Cofique: Brand or Commodity?

Why did Goody wait too long to evolve their ‘Cofique’ Brand?

I came to know Cofique when I saw an advert on a billboard in Tahlia Street, at first I thought it was Nescafé, little that I knew that I would be shocked to read the name Cofique, a ‘Me too Brand to Nescafé’. I immediately called few friends to investigate who is behind this new launch. I was shocked to find out that it was ‘Goody’ (Basamh Trading Co.’s Brand) which made me question as to why would it embark on such business move? The opportunity that arose from Nestlé and Basamh’s breakaway, left the market void of Nescafé, which Goody found as an opportunity to fill in as a ‘Me Too Brand’

Eventually few weeks down the line I had the opportunity to meet the head of Marketing and the Brand Manager of Cofique at their office to discuss my reservations, the second meeting took place at Starbucks in Tahlia, with a member of their Advertising agency. All my reservations were ignored and put aside, I guess they had a different perspective

Today, four years later after our first meeting, reality validated my reservations. Cofique went through several exercises to validate its existence but each path was faced with a challenge. I have always respected ‘Goody’ as a Brand but this strategy of ‘Me Too Brand’ made me wonder why would such company make a detrimental business mistake. The following points illustrates past and present of Cofique:

The Past

  • Launching as a ‘Me Too Brand to Nescafé’ validates the Brand Power of Nescafe. Literally, Cofique endorsed Nescafé
  • Cofique went on with a massive Advertising campaign during the first launch as a ‘Me Too Brand to Nescafé’, this campaign reminded the consumers of Nescafé, the category leader
  • When Nestlé was back as a Foreign Direct Investor in Saudi market, Nescafé filled the supermarket shelves, Cofique took the defensive approach and focused on the single Marketing Mix (Price) in order to compete
  • Cofique claimed 8% market share on their 3rd year. Well, in Instant Coffee category, only the first and second years matter. With Cofique being a look alike Brand to Nescafe, the 8% market share as a commodity makes 100% sense
  • Cofique is in a battle of being a Brand vs commodity, halfway through the journey they diverted from the ‘Me Too Brand’ idea by placing few design elements on their packaging

The Present

After 4 consecutive years, the management at Goody decided to take action to evolve Cofique from a ‘Me Too Brand’ to ‘Somewhat I’m different’. Clearly the re-positioning exercise missed many different attributes of change but again the end result in our region as ‘Brand’ is Design and Advertising. I still have to give Cofique the credit to the new offering which is not too distant from Nescafe’s offers

  • Cofique (the name) is well connected to ‘Me Too Brand of Nescafe’. Most Cofique consumers use Cofique as second choice to Nescafe, the name still validates Nescafé’s Brand attributes. Should the mission be evolution or revolution? Re-Branding, Re-Positioning or a whole new Brand altogether? Cofique’s management says ‘Equity’, well what is this equity associated with?
  • If we think of the recent changes that Cofique initiated, the question would be: Did Cofique needed a Re-Branding or a Re-Positioning exercise? If the strategy was to move completely away from Nescafé and create sub category then a new Brand was needed, if the reason is to identify market opportunity and fill the gap, then Re-positioning would be the best and still both type of evolution are dictated by the new business strategy. If Cofique re-positioned, GREAT! But to what? Flavored coffee? Instant coffee? The name is so much associated with Nescafé that the current SKUs are not too distant from Nescafe’s offerings; in fact I don’t see the Brand relevance
  • As much as I agree that Cofique needed to evolve from the ‘Me Too Brand’ taboo, I excepted a Revolution not an Evolution. Cofique needs a personal identity and a Value that will elevate the Brand from the shadow of Nescafé. The Goody coffee brand needed a new name but still holding on to the name ‘Cofique’ makes room for just another commodity, only
  • It’s clear to the management that Brand Equity is the priority, keeping the name Cofique is a must, it’s the Equity they care for but to us as Brand experts the name is a plague, it’s associated to Nescafé Brand Signals. Nescafé owns the SKU 3 in 1 and Cofique offers the same proposition so in terms of strategy, Cofique promotes Nescafe’s 3 in 1
  • Nescafé’s 3 in 1 makes Cofique the second choice based on Price (commodity)
  • Cofique will enjoy sales and gain market but not for long if the vision was to build a Brand rather than create just another commodity

So what is Cofique’s Re-Positioning besides following Nescafe’s Value and Re-Designed packaging? Will Cofique evolve further? Yes, plenty of money to be made as a second choice to Nescafé but only as a commodity and not as a Brand

I wish for Cofique and the management of Goody the best with the relaunch, their Marketing strategy and Brand strategy are worlds apart

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 28th December, 2014

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