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Costa: Bringing 21st century communication to the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand

The challenge

Voted the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand for eight years in a row, in the UK Costa employs more than 12,000 people across 2,300 stores. But Support Centre (HQ) employees had no way to communicate directly with the baristas serving their products.

Instead they depended on a cascade process that relied on area and store managers to pass communications along. Employees described this approach as being “right out of the 1990s”.

So Costa’s UK IC team asked Sequel to review the channel landscape and propose a new comms mix capable of meeting the needs of Costa’s growing business.

The solution

After meeting with the core IC team to agree a plan of action, we started gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback from Costa employees across the organisation.

From Bradford to Bristol, we travelled around the UK to ask 50 store employees about communication at Costa. Which messages were getting through and what were they missing?

We also gathered feedback through interviews with 30 Support Centre employees and an online, all-company survey – as part of which employees rated each channel individually, giving us a clear picture of their preferences.

The impact

We created a detailed 22,000-word report, encompassing the themes that had emerged from our research and a proposal for a new channel mix using a powerful combination of tools from the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

We presented our findings to IC stakeholders; firstly to the core team and then to their leadership. Afterwards, we helped our client prepare a business case by condensing our findings into a presentation for the Board.

The IC team is now focused on delivering recommendations, confident that the new approach will revolutionise its approach to communication and bring it straight into the 21stcentury.