Social Media and Costa Coffee
This report explores Costa Coffee’s market presence worldwide and within Singapore. First details the completed background research and product concepts for Costa Coffee. Next, listed is their current social media overview. This includes their presence and amount of activity on different platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. After thorough research, Costa Coffee’s target consumers are students and working professionals, aged 20-40 years. Both segments are heavy consumers of specialty coffee and very active on many social media platforms.
Currently, Costa Coffee is lacking awareness in the Singapore coffee market. To increase brand awareness, there are three effective social media strategies: Singapore Costa Coffee’s virtual tour, YouTube video channel, and the Costa Coffee Facebook page. Certain benefits will include brand awareness of the Mocha Italia coffee, user engagement, and increased online discussion. Lastly, the potential and inevitable risks are outlined. Company Overview Costa Coffee is a coffee house chain founded in London, in 1971, by brothers Bruno and Sergio Costa.
At the time, Bruno and Sergio Costa simply supplied coffee to local caterers and coffee shops. However, with the increasing popularity of their coffee they opened the first Costa Coffee outlet on Vauxhall Bridge Road in London, in 1978. In 1995, the Whitbred Company acquired Costa Coffee. Today, Costa Coffee is the largest and fastest growing coffee house chain in the United Kingdom. Costa Coffee entered the Singapore market in 2012 (Costa Coffee, 2013). Costa Coffee’s main mission is, “To serve the best quality coffee in true Italian style”.
The company has incorporated this into all its brand touch-points, including its products, prices, outlets and campaigns. In addition, Costa Coffee’s vision is, “To be the best hospitality company that there is – a family of related hotel, restaurant and leisure club brands recognized by its people, guests and investors as leaders in each market in which it operates. ” (Whitbred PLC Annual Report and Accounts, 2012-2013). Costa Coffee has also established several goals which relate to its vision and mission statements, these include:
Product Concept Costa Coffee is an Italian blend coffee, which is made exclusively from six different types of slow roasted Arabic beans. This gives the coffee a fuller flavor and a stronger aroma. Additionally, Costa Coffee is one of the few coffee brands, which has its own roastery. This ensures that each cup of coffee is of the highest quality. Moreover, in a day and age where corporate social responsibility is becoming a global concern, Costa Coffee harvests its coffee beans from only the very best: 100% Rainforest Alliance approved fields.
Costa Coffee aims to signify luxury, excellence and perfection. All of which are incorporated in the various dimensions of the Costa experience, including, its products, prices, outlets, campaigns and employees. Apart from coffee, Costa also offers a wide range of food (paninis, toasties, sandwiches and wraps) and desserts (cakes, pastries, brownies, muffins, pies and bakes)(Costa Coffee, 2013). Costa Coffee customers are those who enjoy the true Italian taste that the Italian blend offers. Customers are not only coffee lovers, but are those who appreciate quality and variety.
Today, Costa Coffee has become a favorite for individuals on-the-go, whether they are taking a break from work or just shopping in the mall. To increase customer convenience and accessibility, Costa Coffee has creatively designed 5 ways through which individuals can enjoy the Costa Coffee experience: Costa Outlet, Costa Metro, Costa Express, Costa Drive-Thru and Catering (Costa Coffee, 2013). By having these different types of establishments, Costa Coffee reaches out to all coffee lovers, increasing its competitive advantage and brand loyalty. Social Media Overview
Costa Coffee is currently present on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Their Facebook page has about one million likes and Costa Coffee Singapore has about 7,500 likes. Costa Coffee is working intensely with their Facebook page by posting pictures of their products and new offers. The company is also active on Twitter, where they have about 60,000 followers worldwide. On their Twitter page, Costa Coffee is marketing their products and presenting offers that are specific for the current season. They also have three employers who are working on a daily basis between 9am-5pm answering customer questions.
Their website is user-friendly as it includes a logical design about clear product information, their organization overview, and their commitment to Rainforest Alliance. Costa Coffee is active on most social media communities and is doing quite well when it comes to customer-to-company relationships. Target Consumer: Working Professionals and Students (Aged 18-40) The 2013 National Coffee Drinking Trends market research report produced by the National Coffee Association (NCA) reveals that the adult coffee drinking market segment is increasing.
There was an increase in 5% of American Adults that drink coffee in 2013 (up from 83% in 2012) (Vending Market Watch, 2013). Likewise, “according to statistic from Euromonitor, the UK market for coffee…is forecast to grow by at least 10% in the next two years. Today, about 80% of UK adult population drink coffee (as cited in Urbantimes, 2013). In addition, a new report from the NCA states that one in three had drank a gourmet coffee yesterday, which solidifies the assumption that the specialty coffee market is growing at a stronger rate (Vending Market Watch, 2013).
Well brewed, specialty coffees have turned into a commodity among working professionals and students. It has become universal over different income categories but still remains among the highly educated segment. Costa is focusing on students, professors, and other faculty due to their high consumption of coffee and their desire to use Costa locations as a convenient place to relax, gather, and study. According to a survey carried out by the National Coffee Association, 40% of 18-24 year olds are drinking a coffee each day.
This is a drastic increase from the 31% of this age group who said they were daily coffee drinkers in 2010 (as cited in Urbantimes, 2013). It is important to notice that daily coffees are becoming part of the “student life”. Not only are students avid coffee drinkers, but also very active on social media sites. According to a survey done in 2012, 83% of 18-29 year olds are present on social media sites (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013). The “student” segment is a critical target audience to Costa Coffee because of their coffee consumption and their ability to be reached through social media.
As far as students’ expectations, more are saying they want convenience, consistency, and accessibility in a coffee shop. They are paying higher for specialty coffee due to its’ differentiation from cheap, inconsistent places such as Singapore Kopitiams. Not only do they expect quality in their coffee, but students also want a place to get their work done. It is often difficult to complete work in a dorm room, as it is loud and noisy. Likewise, the library can get very full and at times even be impossible to find a seat.
Coffee shops provide a comfortable and relaxing ambiance where students can complete papers and study; they become places of refuge. Working professionals is also another heavily targeted group for Costa Coffee. In certain countries, over three-quarters of the adult population are coffee drinkers as revealed in the statistics above. Working professionals, roughly 25-40, are also increasingly active on social networking sites. Another survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project states that 72% of online adults use social networking sites (2013).
What is even more intriguing is use of social networking continues to grow among older users. In 2009, in the age group of 30-49 years old, 48% of adults were using social networking sites. In one year alone, there was a 27% increase in this age category (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2010). Therefore, these statistics clearly indicate why the working professionals segment is equally important to the Costa Coffee’s social media campaigns. Both of these segments are growing steadily on social media presences and have high consumptions of coffee daily.
Working professionals value a coffee shop’s ambiance for different reasons than students; often times, they like to use their favorite coffee shop as a place to take a client, to hold a meeting, or as an office away from the office. Similar to students expectations, working professionals value the convenience, the consistency, and the accessibility. In addition, beverage quality, speed of service, and “customer intimacy” are highly valued to this market segment. Objectives A primary survey was conducted on 51 Singaporean respondents (from the target audience as identified above) to get a better understanding about Costa Coffee in Singapore (survey, 2013). Findings of the survey are given below: Graph 1: The survey shows that Starbucks Coffee is the most prominent premium coffee brand, followed by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and The Connoisseur Concerto. Additionally, only 6% of the respondents know about Costa Coffee. This is an indication that Costa Coffee has comparatively low brand awareness. Graph 2: Of 50 respondents, 71% have never been to Costa Coffee before. This supports the conclusion that Costa Coffee has low brand awareness.
Graph 3: Of 36 respondents who have never been to Costa Coffee, 86% indicated that they are willing to try it. This implies a potential demand for Costa Coffee to grow its market share. The objectives with the social media strategy, i. e. the virtual tour, is to increase Costa Coffee’s brand awareness by marketing Costa Coffee’s Italian blend coffee and company owned roastery. In other words, reasons for unique taste. As the charts reveal, Costa Coffee has low brand awareness in Singapore and therefore needs further marketing in order to compete with other chains such as Starbucks, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Another factor that indicates low brand awareness was mentioned above stating the low number of likes on the Costa Coffee Singapore Facebook page (7500 in Singapore compared to 1 million worldwide). One reason for the low brand awareness might be the fact that Costa Coffee only has 8 stores in Singapore, compared to Starbucks which has about 100 stores (Costa Coffee, 2013), (Starbucks, 2013). Something that also needs to be kept in mind is that Costa Coffee Singapore is still in their growth stage since the first store opened in 2012. Message Strategy
The overall message we want to get across to people through our social media strategy is why they should choose our coffee shops over competitors. We want to express what Costa has to offer that other organizations do not. There are three important messages we want to get across: Costa demonstrates corporate social responsibility (CSR), offers only the finest Italian blend of coffee and delivers exceptional customer service to a wide variety of customers. It is one of Costa’s goals to leave a lasting impression on its customers, not the environment (Costa Coffee, 2013).
According to a Nielsen survey, “66% of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society”; “63% of those consumers are under the age of 40”; and “46% say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these companies” (“The global, socially,” 2012). It is safe to say based on these stats why Costa has made sure that, “100% of the coffee used to make the unique Mocha Italia blend comes from sustainably grown beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms” (Costa Coffee, 2013).
To attain this certification, farms of Costa must prove that not only are the fields carefully sustained but also the farmers working in the fields. This is why The Costa Foundation was set up: “to give back to the communities in which Costa sources its coffee beans from” (Costa Coffee, 2013). Costa coffee’s most recent CSR venture has been towards making a more recyclable, environmentally friendly coffee cup. From already using “certified sustainable pulp and vegetable, instead of oil-based, ink” to using “increased recycled content or using FSC certified virgin pulp paper” (Costa Coffee, 2013).
Costa understands that its coffee lovers want quality Italian taste, which is why “only 1% of the world’s production of coffee is good enough to go into creating the unique taste and aroma of the Mocha Italia Blend” (Costa Coffee, 2013). Costa coffee drinkers can enjoy consistency and familiarity each time they take their first sip of a freshly brewed coffee or coffee specialty drink. They will experience a handcrafted drink accompanied with a stronger aroma and true Italian taste.
Exceptional customer service starts with empowered employees, “With technical skill, personality and passion for coffee, they have all the right ingredients to make a perfect cup, time after time” (Costa Coffee, 2013). If you order a coffee you may notice one or two coffee beans on a barista’s shirt collar. If you see two this means that they are a “barista maestro”, the best of the best when it comes to coffee knowledge and creativity of drink making. Costa baristas are passionate about where they work and understand the love of great coffee.
When a customer walks into a Costa coffee shop they will immediately recognize the warm and welcoming ambiance. To reach a wide variety of customers, whether its someone on the go, having a business meeting, or looking for a place to take a break, as mentioned above, Costa has carefully designed 5 different methods of delivery: the original Costa coffee shop, Costa Metro, Costa Express, Costa Drive Thru and even supplying of Costa coffee to local restaurants, pubs, bars, etcetra (Costa Coffee, 2013).