A coffeeshop is more than its coffee

Every few months I take a long drive to my parents and I always stop at a particular Esso petrol station. This petrol station sells Costa Coffee from a machine and the coffee is almost as good as getting the coffee from the Costa Coffeeshop near my home, where I sometimes sit and work.

But the experience is totally different. At the coffeeshop I am greeted by the barista with a big smile, I can sit and use the wifi in comfortable surroundings for as long as I like. The cup is china not cardboard. At the petrol station, well, it’s a petrol station, I’m lucky if the cashier makes eye contact.

While both offer the same About coffee, and I visit both, it’s the sign above have the door that lets me know what kind of experience I’ll have.

Esso says “We sell Costa” which tells me that I’ll get the coffee but not the rest of the product. Esso isn’t pretending to be Costa.

If all Associates Esso stations rebranded as Costas people walking into a Esso for a first time might expect comfy sofas and free wifi. Equally they might walk into a Costa expecting to purchase petrol. Either way they’d walk away frustrated.

If we lend our brand out – allow others to start calling themselves our name, using our logo, font or photography – we’re letting them put cheap jerseys China our name above their door but with no control over what they do inside task assignment software. We’re not making it clear and transparent for our customers what they’ll get.

Sometimes you want coffee with a seat and an atmosphere. Sometimes you just need coffee to sustain you through another hour and a half of driving. Costa makes Attack it easy for their customer to know which they’ll get.