I love coffee. No, seriously, it’s an obsession. I have a rather cool Nespresso machine (yep, the one from the Clooney advert) that produces sumptuous coffee and always makes a dramatic entrance post-meal at dinner parties. As brands go – Nespresso is slick, very slick. As coffee goes, it’s as we say up North…proper lush.
Once you buy the machine, they hook you with their fancy words, sultry design and a general mutual-bond with the mystery that is coffee. So, on one hand, I love the branding element and the idea of its customers being part of a ‘club’ – it’s genius in terms of making the consumer feel special but also capturing a loyal customer that will repeat purchase those beautiful little pods of coffee and all the other ‘must-have’ accessories.
However, when looking for a descaling-kit (yes, that’s what happens when you get married and the wife leaves you a list) on its website (because you have to buy the branded one – a cheap alternative will just not do as it might ruin my sexy machine), it was a nightmare. Suddenly all the wonderful photography and dark soothing colours could not have been more annoying. All I wanted was an Amazon-style ‘search and one-click buy’ function but noooooo, I had to trawl through all the ‘marketing crap’. Then I tried to call the number – closed. Furious. Then it hit me. I suddenly despised what I once respected and loved. And just like that, the fickle consumer (me) had undone all the well-thought brand strategy behind this well positioned coffee make – all because I could not easily find what I was looking for on the website. I became the kind of customer that I, as a marketing-man, despises – the switching, non-loyal, does not appreciate all we do for him guy.
However, what it proves is as a brand (B2B or B2C) you have to get EVERYTHING right. If you promise a 5-star experience and charge the customer for it, you have to deliver at every touch-point i.e. in-store, on the phone, literature, website etc. And it can’t all be delicious design, it has to be functional too. You’re selling to busy people who like your product but also have limited time. Ironically, it has taken me longer to write this blog then I spent on the site. Yet, I blame that on the brand too – you pushed me too far!
You know, my Nespresso coffee has left a bitter taste in my mouth. And not a good one. What a real shame. A classic case of a slick brand being too slick.