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Founder Stories: Jeff Moore, Just Us! Coffee

“What’s the name all about, Jeff?”


I was having coffee with Jeff Moore, the co-founder of Just Us!, a coffee company based in Canada. It seemed I had just asked a difficult question.


“Well, let’s see.” Jeff took a sip of coffee and, after a moment, said the name sounded a little like “justice,” which felt appropriate since the company roasts and distributes fair trade coffee.


“No,” I said, “there has to be a better reason.”


Jeff paused, reflecting on the past 20 years since founding the company with his wife, Debra. They were inspired by the struggles of small-scale coffee growers, leading to a hugely successful fair trade enterprise selling coffee, tea, and chocolate nationwide.


Rightly or not, I felt a more compelling story behind the name needed to be rooted out.


“Ah yes – that’s it,” cried Jeff. “We’re a small organization fighting against the big corporations for the rights of small farmers; there’s ‘just us’ against the big guys.”


“No, come on Jeff, is that really it?”


He returned to his coffee, to think some more. So, what exactly is going on here? (Apart from me being borderline rude!)


Jeff had been so busy building a successful business that some of the decisions shaping the brand over the years had been forgotten.


This is not a unique problem. Founders often see their businesses evolve differently from their initial vision. So, it’s crucial to stay on top of this evolution to ensure your brand assets—key messaging, brand name, value proposition, vision—remain relevant. In other words, keep the useful ones and get rid of the ones that have become useless.


Think of your business as a store with wide open doors. Keeping hold of those assets that are no longer relevant is like having a big boulder sitting in that open doorway. You’ll find yourself helping customers squeeze around this boulder (or irrelevant brand assets) instead of just walking in. Or worse, customers just walk past because they don’t see you—just the boulder!


If you would like to audit your brand assets to make sure they are still relevant to the vision of your business, drop me a line here.


Back to Jeff. After what seemed like an age, he looked at me and smiled broadly.


“Now I remember!”


What he told me next made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I wrote it down, word for word, and here it is:


You know, Bruce, we are all on this journey of life together—locally and globally. We are all part of the same human family. At work, in the community, in society, and globally, we all want the same things for ourselves, our community, our kids, and the world. The most powerful reason for the name is the idea that there is no them and us, just us!”


In that moment of clarity, the foundation for a new brand strategy was born. Those few words captured their higher purpose, passion, and uniqueness, which had been lost over the busy decades. The name went from a quirky add-on to the brand’s core, rooted in their authentic story. It released an energy and purpose that permeated every department at Just Us! as they developed an understanding of their value and how to express it in a way that was relevant to their customers and distinct from the competition.



I founded the specialist brand strategy practice The Brand Arrow® in 2009 and have delivered over 120 brand strategy assignments. My book, What’s Your Point? won silver at the US Business Book Awards. I speak regularly on brand strategy, direct courses for the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and am an accredited Vistage CEO network expert.

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