“If only it rained coffee in the fields…” says Dominican songwriter Juan Luis Guerra in his 1989 hit Ojalá Que Llueva Café, a song of hope that uses coffee as a symbol of fellowship, solidarity, and prosperity.
Coffee brings people together. The brew is enjoyed and shared all around the globe, and creates jobs worldwide. Coffee truly is a universal drink – second in popularity only to water, according to the British Coffee Association.
Yet, we don’t all drink coffee prepared the same way or even in the same kinds of settings. Comadres in Mexico might get together to brag about their children’s’ latest accomplishments over a comforting warm cup of the black brew… Attendees at a Portland conference hold recycled paper cups of the beverage while they discuss ways to make a difference in the world… Strong café cubano “is the octane that fuels South Florida.” Some like it hot, while others prefer it ice-cold… black, or with cream… And americano in many places is a regular drip-brewed coffee, like what you get in very large to-go cups at gas stations across the United States.
All these differences reflect not just individual preferences, but also cultural expressions. But, unless you’re a marketer selling coffee, why should that matter to you?
At a recent Executive Summit on “Preparing U.S. Leadership for the Seismic Cultural Demographic Shift,” Lou Mercado, VP, Inventory Management at CVS Health, used coffee as an example of the importance of understanding culture and the consumer.
“If we look at one item in our inventory, coffee, it’s a big deal to the Latino community if you don’t have that product on your shelves,” he said. “If you run out, you’re not just going to lose that one sale, you’re going to lose that customer – which is one of the most loyal customers you can have – not to mention the family and friends they’re going to tell. And with social media, the message goes out faster and wider.”
To be successful going forward, he said, marketers must understand the cultural demographic shift, and make the conversation about things that really matter to consumers.
Marketers – no matter the brand or product they are marketing — must first be clear on what is – and what is not – their consumers’ “cup of tea” (or coffee). How, where, and with whom do they consume your product? Where and how do they purchase it? Above all, what are the cultural beliefs and behaviors that influence their path to purchase?
Then engage them in a valuable and authentic experience around your brand, and maybe it will rain… café.