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To Create an Authentic Brand, The Boba Guys Keep It Real

A startup's brand should make it stand out from the crowd. Here's how to get there.

After getting traction on our formula, we started shifting our attention toward building a brand from scratch. Our prior work experience was at companies that had a brand persona defined before we came along. This was our chance to create something for ourselves, so exploring the identity of Boba Guys became our favorite lunch topic: Positioning, tone, and targeting, oh my! Before we started brainstorming ideas, we went to our paper napkin mission statement: "Bring the world quality boba milk tea." Everything about our brand had to fit into this mission.


It may sound like an intellectual and self-indulgent exercise, but we were very pragmatic in our approach. “Keep it real, son,” is the motto that led to our position in the white space. We like being different. In our personal lives, we always found ourselves drawn to individuals who challenged the status quo and explored the boundaries of life.
While we still frequent other bubble tea joints to sample special flavors, we did not want to ape their approach. We could not compete with their extensive menus, ubiquity or price point. If we wanted to provide quality boba milk tea, we had to change the entire business model. This includes speaking to a different crowd. Sorry, Mom, Boba Guys isn’t for you.
We see the artisan coffee phenomenon as a good proxy for our business. A segment of people who appreciate the art of coffee began emerging in our own backyard: San Francisco. We saw small businesses around us blossom with loyal followers who lived and breathed coffee.
We felt that we could do the same with boba, milk tea, or both. Therefore, every aspect of our product and tasting experience had to align with our obsession with boba. Even our logo hinged on the premise that even the most obscure of animals, the glorious aardvark, has an infatuation with boba. Of course, it’s also because he rocks a straw courtesy of Mama Nature.
Once we had locked in our identity, we needed to breathe life into it. Our persona required a look and feel, so it would be easier to communicate Boba Guys’ core values. For our next post, we’ll go into detail about how the Boba Guys’ brand identity was conceived and designed. See you Monday!
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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

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There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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