Dolce Gusto, a Coffee Pod Experience

Paul Richard Bang

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background: The experience economy field within the commodity industry has not traditionally been the focus of scholars, instead opting to discuss the notion of experiences in regards to the service and hospitality industry. I take the case study of Nestlé’s Dolce Gusto, a large brand within the coffee pod industry, which has tried to market itself as being a coffee experience at home in order to create a stronger bond with its consumers. Research question: The aim of my thesis is to help the Dolce Gusto brand develop a marketing strategy that seeks to create a competitive advantage by developing memorable experiences. As such, I aim to: 1) Discover how the brand Dolce Gusto can strategically work with experiences in the Scandinavian market in order to increase profitability; 2) Assess the level of attractiveness and potential of the coffee pod industry; 2) find out how Nestlé’s marketing strategy can incorporate experiences in order to create competitive advantage. Method: I start by observing the company and then develop the steps needed to answer my RQ. As such, I take a theoretical departure point in the resource based view, the industry based view and the experience economy. I then build an analytical framework based on my case study in which I analyze the Dolce Gusto portfolio from an experience perspective. My analysis is carried out using a combination of both primary and secondary qualitative research methods. Results: Based on my analysis, I recommend that the company should: 1) Focus on developing their story telling and the interaction aspects of their brand; 2) Develop experiences that have a cross platform focus 3) Develop a new marketing campaign to kick start the changes. My results indicated that the direct competitors to Dolce Gusto have little differentiating factors. Further, despite the success of Nestlé’s luxury pod machine the Nespresso, and their claim of being a café experience at home, the Dolce Gusto brand only works minimally with experiences and instead competes on price point. Contributions to academia: 1) The elaboration of an analytical framework that links resources, industry and experiences to marketing strategy and competitive advantage; and 2) the concrete study of how experiences can be used in the commodity industry to create competitive advantages. Suggestions for future research: I suggest that my analytical framework needs further refinement especially in regards to the resources analyzed. Lastly, my framework can be adapted to managerial purposes, giving brand managers a useful tool to use when analyzing their brand with an experience perspective.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages86