From commodity to luxury

April 10, 2013

Twenty years ago, Nestlé, the company behind Nescafé, introduced the Nespresso brand. A clear and bold departure from the world of instant coffee, Nespresso has positioned itself as the provider of the luxurious coffee experience. Consumer brands, today, have a choice of environments where they must deliver the good: in the home, in the store and on the web. Does Nespresso meet the challenge of the multi-channel world? Here’s one coffee addict’s perspective.

The Nespresso brand experience starts with a smartly designed piece of hardware that takes all of the guess work and messiness out of making a good cup of espresso. No more rushed mornings cleaning up coffee grinds off the kitchen counter! Coffee AND zen!

Nespresso 1

The home experience is present when you visit the Nespresso café. Strategically located, in my case near the Apple store to make sure I knew I was part of the well-connected crowd, the café spreads its cocooning arms. Greeted at the door, escorted into the inner circles of those that just know, the charming staff works hard at convincing me that I made the right choice, that I belong.

Far from the America that runs on Dunkin, I am awash in choices with rich colors and exotic names clearly telling me there are no wrong decisions. From the taupe, to the burgundy, the coppers and the crema…they all promise hours of pleasure. And by now, I know that I’ve reached the promise land.

I leave floating on clouds of aroma, clutching my Prada-like shopping bag filled to the rim with gorgeously packed coffee. Who knew packaging could be this elegant? And who remembers that this is Nestlé, the same company responsible for that little jar of Nescafé sitting in my grandparents’ pantry?

Nespresso 2

The bliss continues back at home when I extract the coffee gems from their oysters. Rubies, emeralds, amethysts hypnotize me and make me forget that New York Times article telling me I just paid over $50 for a pound of coffee!

I prep the machine. I stand by, ready to witness the fulfillment of the Nespresso promise: The Art of the Espresso. And by all the coffee beans in the world, there it is...smiling at me from my cup.

But somewhere between the Volluto and the Arpegio, I got practical and joined the Nespresso Club to shop online between visits to the Café. And, horror, at one click on the keyboard, the carriage was gone and there stood a great big pumpkin.

Nespresso 3

Where was the brand to which I was now addicted? Sitting alone facing a circa-1999 user interface yet unwilling to accept a flaw in this otherwise perfect picture, techno girl wanted to believe that they had kept the best for the Nespresso iPhone app. Well, not so much…the 50/50 reviews actually convinced me not to get the app.

Because brand strategy is what I do by day to buy my Nespresso pods by night, I can’t help but wonder what’s the big idea. Is it Nespresso’s strategy to buck the trend and revert back to brick and mortar as the epicenter of the Nespresso experience, leaving the web to play a purely utilitarian role? In which case, someone needs to remind them of their 1,965,000 Facebook fans and that they don’t all live at the corner of Prince and Mercer St.

In our hyperconnected and mobile world, Nespresso needs to address its digital user experience. For such a tactile brand, the challenge is major.

This should be interesting to watch. Think I’ll make me a cup of coffee!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Brandlogic and CoreBrand have become Tenet Partners — Where brand meets innovation®. More