retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Caribou Coffee, the nation’s second largest coffee chain, has been shifting its brand image from being a place that simple serves beverages designed to keep you awake to one that is “a brand central to an engaged lifestyle,” according to a story in Nation’s Restaurant News.

“Starting with the introduction of several premium menu items in the fourth quarter of 2009 and including the rollout of vibrant brand materials in March and a relaunched website in April, Caribou sought to elevate its positioning in the marketplace with a new look and greater focus on the customer experience,” NRN reports, adding, “Since the arrival of chief executive Mike Tattersfield in August 2008, Caribou had changed course from system expansion to improving service and growing sales at the unit level, officials said. As the rebranding developed over the latter part of 2009, it encompassed not only a new look, but new product offerings as well.”

“We did a lot of soul searching in terms of what’s at the core of our brand proposition, and the customer experience rang so loud and critical,” says Alfredo Martel, the chain’s senior vice president of marketing. “So we recommitted to living up to providing that experience, and the path was product innovation.”
KC's View:
Full disclosure...Caribou Coffee is a valued MNB sponsor. But I would have done this story if it were not, so I did not want to penalize Caribou for its good taste in sponsorship venues.

I just like the positioning of the company as “a brand central to an engaged lifestyle.” It isn’t necessarily for every brand, but it certainly is the right choice for any aspirational brand.