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marketing strategy

Nespresso is Nestlé’s fastest-growing brand, in part thanks to The Nespresso Club, with around 6.5 million members

Successful companies create and

own space within the marketplace and use social media to enhance customer experience. Organisations such as Ford in the US are great examples of this – companies that have changed their thinking and gone beyond just selling cars. Ford has used social media to create the successful ‘Ford story site’ that has developed into Ford Social ( – an interactive community where Ford owners can share stories, ideas, pictures and videos. In doing this, companies such as Ford are becoming the definitive source for information, products and services. Indeed, today’s cluttered markets

and the growing importance of social media have made content king. Or more pointedly, having something interesting and meaningful to say is becoming the real currency of success. Unique, high quality content is essential to break through the noise. Content is being filtered through

social media networks, based on personal preferences and peer group friends. The focus is now on creating useful content that adds value to member conversations. An example of this is Monocle, which started life as a luxury lifestyle magazine but which has developed, through a content-driven approach, into a premium media brand with web, broadcast and retail divisions. Monocle concentrates on global affairs,

business, culture and design. It positions itself as a brand that’s focused on keeping an eye on the world. The third question you therefore need to ask yourself is: How good is your content?

getting the message across Communicating to customers and the market is rapidly moving away from the

‘Big Bang Concept’. Life used to be easy. Annually, you would develop your marketing plan with key dates, produce your professional material, and then target your market and members accordingly (obviously that’s a simplified model, but you get the general idea).


n excellent example of ‘owning their own space’ is the coffee brand Nespresso, which allows people to make the perfect espresso at home. However, it has not all been plain sailing.

The technology was invented in 1976 and was introduced by Nestlé in 1980 to

the business market in Switzerland, but without much success. It was not until the appointment of a new CEO, Henk Kwakman, in 1997 that fortunes changed. Nespresso was repositioned around ‘Three Pillars of Excellence’. Firstly, the company focused on creating the perfect coffee – Grand Cru Coffees. Secondly, it set about delivering a perfect coffee every time through easy to use, distinctive and stylish coffee machines. Finally, it concentrated on building a community of coffee connoisseurs – The

Nespresso Club – based on creating the notion of exclusivity and providing personalised customer services, ie making people feel cared for. To help build the community, it used Facebook to connect members with actor George Clooney, who featured in the advertising campaign. Nespresso has now become Nestlé’s fastest-growing brand and has

approximately 6.5 million members in its club. Not only that, but the company claims that “50 per cent of all new Nespresso customers’ first experience of the brand comes through existing club members”. That’s powerful proof of the value of word-of-mouth, which is of course at the heart of social media.

50 Read Health Club Management online at

Numerous organisations produced very professional, polished and attractive marketing material. However, many companies are

rapidly realising that their existing content is insufficient and/or lacking legitimacy or substance for social media channels. We are now moving towards an ‘organic persuasion’ approach, based on continuous and meaningful communication within your members’ social spheres. Clubs are now in a dialogue era with members that requires you to go far beyond sales and e-brochures. Going to the gym is for many people an important part of their lifestyle; as communication becomes increasingly democratised, it will become even more important to connect with members in a meaningful way. I would like to give you something

to think about concerning my own gym membership experiences. My feedback is based on two distinct types of experience, but both with a unifying communication occurrence. The first relates to a high-end gym. Initially, in the pre-contract signing phase, there was regular contact and information. This continued for about a month and then abruptly ended. For approximately 10 months there was no communication until the membership was due to be renewed, or more bluntly when I said I was not going to renew. Funnily enough, communication from then was continuous until I unsubscribed. Let’s contrast this with my other

recent experience. This was at a low- end gym (but very nice I must say). The pre-contract signing communication

march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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