Riding high on customer nostalgia and strong marketing, brand CCD lives on

Despite debates around its financial situation and the sudden demise of founder VG Siddhartha, brand Café Coffee Day still strong

by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published - Aug 8, 2019 8:13 AM Updated: Aug 8, 2019 8:13 AM

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CCD

A lot can still happen over a cup of coffee, believe patrons of the 23 old coffee shop brand Café Coffee Day. In spite of the ongoing debate and discussions around the financial situation of the brand and founder VG Siddhartha’s sudden demise, the coffee brand continues to connect with customer sentiment.

“CCD is omnipresent. It is a nostalgic brand that has become a habit for people,” said entrepreneur Sandeep Kohli, remembering the first cafe of the chain opening its gates in Bangalore’s Brigade Road in 1996 (where then Kohli-led KFC also had an outlet). “It was pretty hard to miss the café on Brigade Road and the sentiment around the brand remains pretty much the same in spite of all the recent unfortunate developments,” he added.

But what works in favour of the brand that apparently isn’t financially stable? “Distribution, distribution, distribution these are the magic words that worked in favour of the brand that had close to 2000 outlets in India. The guy who has the maximum signage wins the brand game. In the QSR (quick service restaurant) world no body cracked the distribution code better than CCD. If we were to talk of VG Siddhartha’s sudden death it has only made people more sympathetic towards the brand especially the last letter he wrote. Loyal customers now don’t want to let go off the brand even more,” Kohli added.

The two-decade old brand had a huge first-mover advantage that helped it stay afloat in the cluttered coffee shop space. “CCD as a brand was built over many years through its (then) novelty, ambience and just word of mouth. The brand equity was built on its affordable coffee and a great place to meet and socialize,” said Sabyasachi Mitter, Founder and MD of media agency Fulcro.

Comparing the case to several others, where top bosses and founders of companies were in the news not for the right reasons, Mitter said, “Unlike brands that had strong and well known promoters, Naresh Goyal and Jet Airways or Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher, VG Siddhartha was not known to the average CCD patron. Hence his unfortunate demise may have been the talking point for a few days but had no real impact in the relationship between CCD and its customers. For most as long as the coffee is good, life goes on.”

Strong brand loyalty continues to be an asset for the coffee shop chain. “Unlike other brands, where the brand’s action is in question, VGS has been personally under pressure as has been his business. The tragic news only would have made more customers opt for CCD, to express solidarity,” said N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research.

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