Nescafé announced last week that the brand will be ditching its traditional branded website and transferring its digital presence to Tumblr, in a move that has certainly raised some eyebrows in the digital community.

The move will see Tumblr replace much of the brand’s digital communications strategy, but just why is the brand making such a bold move, and will other brands follow suit?

Creating real life conversations


Nescafé has claimed that the switch to Tumblr is part of a focus on "creating real life conversations with people", instead of simply "talking to" it's customers through a traditional dot com website.

Nescafé’s global head of integrated marketing, Michael Chrisment, told The Drum; “The dotcom is reflection of us talking to people; this approach is dead. It should be much more inclusive and allow conversations,” global head of integrated marketing. “[Tumblr] is fostering that possibility to co-create.”

It suggests that Nescafé will be placing a much greater emphasis on mediums such as user generated content, encouraging its customers to use the platform to share their creations and ideas through a multiple content formats. Tumblr is a ready-made platform to facilitate this, allowing publishers to post everything from text posts and images, through to animated gifs and Spotify playlists.

Getting customers to create content 2015-09-22 11-11-57

User generated content is what likely to be the key driver behind this strategy and, ultimately, Nescafé will be hoping that its customers will be prepared to provide enough content to populate this new platform. Tumblr allows Nescafé to very easily curate and collate positive brand mentions and then amplify those mentions to a wider audience, across multiple platforms.

All of its eggs (or beans) in one basket


Eyebrows were raised at this announcement, and much of those were due to the revelation that Nescafé will essentially be giving up technical control of its digital presence to a third party. Whilst it would be a reasonable assumption to suggest that discussions had taken place between the two brands, it still potentially leaves Nescafé (or any brand) at should Tumblr decide at some point to adopt a change of policy or make some form of technical change.

Nescafé has put a lot of its eggs in this particular basket, and Tumblr is holding the handle. That is something that would scare a lot of marketers.

Will other brands follow suit?


There are some very obvious reasons why this wouldn’t be appropriate for an awful lot of brands, but there are a lot of reasons why Nescafé can make it work.

The concept of ‘coffee culture’ is one that absolutely lends itself to social media, and visual content in particular. Brands such as Starbucks, Lavazza and Costa rely heavily on visual content to populate their social feeds and this approach absolutely taps into that.

Nescafé has promised that this will be a “fully transactional site” but it is important to note that the customer journey for a product and brand such as this typically doesn’t involve a digital channel. This is very much a supermarket shelf purchase and a largely brand motivated one at that, not one that relies on SEO to drive traffic to a transactional landing page. For brands that rely much more heavily on digital as a sales and acquisition channel, Tumblr probably isn’t the answer.

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