After signing pan-India deals with oil companies like HPCL, IOCL and BPCL to open up more outlets on highways by the year ahead, Barista Lavazza has firm plans in place to reach out to a wider range of customers. With these plans in place, the coffee brand is going all guns on expanding its retail network.
In an email conversation with exchange4media, Saurabh Swarup, Marketing Head, Barista Lavazza India, spoke on brand’s plans and the new look of the outlets.
In February 2010, Barista Lavazza completed 10 years in India with celebrations across all outlets. There was a special 10th anniversary logo at all Barista Lavazza stores in India, with a host of surprises, ranging from contests and prizes to offers and promotions.
“Barista Lavazza started out with no publicity, the espresso bars were the advertisements. The posters, tent cards and ambient graphics inside each espresso bar did all the talking, in a tone of voice that was witty, warm and welcoming. The rest happened through word-of-mouth, creating a group of loyalists along the way, for whom Barista Lavazza today is more than just a habit. Our belief is that the store is our brand ambassador and word of mouth kind of publicity is the way forward,” explained Swarup.
Product placement & refreshed looks
In recent times, innovative product placement strategies have also allowed Barista Lavazza Espresso Bars to feature in commercials and feature films. Swarup added, “Customers always find something new to look forward to at Barista Lavazza, be it special menus created for Valentine’s Day or the Friendship Jam, which involved exciting contests and activities for an entire week. There are the occasional live music performances, tarot card readings, handwriting analysis sessions, makeovers and caricature artists to enhance the overall guest experience.”
The brand regularly refreshes its store look and menu to keep up with changing consumer trends and launches a new line of beverage and food each quarter. The café chain had launched its new summer menu ‘Tropical Delights’ in April this year, followed by a Breakfast menu at all their outlets in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Delhi in May. While, June 2010 saw the brand tying up with UB Group to launch Four Seasons Wines at Barista Crème Lavazza, Lavelle Road, Bangalore.
When asked how the setting up of Live Media at the outlets was taking shape, Swarup replied, “The process of installation of the screens is well underway and nearing completion. The content is being developed specific to the tastes of the youthful target audience, who spend time at coffee shops.”
Meanwhile, on expansion plans, a company source said, “Within the expansion plans, Barista Lavazza will be setting up 12-15 highway stores in the next three years. The menu for the same will be altered to suit the travelers’ appetite. Also, presence in airports and metros will be an integral part of brand’s expansion strategy. We are also working on the news looks of the outlets.”
Riding the digital wave
The coffee brand is also riding on the digital wave and getting a very positive response. “Our objective is to create a virtual online Barista Lavazza space, which symbolises the identity of our brand. Our idea is to develop a huge Barista Lavazza community that is passionate about coffee and the café culture. On Facebook, we are getting great responses to our weekly contests like tagging and puzzles that are engaging in nature. We ensure interactivity through all our social media channels with regular updates on launches and events, interaction with and feedback forums,” Swarup stated.
The coffee chain has also been actively involved in recreational activities. Barista Lavazza, in association with Mattel, organised Barista Lavazza Scrabble Championship 2010 in May-June 2010. The just-concluded Friendship Day Jam celebrations in outlets all over India took its guitar association further and gave its guests and their gang of friends an opportunity to be famous through their music.
In 2009, the brand opened 45 stores and plans to continue the same momentum for the next 2-3 years.