Branding: Nespresso. What else?
Posted by
Nicole Zetler at 12:00

I must confess, I have a new favourite brand that I've added to my elite few - and I'm a little bashful about it. I never thought I would fall for something so gimmicky, unnecessarily overpriced and overtly yuppie. But I have, and now I'm completely hooked! The brand in question is Nespresso - the single-serving, capsule-based coffee purveyors.

After having been accosted several times by the Nespresso promoters I tasted the product and thought 'why not?' - I went and got myself one of the beautiful machines. After just a few months of use, I wondered how I could have turned from being so sceptical to such a fan. The answer was clear: branding!

I realised that Nespresso has been getting branding right on every level and their success bears testament to this. So what can marketers learn from Nespresso to build great brands?

Experience, Experience, Experience!

Brand experience is the new 'location, location, location'. It is evident that Nespresso prioritises experience in its brand strategy, and every element - from channel strategy to product development - flows from this commitment.

They have considered every detail, from the sleek, shiny and colourful pods of delicious goodness that scream exclusivity to their elite Nespresso VIP Club.

When you walk into a store, you get transported into a world where you're the movie star. There are even ropes in place to cordon off sections of the store just for you! The sales staff look elegant all in black, and greet you with their full names visible on their name tags. They are selling you coffee, but you feel like they are your PR personnel. I happened to be at a store for the launch of the bi-annual limited edition pod release; and it felt like being at a high-profile movie premiere. I had no intention of buying anything that day, but the experience was so luxurious that I walked out with many sleeves of capsules. These limited edition varieties are so popular that it's even common to find them at inflated prices on the reseller market! The brand experience captivates and simply draws you in.

Brand temples create brand disciples

Nespresso has built retail outlets that are brand temples, transforming their customers into brand disciples.They have actually broken one of the key rules of business (make your product available) in order to build the exclusive image of the brand. With only two retail outlets in South Africa (Sandton City and V&A Waterfront) and pods available online to VIP Club Members only, Nespresso has made it hard for mere mortals to get their hands on the product. But their brand disciples clamber for more. The two stores are an ode to the brand. Every element of the physical environment looks premium. The pods and products are displayed proudly and beautifully - and the temple experience is translated online too.

Brand lingo for your Lungo

To be a part of the Nespresso world, you have to speak the Nespresso language. If you want to fit in you say 'Grand Crus' not 'capsules' and certainly not 'pods'. It's a 'boutique', not a 'store'; and a 'Club Member' not a 'customer'. And then there's the product:Lattissimas (machine model), Livanto (part of espresso range), Linizio Lungo (part of long coffee range) to name but a few. Great brands get us talking and thinking in new ways; and Nespresso has done just that!

When in doubt, call on George Clooney

Finally, if there's any doubt, enlist the services of George Clooney! Endorsements have become quite a topic of contention recently (hello Oscar, Lance and Tiger); but who can think of Nespresso without ogling over George Clooney. Women want him and men want to be him - the endorsement strategy is just so on point. The brand's tagline, "Nespresso. What Else?" sounds like something that George would say, and it's even scrawled in a typeface that you could mistake for his autograph. He personifies the brand and it makes us 'Club Members' love Nespresso even more.

Great companies don't just create brands; they create worlds that people want to be part of. Nespresso has done just that. They've turned something ordinary - making coffee at home - into something really special and in doing so they have carved out a unique position in the market for themselves. The Nespresso experience is well constructed, well delivered and well received. And it's all thanks to great branding. What else?

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