Brand Breakdown

Brand Breakdown Part 2: Deathwish Coffee (Studios)

September 10, 2022

We’re back with the last installment of our Death Wish Coffee Brand Breakdown. This time, we’re brewing up something a little bit different…

We know it’s hard for smaller eCom brands to get polished imagery that instills consumer confidence, so we’ve tapped our Pilothouse Studios team to spill the beans on catching up with the eCom giants we all know and love.

Okay… enough with the coffee puns. They’re clearly not our cup of tea. 😉

💻 Building confidence through the screen

Buying online and buying in-store is not the same. As much as we all love the satisfaction of a package at our door, it’s frustrating when the product doesn’t match what you imagined.

When buying a product online, customers don’t have the luxury of:

  • Holding the product
  • Testing the product
  • Assessing the quality
  • Looking for imperfections

But with the right imagery, positioning, and proof, shoppers can be confident in their purchase decision and be happy to get a product they love in exchange for their hard-earned cash. 😌

Death Wish Coffee has mastered the art of using images to instill a sense of confidence. Confidence in the product, the brand, and the buying experience. They take the intangible and make it feel tangible. Strong imagery leaves their customers saying, "Damn, that looks awesome. From every angle. And I need that in my cart." Our studious studios team, the illustrious imagery wizards, want to teach you to do the same!

It’s no secret that all eCommerce brands want sales, but sales struggle when trust is left on the table. Building trust in a product is a critical hurdle that eCommerce brands need to overcome to improve conversion rates. This is especially true in the age of dropshipping, where the quality of products purchased online varies greatly.

In order to build trust in an eCommerce product, it’s important to have content that looks and feels authentic in showcasing the true quality and functionality of the product. 💥

Nobody is looking at a highly photoshopped or the dreaded stock image and thinking, ‘hmmm, I trust this brand.’

Try using lifestyle images, like the below shot by the Pilothouse team, to show potential customers how your product fits into their routine.

Death Wish Coffee isn’t a one-trick show pony. They’re established and have invested significantly in producing high-quality photo and video content. Most likely with a team of content production professionals to best promote their brand on their website.

Sure, every brand hopes to get there eventually, but not everyone is at the unicorn-brand status level of Death Wish Coffee. 🦄

So, with that being said, what can smaller brands do to build trust in their product through their online imagery without investing as heavily into top-tier commercial production right off the bat?

🏆 Know what content builds consumer confidence

Not all content or imagery is created equal. Here are some hot tips the Pilothouse Studios team has seen work again and again.

Feel free to steal these for your brand!

💡 Proper lighting

Everyone knows that proper lighting creates a clean and professional aesthetic. No one wants to see the shadow of you with the camera in product pictures. Your use of lighting should ensure that the product is clear, packaging is legible, and the key features are in focus and illuminated.

Proper lighting doesn’t have to mean blinding stark white!

Death Wish Coffee chooses a darker aesthetic for their product images. Even with a black background, the product itself is still properly lit! And as an added bonus, they bounced light off the right edge of the packaging, helping separate the box from the background. A subtle use of lighting makes a big difference.

🍌 One banana for scale

Customers want to know how big or small your product is! With nothing to compare or anchor to, it can be tough to know that you’re not buying a couch that would fit in a dollhouse instead of your living room. 🤦‍♀️

An easy way to do this is to include a hand model in your photos for scale. Check out this example the Pilothouse Studios team made!

Having something fairly universal in size is your best bet to make sure buyers are happy when your product arrives. No obscure objects here. ❌

🚨 Pro tip: If you’re a brand that’s proud of your packaging, SHOW IT OFF! People buy products from brands they trust. And your packaging is an extension of your product. Killer photos build trust, sets expectations, and appeals to brand-savvy millennials. When building your shot list, make sure to cover your bases (product ✅, packaging ✅).

📐 It’s all about the angles

Showcase the different angles of your product!

Unless you’re selling a 2-D item, angles are incredibly effective for your product PDP page.

Show potential customers what they’ll see from all angles to help them imagine what the product feels like and would look like in their home! Really sell them on the idea that it’s the perfect fit while also reducing your return rate.

Check out this example from Death Wish Coffee of their mug for sale!


🤓 Show ‘em how it works

The survey results are in, shoppers want to see a product demo!

Remember that because people can’t actually feel and see the product in person, they want to see it in action. Show off features, texture, colour options, fit, and make it dynamic.


We love the way Death Wish Coffee uses thumbnail videos on their collections page. Instead of boring images, you get to see the coffee being made, poured into a mug, and fresh beans spilling out of the bag. It would be rude not to click!

Video (or even gifs) are a fantastic way to standout from the plain-jane images shoppers are used to seeing.

Need inspo? Check out a clip below that our studios team filmed!

☕️ Spilling the beans

Product imagery is often the first impression a potential customer gets of your brand. It’s vital to take every step possible to make that first impression a good GREAT one. ⭐️

It can be tempting to DIY these shots yourself, and if you’re in the very early launch stages, trying to achieve proof of concept, and have a camera savvy team member it may be just enough.

However, if your brand is past the early relationship casual chatting stage, you should be laser focused on highly strategic photo and video assets. P.S. for most, this means collabing with a professional creative team to get the best bang for your buck.

That’s a wrap on our Death Wish Coffee Brand Breakdown. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. ☕️

Know a brand that’s a perfect candidate for the series? Reply to this email and let us know who and why!

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