1. Executive Summary
Coffee Republic was founded in 1995 by Bobby and Sahar Hashemi, who noticed a market gap where they could sell their high quality product at an affordable price to customers wishing something more than just regular coffee and fast food offered by other high street chains(Hashemi S, 2001). At first the product was marketed in the UK only, but with the development of the brand, the company has managed to enter markets internationally in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United States of America, Romania, Ireland etc. Since Coffee Republic is not a typical coffee shop chain, but operates under three brands simultaneously: Coffee Republic, Coffee Republic Deli and Republic Deli, it is essential also to concentrate on the food selection. Food market is very specific and even a small mistake can lead to a great loss of customers. Recently, the company has collapsed into administration, blaming recession for its problems. Developing a marketing communications plan in order to reinvigorate Coffee Republic as a brand will require the use a pull strategy that should focus on advertising strategy in several medias such as: radio or taxis and other marketing communications tools such as sponsorship.
2. Campaign Objectives.
Marketing communications objectives typically refer to sales and/or to the goals the marketing communications have in affecting the mind of the target audience.(Pickton D., Broderick A. 2005). Rather than developing new products, that the company could introduce to the market, it is more important to deliver the essence of the brand to the audience. In other words, using the flow of information to reposition the brand in the mind of the consumer. With the budget of 1 million there is a need to develop a campaign targeted at a segment of ‘everyday consumer who is looking for a coffee to get them through the day’. The age of the consumer is 21-35 years and they are usually white collar workers with an average income of 20,000 pounds p.a. They also rely on public transport to get them to work, rather than on their private means of transport.
Main Objectives of the campaign:
a. To raise the awareness of Coffee Republic among the market of 21-35-year-old, males and females, white collar workers, with an income above 20,000 pounds p.a., and who rely on public transport to get them to work. b. To reposition the brand as one selling a gourmet and exclusive product, but also one, offering an exclusive product at an affordable price. c. To create strong brand values, so that the customer is aware of what it stands for and not for what it sells. d. To ensure that the food offer is distinct and differs from others’, in the mind of the consumer. e. To reinvigorate the Coffee Republic brand and stop it going out of business.
The market for Coffee shops and deli shops is very competitive and is characterized by companies and smaller entrepreneurs which operate on two sides of it. Either it is ruled by small independent retailers functioning on a local scale or bigger chains like Costa Coffee with large budgets, being able to set high standards and which the target audience seems to prefer more than chains such as Coffee Republic. Trying to fit into both of those markets is really difficult as it requires more financial input in order to develop both coffee and food offer.
Coffee Republic is a company which does not qualify for either of those territories and the aim of the marketing communication plan would be to try and push it into the higher end in the hierarchy, so it can compete with larger developments. In order to compete and achieve the earlier established objectives, it will be essential to reposition the brand. Since the essence of positioning a brand or product is to differ it from the competitors in the mind of consumers (De Pelsmacker P., Guens M., Van de Bergh J 2001), it will be necessary to strengthen the role of food selection and to emphasize its meaning in the campaign in general.
The company will have to start selling not only a great quality coffee but also add variety by offering a selection of meats, cheeses and other gourmet foods, but also provide not too complex lunch service, a few seats and tables for the sit-down lunch crowd and take-out catering options including for example cold meat and cheese trays. What is more, the company will have to re-consider the location of their units. The ideal location for delis and coffee shops is in office districts, industrial malls and mall food courts, where the targeted audience of white collar workers could be approached.
3. Overall Creative Theme
In order to gain the attention of 21-35-years-old white collar workers, relying on public transport, the message, that Coffee Republic will desire to deliver will have to be innovative and convincing. The general theme will have to remind the target audience of mouth watering food and delicious coffee available only in Coffee Republic retail units. Since the segment targeted is a group of young and middle aged people, probably aware modern fashions and newest trends, the clear statement of modernity will also need to be depicted along with an image of greatest value and high quality food and coffee available at an affordable price.
The general creative idea would be to use more aggressive slogans that the target audience would find encouraging and at the same time robust. Slogans like: Have it OUR way!; Wake up to a smell of coffee!; HUNGRY? Have it our way!, would relay a clear and solid message, that the target audience will associate with simplicity but also with high quality of products offered.
4. Communications Strategy
The promotional mix will be used in order to support the pull strategy. The combination of advertising strategy and sponsorship will be implemented in order to meet the established objectives. The advertising will have to take place in mainly in radio, general-interest magazines and taxis since the financial resources for the campaign are relatively small and the company can not afford television advertising. Although advertising can be seen as expensive in overall cost terms this has to be outweighed by the fact that many members of target audience can be reached (Pickton D., Broderick A. 2005).
In the radio, it would be useful to use the voices of some well known celebrities, who could easily influence the target audience and increase the interest among new, potential customers. Because the targeted audience relies on public means of transport while getting to work, it would be reasonable also to allocate some resources in small posters inside taxis and stickers including slogans on their sides. Since the company already has quite a well designed website, it would be useful to start advertising it elsewhere in the internet. To balance the radio advertising it would be a good idea to advertise the company on the radio’s website. The advantage of this is that many listeners frequently visit the website of the station they listen to and the target audience can be reached in two mediums simultaneously.
In order to reach the target audience through national radio station, some kind of sponsorship may play an essential role in the campaign. Sponsoring a concert or a national event, would definitely be noticed through the media of national radio station. During the concert, symbols and logos of the company will be omnipresent and in that way, noticed by the target audience.
a. Advertising Strategy
– Local Radio Stations: since radio advertising is considerably cheap, it would be worth to invest in that kind of promoting the brand. It reaches the biggest amount of potential customers-the target audience, at the lowest cost. Because the audience targeted is considerably young, the best station to advertise would be a national radio station, but since the financial resources for the campaign are quite small, the efforts will have to concentrate on large local radio stations, where the cost of a campaign will be much smaller.
The best time to promote the company in the radio would be early morning, when most of the target audience wake up to work, or listen to the radio while working. In addition to the radio campaign, it would be worthwhile to promote the company on the websites of the radio stations. As mentioned before, it is a great opportunity to raise the awareness of the target audience through two mediums at the same time at a reasonable cost. The cost of small banners at the websites of the radio stations should not be high and will be an effective supplement for the radio campaign.
– Taxis: The reason for effectiveness of advertising the company on taxis is quite clear. The research shows that taxis spend more than 90% of their working time in town and city centers and because of that there is quite a big probability of the adverts displayed inside and on the sides being noticed by the target audience traveling to and from work. What is more, each taxi spends the average of 8 hours working in city centers, which provides the effectiveness of city billboards, which are much more expensive. With the budget available, the company will have a great opportunity to reach the city and town centers, where the target audience spends a lot of their time.
– General-interest magazines: because of quite a small financial budget of the company, it can not afford to develop an effective internet advertising campaign, which would be a great solution in that case. However, in order to boost the campaign, the company can make a use of the medium of general-interest magazines. Advertising in magazines, quite often read by the target audience such as The Spectator, The Business Magazine or The Economist, but also in more general interest magazines such as Marie Claire or Cosmopolitan, will constitute a great and effective way of reaching the segment targeted. The main advantage of magazine advertising is that the production quality is high and as a result a more compelling branding advert can be designed.
-sponsorship may be defined as a commercial activity, whereby one party permits another an opportunity to exploit an association with a target audience in return for funds, services and resources(Fill, 2002). In order to get noticed in the national radio stations, or even on television, it would be useful to sponsor an event or a concert, which usually gains a lot of attention of young people and enables the opportunity to get noticed by them. As mentioned before, that medium will ensure that the company logos and posters will also be noticed during the event as well as before it takes place, during commercials promoting it.
5. Report Summary
The evaluation of the marketing communication plan is very important in the whole process of the campaign. It is essential not to forget to measure the degree to which each part of the marketing communications plan has contributed to successful development of the campaign. With such approach, each part will have to be assessed according to different characteristics in order to observe the effectiveness of the campaign. Since the campaign concentrates on advertising strategy and sponsorship mainly, it will be necessary to measure the degree to which these two marketing tools have contributed to the general success of the campaign.
Coffee Republic PLC (2007) Coffee Republic Annual Report, Rubicon
De Pelsmacker P., Guens M., Van de Bergh J (2001) Marketing Communications, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited
Hashemi S. (2007), Anyone Can Do it: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table – 57 Real Life Laws on Entrepreneurship, Capstone
Fill C. (2002) Marketing Communications: Contexts, Strategies and Applications, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited
Fill C. (2007) Marketing communications : Engagements, Strategies and Practice, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited
Pickton D., Broderick A (2005) Integrated Marketing Communications, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited