Eight O'Clock Coffee Pours On Consumer Engagement

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The gourmet coffee brand links in-store promotion to social interaction through its multichannel sweepstakes.

Customer experience should be like a good cup of coffee: smooth and enjoyable. Gourmet coffee brand The Eight O'Clock Coffee Company tried to brew up this exact experience by launching a multichannel sweepstakes earlier this year.

Eight O'Clock Coffee wanted to generate brand awareness and sales for its Bonus Packs, coffee bags that offer 25% more coffee for no extra cost. The brand also wanted to generate engagement among young families—an audience that it realized it resonated with after partnering with the television series FRIENDS and sponsoring a pop-up of the show's famous coffee shop for its 20th anniversary. Because the percentage of consumers who are loyal to coffee brands is so low—approximately 40%, according to Eight O'Clock Coffee Brand Manager Michael Scalera—engaging customers to form long-term engagement and top-of-mind awareness at the shelf is particularly important.

“We know that if consumers engage with the brand socially, then they're more likely to go to the store and buy our product,” Scalera says.

To fill this tall order, Eight O'Clock Coffee worked with advertising, marketing, and PR agency S3 and launched the “Go Big for Hawaii Sweepstakes” in February.

As its name suggests, the sweepstakes offered customers the opportunity to win a trip to the Big Island by inviting them to submit pictures of themselves flexing their muscles in honor of Eight O'Clock Coffee “bulking up” their Bonus Packs, explains Jaime Hamel, S3's digital strategist.

Here's how participants could enter: Upon visiting one of Eight O'Clock Coffee's retail partners, customers would come across an in-store display shipper. The display would then direct customers to the brand's Facebook page, where they could view images of other people “flexing their coffee muscles,” Hamel explains. Then, customers would be redirected to the brand's microsite. Once there, consumers were asked to provide their email address and opt in to Eight O'Clock Coffee's email list. After entering in this information, participants could upload their photo and then spin a digital prize wheel for the chance to win free coffee or additional sweepstakes entries. Customers would upload a photo or spin the prize wheel up to once a day for the duration of the campaign, which ran until the end of May.

“It really got people from beginning to end to come back more than once, and that's the one thing that we were really charged with doing,” Hamel says.

Scalera says the campaign's biggest challenge was knowing whether customers would actually participate. The brand's efforts, however, paid off big time. Consumer engagement surpassed company goals by more than 230% and engagement with their target demographic increased by 100%. In addition to that, Eight O'Clock Coffee received more than 195,600 entries from more than 20,500 people—meaning that the average participant entered the sweepstakes approximately nine or 10 times. Plus, the campaign generated more than 11,600 email opt-ins, 314,000 unique microsite visits, and more than 13,500 engaged Facebook users.

In fact, the campaign was such a success that Eight O'Clock Coffee has continued to run campaigns that also have a multichannel approach, such as its current "Whole Lotta Beans Sweepstakes."

Certainly those are results that would make any marketer jump out of bed in the morning.

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