Known to use unconventional marketing techniques and steering clear of mass media, Café Coffee Day (CCD) is all set to up its digital ad spends this year, with a new marketing strategy formulated in the wake of its revamped branding and logo change. A vigorous utilisation of the virtual space and social media is on the cards to reach out to its core TG (target group) - the youth in the age group of 16-24 years.
Currently, CCD invests 2 per cent of its top line on marketing, with a marketing budget of Rs 8-10 crore. Of this, so far, nearly 90 per cent was spent on in-store marketing, with virtual marketing accounting for the remaining 10 per cent. "We plan to shift this to 70:30 soon, as we are eyeing the digital space rather seriously," comments Alok Gupta, director, Café Coffee Day India.
The virtual initiative, called Friends of Coffee, will make use of social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, where likeminded coffee drinkers will be provided with a space to interact, share notes on coffee related trivia and topics such as sports or music, as well as participate in online contests and games.
Community dialogue is extremely important to popularise the café culture - and more so, coffee culture - Gupta adds. This time, the intent is to create a membership driven, interactive online community of coffee-mongers.
Further, CCD wants people to connect with the brand through music and intends to facilitate this with the help of sophisticated technology such as Wi-Fi and an integrated broadband pipe. This will enable customers to choose music from the Internet through their mobile phones, while they are in the café.
CCD's shift towards social media is prompted by its recently revamped branding. The logo it currently sports has been designed by Landor Associates. The erstwhile square logo, with red and white characters and a green leaf, is now a more geometrical dialogue box (conversation box).
Earlier, the green leaf symbolised the natural, organic nature of CCD's coffee. Now, the dialogue box stands for how coffee inspires dialogue and 'powerful conversations'. The shift, clearly, is from a product story to a consumer story.
"The colour red, which stands for vibrancy and fun, has been retained in the new logo," adds Gupta. Ask him about the uncanny resemblance it bears with the Vodafone speech mark logo (including the use of the colours red and white) and he claims it's a mere "coincidence", given that both brands stress the role of conversation and communication between people.
An effort to expand the reach of the brand is also underway, to coincide with the revamped branding. Key target areas include Tier II towns and non-metro areas such as Rourkela, Kota and Dharamshala. A complementary aim is to explore shores beyond India and go global with the culture of 'conversation over coffee'; the brand has just finished an acquisition at Czech Republic to begin with. The logo, in its universality, ought to be understood across geographical borders, according to CCD executives.
"Conversation is universal and through our new marketing venture, we want to build a more culture-neutral eco system for the brand," affirms Gupta.
For the record, CCD has touched 970 cafes (and more than 1000 Xpress outlets); plans are on to have 1150 cafés by the end of this financial year and 2000 cafes by 2015. It also plans a significant investment in other formats such as Café Coffee Day 'Lounges' (targeting the top 30 cities) and CCD 'Squares' or luxury 'huddle' rooms (to be opened at airports and prime locations in metros). Fine dining outlets are also in the pipeline.