So where’s Momma? Selling coffee in the Ozarks


Theoretical basis Brands are socially constructed (Askegaard, 2006) and are culturally dependent on the “cultural codes of branding” by taking into consideration the history, images and myths that can influence brand meaning (Schroeder, 2009). Brands can be of great value when they hold a favorable image in the consumer’s mind (Anholt, 2010). Regional differences and demographics can impact what has a favorable image in the consumer’s mind and can bias the expectancy set for consumers. When selecting a brand name, the SMILE and SCRATCH test should be used (Neck et al., 2018; Watkins, 2014). This name evaluation test can be used to assess the strength of a brand name. If the name has these five qualities, it should be kept, or you should “smile”: suggestive – it evokes positivity; meaningful – customers can understand it; imagery – it is visually memorable; legs – it lends itself well to a theme to run with; and emotional – it resonates with your market. On the contrary, if the name has any of these traits, it should be “scratched”: spelling-challenged – it is hard to spell; copycat – it is too similar to competitors’ names; restrictive – it would be hard to grow or evolve with; annoying – it is annoying; tame – it is lame or uninspired; curse of knowledge – only insiders or some people will understand it; and hard-to-pronounce – it is hard to say (Neck et al., 2018; Watkins, 2014). The marketing mix or 4P’s of marketing – product, price, promotion and place – is a set of tools business owners can use to achieve their marketing goals and is based on McCarthy’s (1960) work. The S.A.V.E. framework – solution, access, value and education (Ettenson et al., 2013) – has more recently been cited as a more modern replacement to the long used 4P’s model (Ettenson et al., 2013). Through this framework, business owners can work to align their brand to provide a solution to customers’ problems, give them access to the solution, provide value for customers and educate them about the product or service. The S.A.V.E. framework focuses on solutions, access, value and education rather than product, place, price and promotion. In this framework, the business should focus on meeting their customers’ needs and being accessible to customers along their entire journey from hearing about the company to making a purchase. Additionally, companies should provide value for their customers rather than solely worrying about price, and instead educate customers by providing information they care about (Ettenson et al., 2013; Neck et al., 2018). Research methodology Teaching case. Case overview/synopsis This case presents the story of Big Momma’s, a coffee shop in a deteriorated historic district in Springfield, Missouri. Big Momma’s owner Lyle, a black man in a predominantly white region, was new to the area and launched the business quickly, without much market testing of the concept or brand. Soon after launching, Lyle wondered if he was set up for doom as customers constantly ask for Momma or barbeque. It seemed necessary to take a critical look at the marketing and branding plans. Complexity academic level This case could have multiple uses, primarily for early stage undergraduate students studying entrepreneurship or integrated marketing communications. The case lines up nicely with the following textbook lessons. Entrepreneurship: the case can be used with Entrepreneurship: The Practice and Mindset (Neck et al., 2018), chapter 16, lesson on branding with a specific tie to the SMILE and SCRATCH test described in Table 16.1 and the S.A.V.E. framework described on pages 453–454. It can also be used with Entrepreneurship (Zacharakis et al., 2018), chapter 6, lesson on marketing strategy for entrepreneurs with a specific tie to the sections on marketing mix and value proposition described on pages 183–198. Integrated marketing communications: this case can be used with Advertising, Promotion, and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications (Shrimp and Andrews, 2013), chapter 3, lesson on brand naming. Supplementary materials Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email support@emeraldinsight.com to request teaching notes.


Sociology and Anthropology
Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Document Type





Blacks in business, Branding, Entrepreneurial branding, S.A.V.E. framework, Marketing mix

Publication Date


Journal Title

The CASE Journal