Branding: experiential marketing on caffeine

How do you take your coffee?

Hot?  In a paper cup?  Well if you take it takeaway read on.

Coffee is the undisputed global leader of hot beverage.  Consumed in the home, workplace and in our social lives, it is arguably the fuel of our economy.  It is unsurprising to observe a strong correlation between an increase in coffee consumption and economic growth in many developed nations.  Don’t believe me?  Well observe the below graphic*.

Global coffee consumption: Coffee clearly leads to economic growth

If you take a walk through your local city you will likely pass by many coffee shops, such as: the large franchises (often inhabited with families with children), those attached to cafes (visited by the type people go on that awkward first date) and the more boutique, niche  stores (typically inhabited by hipsters – think skinny jeans, sharp haircuts and mustaches).  (For further reading on coffee and image see here).

The Hipster: "effortlessly cool" or “tenaciously passé”?

But why does one always seem busier than the others?  The actual coffee? Mass advertising campaigns?  Caffeine dependency?  Perhaps, but it is unlikely.

Well then why do people make a particular shop part of their daily ritual recommend it to their friends?

Takeaway coffee is an industry in which the seemingly small things often have the most impact, working together to creating a brand experience which gives outlets a personality and point of difference from the myriad of others, which essentially sell the same product – hot, bitter, brown, and caffeinated liquid (or you ask Levi, a lukewarm decaf with three sugars, a twist of honey and frothy soy milk).

It may be a cup of rubbish, but the experience keeps you coming back

Rubbish? Well consider some of the small questions which can differentiate one takeaway coffee place from another simply on experience.

Do the barristers remember your name?  Your preferred type of coffee?  Will they make friendly, yet meaningful small talk?  Do “your type” of people go there?

Does the coffee shop have nice takeaway cups?  Would they spot you a free coffee if you are out of change?

The answers to these seemingly small questions are infinitely more important to consumers as opposed to how much the firm spends on advertising.

So what does this mean for your brand?

Well the insight here is that the small things can often have a significant impact.  Want to increase the experience consumers have with your brand, thus driving revenue and all those tangible things that your CFO is riding you about?  Well maybe before launching a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, commit to remembering what type of coffee each of your clients take.  These small things will help create an experience that keeps them coming back.

// Alec Schumann (long black, no sugar)

*This is a potentially risky argument (everyone knows correlation doesn’t equal causation!), however it supports the claim I was making.

In the next installment of his series on image, Ted Anthony will take a look at fad marketing and the rise and fall (and annoyingly cyclical return) of the hipster.

Stay tuned.

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

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