of those participants clicked on the “Twin Cities Blend” sticker in the top right corner.

Katie Holmes - Peace Coffee - Presentation Final.011

After this click test participants were asked these questions:

  1. Was there important information missing from the coffee bags you saw? If so, what was missing?
  2. When shopping for coffee beans, what is important to you?
  3. Where do you buy your coffee beans?
  4. Describe your process of buying and making coffee. From deciding you need to buy more coffee, to where and what you buy, to making it at home.
  5. What coffee beans do you recommend to friends and why?
  6. What age range do you fall in? (Options given)

Through affinity diagramming the answers to these questions I learned a few key important things:

  • These participants buy their coffee based on price, flavor/blend/quality, and responsibility (social and environmental).
  • These participants make their coffee using different methods. Results included aeropress, K-Cups, pour over, french press, instant, and drip brew.
  • A wide variety of preference for purchasing ground versus whole bean.
  • A few comments on disliking coffee snobbery.
  • Some of these participants said they admired brands like Equal Exchange and Peace Coffee but purchased other coffees because they assumed the more socially/environmentally conscious brands were too expensive and lower quality

Using what I discovered through all this research I created a customer persona and a current journey map for this customer:

Persona & User Journey.001Persona & User Journey.002

There is clearly a bridge that needs to be made between simply knowing/admiring Peace Coffee and actually purchasing and enjoying Peace Coffee. I needed to find a way to get “James” to try Peace Coffee and help him find what he needs in the grocery store!


I had two ideas to bridge this gap.

First, a bag redesign that highlighted the things coffee drinkers care most about:

  • Flavor/blend/quality
  • Responsibility (social and environmental)

I created 3 new designs highlighting this hierarchy that included more information on the bag of the bag:

Katie Holmes - Peace Coffee - Presentation Final.018

I also wanted to get people to try and buy Peace Coffee. Remembering that Peace Coffee’s headquarters is well stocked with adorable merchandise (stickers, magnets, pins, etc) I put together a Brand Ambassador kit that Peace Coffee could give to loyal customers to promote Peace Coffee in their homes or offices:

Katie Holmes - Peace Coffee - Presentation Final.022

Here’s how the kit would work:

It would be promoted through social media (Facebook and Instagram):

Katie Holmes - Peace Coffee - Presentation Final.021

These two prototypes are meant to appeal to the different ways people make coffee and to get more young Twin Cities residents to try and buy Peace Coffee.

Desirability Testing & User Testing

Then it was time to test these prototypes. I sat down with coffee drinkers and had them take a look at the different package designs and use adjectives to describe the attractiveness and information communication of each design. The clear winner is shown in the slide below as it communicates brand/blend/roast information on the front and social/environmental responsibility on the back:

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I also gave two of the coffee kits to two participants to take to their offices. They were to make using their favorite brew method, distribute the merchandise and coupons, and send photos of themselves and their co-workers drinking coffee together. The results were outstanding! The most important takeaway was that many of the people who tried the coffee and took the coupons did not realize Peace Coffee was sold at large grocers like Cub and Target. When they found this out they were happy to take a coupon!

Katie Holmes - Peace Coffee - Presentation Final.026

Moving Forward

Next steps for packaging update:

  • Update the blend label
  • Select a region and deploy new design
  • Track coffee sales in that region
  • Reevaluate if packaging is increasing or decreasing sales

Next steps for brand ambassador:

  • Creating v.2 of the Brand Ambassador program that includes an easy to unpack box for the kit and a prize incentive for the #GivePeaceCoffeeAChance
  • Select a region and deploy several ambassador kits
  • Track coupon usage and coffee sales in those regions
  • Use Optimal Workshop or Survey Monkey to keep track of ambassador and participant feedback

These two solutions help customers understand the quality and affordability of Peace Coffee and quickly identify it in the store. Remember our persona Josh? Here’s what his journey looked like before & after:

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