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UNT marketing class to rebrand Big Mike’s Coffee

UNT marketing class to rebrand Big Mike’s Coffee

The front of the old Big Mike's Coffee. Courtesy photo

UNT marketing class to rebrand Big Mike’s Coffee
October 03
12:55 2016

About 96 UNT marketing students are helping Big Mike’s Coffee rebrand itself as their class project this semester after the new owner decided to change the look and feel of Fry Street’s coffee shop.

The class is responsible for the new logo design for Big Mike’s, including recommendations for the aesthetics of the coffee shop, menu design, social media, advertising, sponsorships. They’ll also help shop owner Kim McKibben rename the business.

“Kim at Big Mike’s has given us free reign with her company,” marketing professor Eric Kennedy said in an email. “It is the student’s job to match her vision with what local coffee shop goers are looking for.”

The marketing class has been doing projects like these around Denton for nine years, under the direction of professor Francisco Guzman. Guzman is on leave this semester, which is why Kennedy is filling in. He is expected to return in the spring.

Under Guzman’s direction, the class has helped 25 businesses, including West Oak Coffee Bar, Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Pizza Snob.

The strategic brand management class has two sections with 48 students in each section. Each class is divided into six teams, tasked with talking to consumers, conducting market research and developing a strategic plan that will introduce Denton to the new Big Mike’s.

McKibben hopes the class will be able to give her shop the boost it needs.

“Because we don’t really have a good brand or logo,” McKibben said. “I’m hoping to understand what will bring in more business. Business has declined on Fry Street since the [University Union] opened.”

The coffee shop caught the eye of UNT students at the beginning of the semester. Students returned to campus to find Big Mike’s had been repainted and no longer had a name on the outside of the building.

About a week later, someone hung painted strips of fabric over the building that said, “Lil Kim’z Kawfee,” which set the Twittersphere abuzz and got students wondering what exactly was going on with the shop.

Communication science graduate Addison Mink, who has been coming to the coffee shop since 2013, said he thinks the changes to Big Mike’s are for the better.

“I’m nostalgic for the old shop, but I wouldn’t want it back,” he said. “It’s lost the dark grungy vibe it used to have, but it’s nice that the lights work and the coffee is better. The low lighting made it hard to read or write things.”

Last semester, McKibben made dramatic changes to the inside of the shop by painting over the mural that was inside, getting rid of the clutter in the windows, and putting a trendy menu up on the wall. Although she has changed a lot, she said that she has kept some of the things the shop has always stood for, like trying to be more environmentally conscious.

Kennedy said that he has his own ideas for Big Mike’s but cautions students by saying the students, nor himself, are coffee experts.

“We, as marketers, do not simply make suggestions to a client because it sounds good,” Kennedy said. “We go out and talk to our target consumers to get a better understanding of what they are looking for in a coffee shop.”

Kennedy said each class is broken into six teams that will do around 100 interviews before they pitch to McKibben. By doing this project, Kennedy said, a business owner puts the student’s work into action, which can then added to their resume as real world experience.

In an effort to maintain secrecy for her big reveal, McKibben was not ready to give up her ideas for the name. Until then the shop’s marquee will remain empty, she said.

“People keep calling to ask if we closed, they’re worried that Big Mike’s has gone away,” McKibben said. “I tell them we’re still here.”

Featured Image: Big Mike’s Coffee will soon have a new name. Marketing students at UNT are helping the owner rebrand Fry Street’s coffee shop.

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Tiffany Ditto

Tiffany Ditto

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1 Comment

  1. Rustoleum
    Rustoleum October 03, 19:14

    Bummer. My wife and I met here when we went to UNT. Changing the name really erases alot of history for us and Denton.

    Reply to this comment

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