How Coffee Industries Can Turn Threats into Positive Opportunities

By: Alyssa Taylor

Are Coffee Brands Missing A Huge Opportunity?

Most coffee brands see National Caffeine Awareness month as a threat, but why? Caffeine Awareness month is one simple ingredient they're missing in their digital marketing strategies.


 Coffee shops are becoming a popular social trend for Millennials

Coffee shops are becoming a popular social trend for Millennials

You’re all familiar with the huge national awareness campaigns, such as Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) and Mental Health Awareness month (May), but did you ever hear of Caffeine Awareness Month?

Months of the year are utilized by many groups, organizations, and businesses to raise awareness of an issue, an event, or celebration. Some holidays and awareness days fall under the radar, one in particular being Caffeine Awareness month, which comes every year during the month of March.

International Coffee Day (September 29th) and National Caffeine Awareness Month can often be mistaken for one another, as caffeine and coffee are closely associated. On International Coffee Day, digital marketers within the coffee industry find this as a perfect opportunity to market their coffee shops to their audiences. Coffee brands like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Tim Hortons have contributed to this growing movement of offering anything from free coffee and bogo deals on this magical day. But why haven’t digital marketers for these brands used National Caffeine Awareness Month as an additional leverage for business? First, let’s explain what National Caffeine Awareness is, and why we think coffee brands are missing a huge opportunity by neglecting Caffeine Awareness month.

So, what is Caffeine Awareness month and why is it so important? Caffeine Awareness occurs every year in March, and is dedicated to educating caffeine lovers on the health risks of over consumption of caffeine. Awareness is raised because although there are certain benefits to caffeine, there are also risks too. Over consumption of caffeine can cause elevated levels of blood pressure and increase risk of heart disease. Sources of caffeine can be found in anything from coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate bars!

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), in order to maintain a healthy diet it is recommended to limit your caffeine intake to 400 mg a day. Let’s be honest, no one knows how many milligrams are in a gram, a gram in a cup, and so on. Save the math and conversion charts for later and refer to visuals below to see about how much caffeine you intake day to day.

 The estimated amount of caffeine within each standard beverage

The estimated amount of caffeine within each standard beverage

Although there are risks to drinking caffeine, there are also benefits too. Caffeine can improve mental functions, memory, and even decrease fatigue. Researchers have also claimed that drinking caffeine can prevent type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease. Caffeine awareness month isn’t here to break off your relationship with your favorite source of caffeine. Instead, it’s awareness offers advice on how to limit caffeine before it creates potential risk factors to one’s health.

Studies have evaluated that about 83% percent of adults in the United States drink coffee. Coffee drinking is a trend that will most likely never die, with thousands of top coffee shops like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and local shops on the each corner street of America. Digital marketers of coffee brands, big or small, must realize that the threat of National Caffeine Awareness month can be turned into an opportunity. Instead of seeing Caffeine Awareness month as an anti-caffeine movement, coffee brands should use the movement not only to sell more caffeine, but to advocate for the well-being of their loyal, caffeine loving customers too.  

For example, both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts provide essential materials that are readily available on both their websites and mobile applications. Dunkin Donuts lists all ingredient and nutritional information, including caffeine, within each beverage on their menu of their website. In addition, Starbucks is keeping up with mobile trends with their digital application, in which customers can view nutritional information within their drinks such as, calories, sugar, and most importantly caffeine!

Starbucks mobile order application allows customers to easily skim through nutritional information on the beverages or food of their choice. Caffeine of each beverage is listed accordingly.

National Caffeine Awareness month is the perfect opportunity for Starbucks to increase downloads for their mobile application. Starbucks can advertise how their mobile application provides caffeine information of each beverage, which allows customers to easily monitor their daily caffeine intake. Overall, this would allow Starbucks to advocate for the well-being of their customers throughout the whole month of March. Showing that they care about their customers by providing essential materials to monitor their health would ultimately create better brand loyalty and trust of their company.

Here’s a few ideas of ways digital marketers for coffee brands can use National Caffeine Awareness month as an opportunity to increase sales and brand loyalty for their company.

  1. Host live videos on social media platforms of baristas making beverages, while also sharing caffeine information on their speciality drinks. During this process they should emphasize how each beverage is safe for the recommended amount of caffeine per day.
  2. Recruit social media influencers to market your cause to their followers! Social media influencers are changing the way brands can interact with their audiences. In our most recent blog post, we discuss proven results on how social media influencers have achieved huge reach and engagements with people across the globe.  In fact, researchers have proven that user generated content is more trusted than traditional media, especially when making a purchase. Coffee brands... it's time you recruit entrusted social media influencers to promote not only your business, but causes like Caffeine Awareness Month too!
  3. Create a platform within the mobile application for customers to track their caffeine intake of each day. Starbucks could utilize their "reward bar" and transform it into a caffeine tracker for their customers. 
 Starbucks allows viewers to track their rewards after each purchase. What if there was an automatic way for customers to track their caffeine intake with a similar progress bar? Source: Starbucks.

Starbucks allows viewers to track their rewards after each purchase. What if there was an automatic way for customers to track their caffeine intake with a similar progress bar? Source: Starbucks.

 4. Host events with FREE coffee or discounted coffee! It would be great to offer customers free coffee, especially to Millennials. Most Millennials you can find at college campuses, and no, you will not find a college campus without a coffee shop. Millennials have made a huge impact on coffee drinking as a trend. Millennials are likely to need the most caffeine education because often times it's hard to avoid over consumption of caffeine when they are loaded with exams and homework. Coffee brands should consider hosting events that somehow tie in education on caffeine awareness. Free coffee would be given to educate on how much caffeine is healthy. Millennials will gain free coffee from it, and coffee companies will increase better trust and brand loyalty from their Millennial following.

It’s safe to say you have all the resources to maintain a safer consumption of caffeine, and how threats can sometimes be turned into positive opportunities! Whether it’s an awareness month or day, brands should always be aware of the opportunities that national celebrations can bring to their company. The next time your brand is presented with a threat, consider using the TOP formula. The TOP formula (Think+ Open+ Push) will guide your brand into success. Think about the things that may pose as a threat to your brand, then be open and thoughtful on how it can potentially be transformed into an opportunity, Once you establish it's a massive opportunity, do nothing but push for success for your business.  Many coffee brands will still see National Caffeine Awareness Month as a threat to their business, but it will be the successful coffee brands who use the secret ingredient (TOP formula) to enhance their brand!