We cross the Place Saint-Francois, heading towards the distinctive ‘N’ above the entrance of Lausanne’s Nespresso boutique. We have spent the morning exploring the steep streets of the old town and are in need of a pick-me-up.
We are with Hans-Joachim Richter, Nespresso’s Director of Communications. He pushes open the door and inhales deeply. “There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly brewed coffee, is there?” he says. “And nowhere quite like our boutique to tell you about our global brand community!”
We follow him past a curved coffee bar to a seating area, where people are sipping coffee in chairs shaped like Nespresso cups and in the same colours as the capsules. “This is a real sensory experience,” says Anouk, looking around.
“That’s exactly what we’ve tried to create,” says Jochem. “Drinking coffee should be a pleasure, an event. The enjoyment is a combination of so many things; the flavour, aroma, temperature, who you’re with and even whether you’re grabbing an espresso on the go or relaxing over a lungo.”
We sit down but at the last moment I change from a green to a purple chair. “Green not your colour?” asks Anouk.
“Green is Capriccio,” I say, “and I’m more an Arpeggio kind of guy.”
“A man who knows what he wants!” says Jochem. “We have a lot of consumers with very specific tastes, while others like the freedom to pick and choose. That’s the great thing about the capsule system – a different coffee for every cup.”
He leans forward in his chair. “We currently have 16 premium coffees in our permanent range which we’ve developed to appeal to every taste preference. Only a small percentage of coffee grown globally meets our quality standards, so developing new products can be a challenge. That’s where our global brand community comes in. Our members can play a part in this process.”
“Brand communities can be a powerful asset. How have you built yours?” I ask.
“All our consumers have the option to become Club Members. Through the Club we engage directly with thousands of consumers every day, but we’ve also seen something exciting happening beyond our control. Many of our members aren’t just consumers anymore, they’ve become brand ambassadors. More than half of new Club Members experience Nespresso for the first time through existing members. You have to keep in mind that the brand community exists in the first place to serve the people in the community.”
A waiter dressed in a black suit comes over to our table to take our order. “Let me introduce you to some of our most characteristic coffees,” Jochem says.
“I’d like a latte please,” says Anouk.
“To me, drinking fine coffee is like drinking fine wine. I miss the subtle taste and aroma details if I add milk and sugar,” says Jochem before he gets back to his story.
“It’s crucial that the brand community is part of the business strategy,” Jochem continues, “not just the marketing strategy.”
The waiter comes back with short cups of black coffee topped with a dense crema. Volluto, he tells us, a lightly roasted blend of Arabica beans from small plantations in Brazil and Colombia.
“This is very a refined way to discover coffee,” I say, taking a sip. “I can see why you chose George Clooney to represent the brand.”
“It was actually our Club Members who chose George Clooney as their ambassador in 2004,” says Jochem. “His charm and sophistication perfectly fit our brand identity, which is one of the reasons the campaign has been so successful. It’s also another example of how we engage with and listen to our consumers.”
The waiter brings us three Ristrettos. Anouk looks disappointed. “This is our most intense coffee. Unless you have a high caffeine tolerance, you might not want to drink all of it,” says Jochem. “There’s more on the way.”
“The Nespresso route to market already means there are multiple touch points between you and the consumer. What role does social media play in Nespresso’s brand engagement?” I ask.
“The Nespresso Facebook community has grown to more than 1.6 million fans. Each post on our page can receive thousands of ‘Likes’ and hundreds of comments and shares. That’s an invaluable source of consumer feedback for us and a clear indication of the passion the brand inspires among coffee connoisseurs.”
The waiter comes back again with Naora, one of three Limited Edition coffees created each year, he explains. “Continuous dialogue with our brand community means we can anticipate and meet our consumers’ expectations, but we also want to keep surprising them,” says Jochem. “We introduced Naora, a late-harvest blend with distinctive blackcurrant tones, in early 2012.”
Anouk leaves her cup on the table. “All the coffees I‘ve tried have been great,” she says, “but now I’d really like a latte.”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
Order a book on:
Tags: Global Storytelling Campaign, Anouk Pappers, Maarten Schäfer, Around the World in 80 Brands, Around the World, 80 Brands, Around the World in 80 days, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, meeting nespresso, meeting hans-joachim richter, meeting jochem richter, jochem richter, jochem, richter, hans-joachim, hans-joachim richter, nespresso, building a passionate brand community