Breaking down barriers: Consumer education
I often liken consumer education to language translation. Sure, you may be using English in both your industry and for your consumers, but the words you use certainly aren’t the same. Your lexicon of industry words like “cupping,” “direct trade,” and “effervescent mouthfeel” probably aren’t all crammed into one consumer-oriented post without some explanatory sentences.
In a way, it takes skill to “translate” the words you use daily with a coworker to words that a consumer or layperson would understand. We’re sometimes so locked in our bubble in marketing (especially if you don’t have daily consumer interactions) that you forget to step back and look at your words.
There are many ways to break down the barriers of language through consumer education. Some of the easiest ways is truly the same as you would use for a 4th grade reading level: write simply, concisely, and deliberately.
Here are three examples of coffee organizations who are doing some good work in the realm of consumer education.
Junior’s Roasted Coffee worked with an artist to share a six-page comic on “Ask Me About Cost of Production.”
Similarly, Sustainable Harvest shared their 2017 Impact Report in a comic form. It details their fight “to improve coffee sustainability and quality.”
The role of science communicator is challenging. You have to understand what the scientists are publishing and be able to dissect this into relatable topics for the layperson. Go too basic and the audience feels condescended to. Go too detailed and you’ll lose your audience.
Tweet threads that break down a research paper are a great way to dive into a subject in relatable soundbites.
Sometimes the only way to educate someone about a difficult topic is to stick them right into the experience.
1951 Coffee in Oakland is a non-profit organization that works on the resettlement of refugees through their coffee skills training program. In one event, they simulated the refugee settlement experience in a timed format. You can take a look at it in the video below.