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Heat Up Sales – With Coffee!

Meeting with a sales prospect in person for the first time? Think twice before you offer her a nice, ice-cold beverage. Instead, try a steaming mug of hot coffee to make the best impression. One of my favorite researchers, John Bargh of Yale University, found that the temperature of a beverage makes a difference in how a person judges another person: […]

By |February 19th, 2010|

Loyalty Programs: Of Rats and Men

It seems like everyone has a loyalty program these days. Buy a cup of coffee, and you get a punch card that promises a free cup after you purchase some number of additional cups. Shop at the grocery store, and you get points to reduce the price of gas. Our wallets bulge with partially punched cards, and our keyrings are stuffed with plastic bar code tags, all in the name of loyalty. (And, of course, you have to add the original loyalty programs – airline frequent flyer clubs and credit card reward programs.) Do these actually work? […]

By |December 4th, 2009|

Caffeinated Branding: Think Inside the Cup

Way back in 2005, in Can Caffeine Brain Boost Help Ad Recall?, I suggested that Starbucks could sell potent ads on their cups. This idea, though tongue-in-cheek in nature, was based on fMRI research that showed caffeine stimulated areas of the brain associated with memory:

Dr Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria, found that caffeine affects distinct areas of the brain. This study is beleived to be the first to demonstrate a visible impact on the brain from caffeine. Subjects who had been given caffeine showed significantly more activity in the frontal lobe and the anterior cingulum – areas of the brain associated with memory and attention. Subjects who received a placebo showed no such impact.
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By |September 25th, 2008|

Coffee Smell Is All You Need

I’ve written about sensory branding, olfactory marketing, and in particular Starbucks’ attempt to get more coffee aroma into its stores. Now, it seems that all you need to get you going in the morning is a whiff of […]

By |June 16th, 2008|

Simulating the Coffee Drinker’s Nose

Is Scratch ‘n Sniff Starbucks in our future?

No industry focuses as much on olfactory marketing as the coffee business. Starbucks recently dumped its breakfast eggs because their smell didn’t pair well with the coffee aroma. Nestle unit Nespresso has not only modified its home brewing equipment to release more enticing smells, they have even launched a chain of coffee shops after finding that more than half of the coffee drinking experience came from the shop environment (see Sensory Marketing to Jolt Espresso Sales). Now, those clever coffee fanatics at Nestle have found way to analyze the components of coffee aromas that lets them predict how real human noses will respond to those smells. […]

By |February 28th, 2008|

Starbucks Trying to Cut Buyer Pain

As described many times here at Neuromarketing, paying for a product activates the brain’s pain center, particularly if the price seems too high to the person making the buying decision. Starbucks is the company that taught us that $5 for a cup of coffee (or at least for a skinny mocha peppermint latte with an extra shot ) isn’t too much too pay. A simple cup of brewed coffee costs less, but the high cost of Starbucks beverages has made the $5 Starbucks coffee a staple of stand-up comedy routines. Now, new competitors like McDonalds are creeping in and showing consumers that maybe Starbucks actually IS kind of expensive for what you get. The buyer pain that Starbucks had suppressed over the years is in danger of returning. […]

By |January 24th, 2008|

Starbucks vs. McDonald’s: Coffee War Heating Up

Burger giant McDonald’s has the lucrative upscale coffee market dominated by Starbucks clearly in its sights. According to an AP report, McDonald’s Eyes Ballooning Coffee Market,

After the success of its upgraded drip coffee – which even managed to snag a thumbs-up from testers at Consumer Reports earlier this year – the fast food chain known for super-size meals is gearing up for a massive expansion into the world of lattes.

“We want to move from beverages as an accompaniment to being a beverage destination,” Don Thompson, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a meeting with analysts Tuesday. “Our speed, our convenience, the value that we can afford to customers without quality comprise [sic] will make us a formidable player.”

Restaurants will offer lattes, mochas, cappuccinos and espressos with a choice of different flavorings and milk. Industry watchers say the drinks cost about 50 cents less than at Starbucks.

Starbucks, meanwhile, is already feeling a bit woozy after its stock hit a 52 week low, as detailed by Chicago Tribune writer Mike Hughlett in New pressures grind at Starbucks). The picture isn’t entirely hopeless for Starbucks, though – neuromarketing research may hold the key to staving off the McDonald’s challenge. […]

By |November 19th, 2007|

Sensory Marketing to Jolt Espresso Sales

One of the keys to the phenomenal success of Starbucks has been that its stores offer a consistent and appealing sensory experience. The music, colors, and lighting are all important, but clearly the wonderful coffee aroma is what dominates one’s senses on entering a Starbucks outlet. I enjoy brewing Starbucks coffee at home, too, but it never seems quite the same as when I consume it in the actual shop. It turns out that I’m not alone, and that my coffee maker isn’t the entire problem. Yes, coffee in the coffee shop DOES taste better, but not for the reasons you might expect. Research from another coffee maker, Nespresso, shows that 60% of sensory experience of drinking espresso comes from the retail environment! […]

By |November 1st, 2007|