Brand Loyalty: Learning from a Coffee Pod

I promise that this blog this is not a thinly veiled marketing push from Nespresso.

I was recently struck by an online review that was simultaneously funny, over-the-top, and in the end, strangely sincere. It went like this:

An Open Letter to Nespresso

Dear Nespresso pods: there are many like you, but you’re the only pod worthy of my love. I swore you off. I tried saving money. I lived with the other pods, and I now know that nothing else comes close. The coffee you make is just too smooth and too perfect for me to go on pretending with a lesser pod.

From now on, it’s just you and me.

As someone who does marketing in Orange County, I was instantly drawn to this customer and their loyalty. I asked myself the question, what could cause an ordinary person to write a personal love letter to a product, to this inanimate—and expensive—pod of coffee?

I was reminded of two truths about marketing. First, the boundless emotional response that branding can achieve. If you play your cards right, not only will someone be happy to pay two or even three times the price of the competitor—they’ll write a love letter about doing it.

Next, and a little more seriously, I’m reminded of the number-one thing that branding successes like Nespresso tell us: at the end of the day, your branding is YOU.

Everything about a Nespresso pod oozes the Nespresso brand, from the color shades, the sheen of the pods, the high-end sound of its flavor names like “Arpeggio” and “Capriccio”, but that would all be nothing if it weren’t for the technology behind it and, crucially, the quality of its coffee. It’s a branding success because a beautiful brand expressed itself beautifully, from top to bottom, from the inside out.

Any agency can help you sell almost anything once. This is the infomercial sales model—move as many units as fast as possible, and don’t put a thought toward the product’s future. Anyone can sell one of something. What defines truly great brands is the second sale, and most agencies can’t deliver that because, well, to get a second sell you need to be good. There’s no secret marketing formula that will make your mediocre product or service magically outstanding. As a Marketing agency in Orange County, Twelve12 is regularly required to turn clients away that don’t meet our standards. Marketing can go far, but at the end of the day, the product or service we’re selling has to be one we believe in.

So what have we learned? Just like starting with high-quality coffee, pure water, and the right mix of technology produces great coffee, starting with a high-quality brand and adding the right mix of words, visuals and presentation can get anybody hooked.


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