The Luxuisation of Commodities: A Consumer-based Brand Equity Analysis in the Coffee Industry

Giorgio Natali & Alessandra Gnoni

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis has its foundations on a contextual analysis of the coffee industry. The phenomenon under investigation is specifically that of the rise of the Fourth Wave, implying a market for coffee where such commodity has increasingly shifted its perception towards a premium-luxury image and coffee pods have taken the position of market drivers for growth in the industry. Given such paradigm shift, coffee pods companies are facing the need to differentiate themselves from a consolidated competitive landscape, where entry barriers have been lowered and the attractiveness of this market category has seen a rising threat of new players. With their competitive advantage at risk, existing companies need to identify opportunities in the market, which their competitors have not been able to address yet. A market development strategy is therefore suggested throughout this thesis, by means of the case study of Nespresso. Specifically, it is assessed whether the inclusion of Prospective Consumers in the existing audience of the brand is feasible and profitable for Nespresso in the long term, and whether it can result in anticipated loyalty. With a background knowledge of theoretical literature on this topic, data collection and analysis have been adopted in the form of qualitative methodology to specifically address relevant key issues, such as rationales behind such strategy, the practical implementation of it, and the risks and benefits to be acknowledged. By generating conclusions at the case level for Nespresso, a broader and wider perspective on the issue at hand was gained. This resulted in the development of implications, both in terms of managerial actions and a theoretical contribution to the marketing literature. On the light of the overall findings, considerations about the applicability of the newly developed theoretical framework have been undertaken, with respect to the case company itself and other industries, which may benefit from the outcome of the research.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages263