Nescafé reorganizes its premium coffee brand to fight against “intense” competition

Nescafé is revamping its premium coffee brand, Azera, introducing new brand positioning and a new visual identity in order to maintain its “competitive edge” in a booming coffee market.

The new positioning aims to move the brand up the benefits ladder by shifting its communications from functional to emotional. To do so, it will focus on the idea of ​​curiosity with an £ 8million main brand campaign.

Vassilis Karalis, Nescafé Azera Brand Manager, told Marketing Week: “We felt and saw that the competition got more intense and some brands got closer to us, so we had to make sure we kept our competitive edge. . ”.

Karalis explains: “[Before] we had a very clear proposition, but we saw our competitors come in and try to take advantage of our strengths. We have seen the color orange appear in smaller brands and we have seen the language of baristas become common language in the coffee industry. We wanted to push a little further and continue our momentum.

The new campaign sees Nescafé Azera bringing together all of its products – including soluble coffee, ready-to-drink, coffee bags and cold coffees – under one main brand for the first time. The campaign will focus on a message of curiosity, both around “curious coffee recipes” but also curiosity about how people live and see life.

Karalis explains: “We wanted to anchor Nescafé Azera as a lifestyle brand and clarify that it is a coffee brand that operates in different segments.

“However, at the same time, we’re not the biggest brand in the coffee landscape, so we have to do it the right way. We felt we needed to invest to be bigger and bolder in our communications.”

The rebranding is based on a “proactive” strategy that aims to ensure that Nescafé Azera, which is owned by Nestlé, stays ahead of its competitors.

According to the brand, its sales have grown at double-digit rates and its market share has increased, but recently competitors have started to close the gap.

Karalis explains: “Our competitive margins were not closed but they were reduced, so we wanted to widen them again and stay one step ahead of the brand. We’ve seen more and more competitors focus on the high end as lifestyle brands, so we felt we had to move on before it was too late.

The changes to the visual identity are subtle, with the orange stripe on the packaging changing from a line in the middle to a series of dots. Karalis says this opens up the potential for more change but he didn’t want to change too too quickly.

“If you suddenly start to do very [major] change, that means you probably weren’t fast enough in the market, ”he notes.

Combine visual identity and communication

Ensuring consistency between visual identity and rebranding involved bringing together for the first time its two agencies, Publicis and CBA.

Karalis explains: “We had a clear brief with our communication and design agency: we wanted to make our distinctive identity even more accessible so that it was not limited to color. But we had to think, how to bring together both visual identity and differentiation and communicate this together? “

Each agency was given a clear mandate, Publicis in charge of the idea and the campaign, while CBA focused on the visual identity. But they were supposed to collaborate.

“We wanted to connect the dots and come up with something very clear, so we had to bring different agencies to the table. [in order to] define the idea and see how the idea can be executed in the same way, ”explains Karalis.

The brand also conducted extensive research to ensure that the visual identity and the new positioning would resonate with consumers. This included testing it in real situations and conducting focus groups.

“We wanted to make sure people understood why we were doing this and that it is a more minimalist approach and a more progressive coffee brand compared to other traditional brands,” says Karalis.

The target audience has also transformed into a group that Nestlé describes as “ambitious young trends”. Without being fooled that we are a very niche brand, Azera is keen to build its brand around these consumers to develop a minimalist and trendy coffee brand.

Karalis explains: “This is how our new positioning around curiosity was born. We know these people are looking for new experiences, new things, but sometimes they lack energy and stimulation, so coffee has a clear role to play.

Despite the target audience consisting mainly of younger consumers, Nestlé avoids targeting by age, geography or socio-economic class.

Karalis says: “I would like to avoid segmenting consumers based on demographics, because I think it depends on how you see your life and at Nestlé we prefer behavioral and attitudinal segmentation.

He adds, “We live our own lives based on the beliefs we have as individuals and we can see amazing similarities between millennials and some people who are a little older but still have the same attitude to try new things. things. “

The importance of innovation and local commerce

The success of the rebranding will primarily be measured by growth. Nescafé Azera uses a number of key performance indicators, but the first is “always penetration”.

Karalis explains, “We know that to achieve long-term growth we have to increase penetration, everything else will follow. However, it is not easy. In order to achieve penetration, you need to develop the brand first, so you need to build awareness and consideration. “

The brand divides the construction of its brand into two pillars: the main brand and innovation.

He says, “It has to be balanced. We need to develop the core to strengthen the brand, make it more attractive, increase our voice and make our position clearly understood to the public. At the same time, we have to innovate where the market is good and where we are able to win. “

Nescafé Azera has a “very rich” innovation pipeline, but despite its “ambitious” plans, Karalis is clear that it is not “always about doing more things, it is about doing the right ones. things “.

“We have a lot of innovations that help us to expand but also to deepen ourselves,” says Karalis.

The brand also wants to capitalize on convenience stores, most of the time by recently introducing its nitrogen-infused pressure coffee in select quick-service restaurants and workplaces.

Karalis says: “Convenience store is very important to us because it sets the trend. In on-trade, we are not the market leader, but it is the best way for us to test and learn.

“We have to be there, but we also have to play where we can win. It’s not in coffee shops, it’s not what we do, we will never compete with Starbucks or Costa.

Costa enters the ready-to-drink market with its first launch since the acquisition of Coca-Cola

The ready-to-drink coffee market is also booming, with growth up 10% year-on-year, and which is attracting interest from some large global companies. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have recently sought to capitalize on this market, Coca-Cola through its acquisition of Costa Coffee and PepsiCo through a partnership with Lavazza.

Karalis says there are two main reasons why more and more people are turning to the ready-to-drink coffee market. The first is that people are switching from alcoholic drinks to non-alcoholic drinks, the second because people want healthier, lower sugar drinks, two areas where coffee has a “key role to play.”

About Jeffery L. Parker

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