Customers’ Brand Perception in the coffee industry



We decided to conduct a survey in order to better understand customers’ needs and test brand awareness in this market.

The survey was shared during a few days and we get fifty answers.

82% of our responders are coffee drinkers and in that percentage, 48% drink coffee every day.


People drink coffee mainly for the taste and flavour, as an energiser (to wake up the morning or to stake awake along the day), for the pleasure and mainly because like it. People also do it because they have the habits to drink this beverage since they grown up and that this is a social drink that brings people together.

Concerning their consumptions habits, people prefer to drink it at the office, at home and on the go/to take away which shows that coffee drinkers are still very home based when they drink it.

When we asked people which coffee brands they know or consume, here are the ones that come most: Starbucks, Nespresso, Carte Noire and Maison du Café (L’Or).

In term then of association and brand personality, we asked different questions to the interviewers. First, we wanted to know which brand do they associate with high-quality coffee: 57% of the responders said Nespresso, 9% for Starbucks, 4,5% for Carte Noire, 6,8% for Lavazza and same for Illy. It is quite obvious that Nespresso is well associated with high-quality coffee, as they want people to think about it.

Then for the brand people associated with a good value for money: 16% answered Nespresso, 13,6% said Nescafé, 7% for Carte Noire and 9% for Maison du café (L’Or). It is quite surprising because people associated Nespresso as a high-quality coffee and at the same time as good value for money. Usually, people associate high-quality with high prices as a guarantee of quality.

For the brand they associated the most with in-store experience, they are also the same:

50% write Nespresso and 42% for Starbucks. Responders are divided in two for this question between the classy Nespresso experience and the trendy Starbucks experience. In order to go further, it would be interested to ask about people ages and current situation to be able to see if statistics confirm that young people are the ones who will be more attracted by Starbucks and 40years old+ people are more into Nespresso shops.

After these open questions, we decided to make people choose between the 4 brands we are studying: Nescafé (6,3%), Nespresso, Starbucks and McCafé. Here are the results: Nespresso is still the preferred brand among the other. Starbucks is the 2nd“preferred brand”.


But how can we explain this choice?

The main reasons given are the quality of the coffee, the range of choices, for the taste and aroma. The consumer experiences in-store is also very important: people are selecting the brand according to the perception and social values attributed: a trendy place for Starbucks or classy for Nespresso for example.

Lastly, our questions were about the definition of the brand, we asked one word to describe each of the four brands.

For Nescafé, the keyword was good value for money and average taste: people say that you have a good quality according to the price, it’s a convenient brand that is affordable and a good taste.

Then Nespresso is characterized by quality and premium: consumers appreciate the experience and social values attributed to George Clooney’s brand.

For Starbucks, the word that came the most was expensive and popular/trendy. Consumers are going there for the experience and the trendy aspects more than for the taste. The high selection of flavours (which are changing according to the season) is also something very appreciated by customers.

To finish with McCafé, the first word was cheap: in fact, this is the cheapest brand of all 4 with a low perceived quality and taste as many of our responders refers. It is fast-food and the go coffee that you will drink more because this is convenient for you (you already ate at McDonald’s’ or you are in a rush) and not because you like the taste of it.

To conclude according to all the questions, Nespresso seems to be the favourite brand for all targets: the perceived quality is higher with a very good association to in-store experiences. The brand is succeeding in applying communication strategies and making sure that they are sharing the right values.

Whereas, McCafé is suffering from a bad image for the quality of its coffee and this is mostly related to the fast-food. People take a coffee there more by convenience than for the coffee: the brand should improve the taste and choices if they want to stay in this market.

Here are our questions:



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