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Nescafé’s Path from Soft Launch to Walmart to Facebook

By May 02, 2011

It was 2008 when Nescafé launched the coffee system, Dolce Gusto, amid a competitive category of already established single-serve coffee makers. After monitoring early sales in specialty retail stores sales looked good and a full roll out took place. Distribution expanded to major retailers like Bed Bed & Beyond and super stores like Walmart. A mass media campaign unleashed TV and print ads and the brand picked up more new accounts in grocery stores like Price Chopper and Pathmark.

The two biggest selling seasons for the products are fall through Christmas and spring, which is why the latest flight of broadcast and print ads tagged “Play with Your Coffee” is about to go live. The tag line is intended to portray the system’s “playful” options to prepare a wide range of specialty black cup and white cup coffee for the home barista. In-store demos make up a large portion of the marketing spend and are built into retail support plans.

With all marketing and selling systems in place, it was time to open a Facebook page that followed the playful theme. The site opened for business last month and has about 11,000 fans so far. One of the most important techniques a brand must learn is how to optimize posts to make them more “likeable,” or worthy of clicking “like” to increase fans. Developing a content calendar is one important component. A community manager at Marcus Thomas, Cleveland—the agency that created the page for Nescafé’s parent Nestlé U.S.A.—monitors the site and works with the brand’s customer service and marketing teams to address comments.

“It’s a great way to crowd source ideas and a great customer service tool to make sure the fans comments are getting addressed in a real time manner,” Amy George, marketing associate for Nescafé Dolce Gusto, said.

Gusto shares the strategy for building out the Facebook page.

The Goal

To build awareness and word-of-mouth for the new single-serve coffee system, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, and its first Facebook page.

The Facebook Components:

1. The title: The “Play With Your Coffee,” theme carried out in commercials and print ads, created by ad agency Marcus Thomas, Cleveland, for client Nestlé U.S.A.

2. The sweepstakes: players who like the page get the chance to win one Piccolo Dolce Gusto machine, valued at $99.99, each week through June 30.

3. The app: Photo Manipulation app under a separate tab “Latte Yourself,” can be manipulated to upload photos, tweet, post to the visitor’s Facebook wall or downloaded.

4. Word scrambles Players can play solo or invite friends to compete. The games can be saved.

Food bloggers, such as SteamyKitchen, Adam Roberts of “The Amateur Gourmet” or GoodLifeEats, each work the site for one month, posting recipes every Wednesday that pair nicely with brewed coffee, such as Bittersweet Mocha Mousse or Coffee Granita.

The Marketing:

Text ads by OGM, Los Angeles, drive traffic to the “Play With Your Coffee” page. The media buy, from Zenith, LA, targets coffee lovers.

“Facebook allows us to share basic things about the brand, like new flavors, promotions or new machines,” George said. “Like any smart brand, there has to be something engaging there so consumers have a reason to come back. This is also about deepening loyalty with our consumers. We want existing owners to have a place to go to learn more about the brand.”