Coffee and PR benefit from a special relationship. Much like its paradigmatic example, this relationship is often characterised by conflicting political wills; at once a muse and a source of existential ennui, caffeine brings inspiration and desperation in equal measure. Those familiar to that dark underside of life at Engine (i.e. the morning after the party) will be well acquainted with the ironic, fearful double-bind which delivers the required caffeine high, followed by a terrible clamour known by many as the mid-afternoon lull.
Luckily for those soon to move to 60 Great Portland Street as part of the formation of MHP Communications, an elixir awaits. A far cry from the cold, over-priced rocket fuel of the City, or the oppressive chain-based monotony of London Bridge, a chic, independent cafe offers a taste of transcendence in coffee form, just two minutes walk from the office. Perhaps the last bastion of sanity in an ever-changing world, this halfway house offers a moment of respite between three and four in the afternoon. We can’t stop the world from changing, but we can purchase a latte for £2.40.
Kaffeine; synonym for couture coffee.
Situated on Great Titchfield Street (out through the smoker’s entrance, turn right, first left), and owned by a New Zealander, this is the only credible option for outside-the-office-coffee. The place prides itself on the art of the flat white, a relatively new addition to coffee menus throughout London, and muffins are baked on the premises to ensure that the Kaffeine experience is a holistic one. Quality down to the last crumb.
But perhaps most intellectually engaging, at least from a PR perspective, is Kaffeine’s branding. The attention to detail is apparent on walking through the door; the clean, bright decor, the mint and lime in the (free) water, the branded black and white cups: all points towards exceptionally savvy positioning on the part of the management. This is supported by a strongly emphasised ‘coffee philosophy’ – a manifesto in support of quality, care and responsible sourcing, which is advertised in the cafe, and on the flawlessly designed website. As regards corporate branding and reputation development, Kaffeine are thought leaders.
The corporate narrative which Kaffeine have produced is perhaps emblematic of the way in which larger, multi-national organisations should be positioning themselves in face of change, and the threat of crisis on every hit of the browser’s refresh button.
As Mandate, Hogarth and Penrose join forces at 60 Great Portland Street, the forces of change will take some getting used to. Nonetheless, with fantastic coffee just a short stroll around the corner, things need not be so scary. It’s time to embrace the mid-afternoon lull.