Coffee Wars

This guest post was written by 2016-2017 IMC Candidate Clare Harper and references what the students learned in a recent Branding class with teacher Steve Howell.

This past week in my marketing class we were assigned a group project entitled, ‘Coffee Wars.’ The class was split up into 3 teams: Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and the floaters. As part of the Tim Hortons’ team, my group’s task was to battle head-to-head against Starbucks to win over the floaters’ votes as the most preferred coffee shop. Both teams were asked to make a 5-minute slideshow presentation to appeal to the floaters as a group of target consumers. In our presentation, we discussed Tim Hortons’ brand image as an iconic, Canadian coffee shop, focused on giving back to their communities through camps, sports team sponsorships, and the smile cookie campaign.

Ultimately, I found this assignment to be a great learning experience because it required us to look specifically at our classmates in the floater group as individuals with wants and needs of their own, rather than trying to appeal to the average consumer. Relating the Coffee Wars assignment to marketing and communications outside of the classroom, it is important to closely examine your business’ competitors and stay up-to-date with their strategies in attracting consumers. However, it is equally as important to identify what your brand does better than the competition, how this is beneficial for your target market, and how you can capitalize on these strengths to advance your business.

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