In today’s modern and fast lifestyle we often find ourselves needing to be in three places at once. When there’s traffic, coffee shops become our saviors in providing a place to meet up, when our internet goes out or when we need a place to chill on a Sunday afternoon, there’s always freshly brewed coffee to make us feel at home. So how come these coffee shops became so essential to our daily lives? Why does each individual have a different coffee brand they call their favorite? And what attracts these people to those stores?
A key piece of learning I will always remember from my final year studying marketing at university is that “a brand does three things: identifies, differentiates and commands a price premium, whilst also capturing the consumer’s head and heart”. When we say this we ultimately mean that a brand has to attain a sustainable competitive advantage in order to survive today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.
What is a customer journey?
The customer journey or customer experience is the entire interaction between the customer and the brand; so every single touchpoint (store, service, packaging etc) the individual has with the brand. The customer experience should match the individual’s expectations and is important because it:
Improves customer satisfaction
Fosters repeat customers and customer loyalty
Increases customer advocacy and referrals
Reduces customer churn
Creates a competitive advantage
Increases revenue and sales
Builds stronger customer relationships
Notice how these above 7 points fit in perfectly with the aforementioned university learning, we can see how the customer journey plays a pivotal role in a brand's success.
The Starbucks Experience
So how can a brand stand out in a busy city, especially in a saturated market such as the coffee shop industry? Well this is where the customer journey fits in and most likely for many of the 7 billion people on this planet one word comes to mind: Starbucks. In every city whether it be London, Dubai or New York, Starbucks is a hub of creativity or is regarded as the ‘city’s living room’.
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks Exec Chairman
For example, my sister is a pretty well travelled person having lived between Europe, Russia, Jordan and now Bermuda, her advice to me when living in a foreign country has always been: if feeling homesick, stressed or generally a bit down… always find yourself a Starbucks and go sit in it for a while. Why? “Well Starbucks is awesome as they are the same everywhere but with a local twist, you feel comforted, it makes you feel at home”.
Starbucks are the epitome of the brand customer journey. Obviously firstly known for their high quality speciality coffee, they have gone on to create a multi-dimensional intimacy with their customers. They capture a shared romance in their vision and bring it to life (Conlon, 2015). When a customer walks into a Starbucks they are immersed in other people in the cafe, the atmosphere (the aesthetics, plants, furniture, lighting, colors, textures, smells, sounds, and food) and of course the customer service which they receive. Therefore, Starbucks branding could be classed into the following:
Starbucks = Product + Service + Atmosphere
Here is a map to highlight the different Starbucks touchpoints and how a customer interacts with the brand:
The DRAFT Experience
So where does Blue Hat fit into Starbucks and the customer journey? Well firstly we’ll forget all about Starbucks and replace it with one of our beloved clients DRAFT. DRAFT is a local Saudi brand developed by Saudi designer Wadha Al Rashid, which focuses on Interior Design, a Concept Store, and the recently launched DRAFT Cafe. Wadha came to Blue Hat seeking support in connecting with the DRAFT audience and turning her brand into a lovemark.
How do we make a local coffee shop stand out from the crowd
and turn it into a creative hub in Riyadh?
Blue Hat developed a design led strategy to help connect with the DRAFT audience and establish an emotional customer journey whereby the DRAFT customer interacts with different touchpoints of the brand.
Our strategy covered the following:
Establishing the brand as the destination to find inspiration
Establishing the DRAFT tone of voice and themes
Identifying target audience and analyzing how to engage with different touch points
Identifying and harnessing trends (live video and short stories, relationship marketing, storytelling)
Creating unique online content
Designing online customer service and active community management
It must be noted that brand touchpoints are not just limited to a cafe. The consumer now interacts with a brand online through social media and so DRAFT needed to harness this tool in order to extend their customer service channel. Blue Hat therefore built a strong Instagram presence for DRAFT by:
Revolving its use of storytelling around “With DRAFT, you’ll always be inspired”
Sharing unique, inspiring, and lovable content - establishing the brand as quirky, friendly, urban and approachable
Making use of professional photography and quality images
Using the human aspect within all Instagram stories
View for example, previous DRAFT Instagram posts:
Our visitor is blending in perfectly well with the store’s design-- as if all those quirky items were tailored just for her personal use. Drop us a visit and we’re sure you’ll find something in our inspirational corners. يبدو وكأن زائرتنا تنتمي بشكل مثالي في المحل عندنا. كأن القطع صممت فقط لأجلها. ماذا عنك؟ قم بزيارتنا، فمما لا شك به أنك ستجد كل ما تتمناه لتبرز هويتك.
DRAFT’s strategy was positioned according to our research outcomes: high quality, a niche reputation, and tailored service, resulting in the establishment of an emotional customer connection.
DRAFT Identifies: brand persona/concept can be easily identified by consumers
DRAFT Differentiates: Unique and emotional customer journey
DRAFT Commands Price Premium
DRAFT Captures the head and heart
Given that coffee is a vital world commodity meaning that there are thousands of different coffee brands and shops around the world, the brands that want to survive need to attain their sustainable competitive advantage. A sustainable competitive advantage is a brand’s asset, attribute or ability that is not easily duplicated or replicated by its competitors. As we can see in the above two examples a customer journey is the key to identify, differentiate, and command a price premium whilst capturing the head and heart. Therefore, by adopting a customer journey certain brands will be able to survive in the competitive coffee industry.
Check out DRAFT's Instagram https://www.instagram.com/draftthoughts/
Our DRAFT portfolio http://www.blue-hat.com/draft/
... And of course stay tuned for the DRAFT website launch!