7-Eleven Taps Coffee Culture in Hong Kong to Froth its Image

For most, 7-Eleven has always been about easy accessibilty. The 900+ stores found throughout Hong Kong and Macau, sometimes within sight of one another, ensure that customers never need to travel far to quickly grab pre-packaged goods.

But now, parent company Dairy Farm is opening its wallet in a bid to associate the brand with higher quality products. It’s launching a multimillion Hong Kong dollar campaign to introduce a premium coffee blend in its 260 Daily Café kiosks, offering 100% Arabica bean cappuccinos and lattes to customers on-the-go.

With a HK$14 pricetag, the convenience store chain is staying well below the prices of established coffee shops like Starbucks or Pacific Coffee and makes no pretence of offering a full café experience.

“We identified different segments in the coffee market in Hong Kong and we found this is a ripe opportunity,” said Elman Lee, 7-Eleven’s sales and marketing director for Hong Kong and Macau. “They’re not looking for a barista to serve them, or for coffee art. They want accessibility, grab-and-go, but a very quality coffee.”

But after extensive consumer testing in Hong Kong, the brand determined that its regular customers, whom it’s targeting for return store trips, would appreciate a finer brew.

But 7-Eleven’s vision doesn’t end with its daily brew. “This is actually a strategic move,” Lee adds. “With the trend of current lifestyles we want to build more signature products to add to our brand.”

Already 7-Eleven is working on a signature ice-cream product and is eyeing more signature grab-n-go ready made snacks in future, Lee says. For now, though, coffee is the focus, underlined by new store designs that move the Daily Café kiosk machines next to its cash registers.

And while 7-Eleven doesn’t often shell out for expensive media campaigns, it is bolstering this coffee run with transit ads on bus seats, exteriors and MTR windows along with print ads and store promoters throughout Hong Kong and Macau.

Appealing to local customers is crucial, which is why 7-Eleven has enlisted local celebrities and influencers. Hip hop group FAMA will front the campaign, with social-media support on Facebook and WeChat from local heroes like Brother Cream, Kowloon’s convenience store celebrity cat (yes this British shorthair cat that lived in a local shop has a big following) and Everest mountain climber John Tsang. Such local KOLs have been invited to share their ‘coffee moments’.

“We’d like to engage our target customers by 360 degrees in their daily lives,” says senior CRM manager Cherry Cheung, who developed the campaign. “We really want to change the customers’ perception of convenience store food quality,” adds Lee.

Source: Campaign Asia

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