I recently purchased a Nespresso machine and from the moment that they called me a member, handed me my slick sleeve of Grand Crus, and passed me a complimentary fresh espresso, I knew that the Nespresso branding was special.
With so many single-cup style coffee and espresso machines competing to include every brand from Starbucks to Tim Hortons, Nespresso takes one look at the competition and heads in the opposite direction: exclusivity.
Making your customers feel elite is obviously not a new marketing concept, but in the single cup espresso game, the trend has been to partner with a ton of brands so that customers don’t feel like their choices are limited by, say, choosing a K-cup machine as opposed to any other coffee maker or espresso machine that accepts all grounds.
Nespresso’s branding and marketing is an unapologetic removal of other brands and sends an interesting message: if they make the best espresso for their machines, why would they subject their customers to anything else?
Their blatant exclusivity angle seems like it opposes the whole idea of making your own coffee or espresso at home, instead of paying more to have someone make it for you in a café, but the public’s response says otherwise. In the United States alone, their sales have jumped 20-25% in the last two years.
Let’s take a look at three interesting marketing and branding tactics Nespresso does really well:
- They call their shops boutiques. It sounds simple, but the tiny adjustment in naming seems to bring to mind a place you want to visit to as opposed to an errand you have to run. There are over 270 Nespresso boutiques and counting.
- When you buy a machine, you become a member. Again, this is partially about language, but also partially about being treated like a VIP when you are in a boutique, including a free espresso upon arrival.
- Nespresso does limited edition special flavours (Grand Crus) every so often. These capsule sleeves sell out quickly and then appear on Ebay, like tickets to a sold-out Justin Bieber concert (ok, the comparison might be a little exaggerated).
Just as their tagline suggests, Nespresso’s branding expertly presents its members with the idea that there is no competition: “What else?”
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