|My new Tassimo brewing system|
This holiday season seems to be a big one for coffee… whether your a retailer, fast-food chain or manufacturer of home brewing systems. Starbucks is well, Starbucks and decaf Via holds the current top spot for our household. McCafe has sent some goodies my way and incentives to try their premium caffeinated drinks. Like Tim Hortons’ premium coffee beverages, I have to wait for the decaf ones to hit the stores. Last but not least, home brewing systems for the third year running have been working hard to gain market share – for both gift items and holiday entertaining.
The Tassimo backstory...
I was one of many Twitter influencers selected to receive a free Tassimo machine and a supply of discs. Since then around this time of year, I receive a box of Tassimo discs. Last year, they offered to send Tassimo machines to two of my friends who were active online. You can read Bargainista’s Tassimo posts from 2009.
Several weeks ago, I received an impersonal email from Trapeze, an online marketing agency, conducting social media outreach for Tassimo. They sent me an email asking if I was interested in receiving discs (they actually sent the same email twice). I obliged and as a decaf drinker was pleased to see a new decaf cappuccino in their product offering.
A few weeks later I received another email from the same person. Like the previous ones, it was impersonal and requested I tell people in my network about how Tassimo stacks against Keurig:
“It’s the only home brewer with barcode technology. And when compared to the competition, we think TASSIMO comes out on top. We’d love if you could spread the word to your friends, family and followers about how the TASSIMO brewer stacks up against the Keurig®.”I was stunned. I’ve never been given any opportunity by Tassimo or any of their agencies to test the Keruig machine, either at home or at an event (granted I’ve used the industrial brewers but how would Erin at Trapeze know that.) I’ve since learned there’s been a heated battle between these two companies.
Regardless, their approach is a poor example of how to engage with influencers. The agency is asking for influencers to praise one brand while trashing another online and off, in order to increase word of mouth, share of voice and positive sentiment at the expense of a competitor, etc. I replied to the consultant asking her why she asked me to spread the word but never heard back. I also emailed to tell her my Tassimo brewer broke (coincidentally, it broke a couple hours later). She responded by sending me a link to their online customer service and a phone number to call. Not a cool way to treat influencers in my books, when agents for other products go out of their way to make sure influencers are happy and continue using them.
Coincidentally, two days ago, a woman from Veritas emailed me asking if I’d consider reviewing a Tassimo brewing system before Christmas. I’m not sure if she was aware of my participation in the earlier program or how she decided to contact me but I was curious. So, I replied to her email and told her about my recent experience. She asked me if I’d mind calling her to discuss it further. I did. I was impressed by how quickly she responded at 9 p.m. on December 22. She told me I’d be hearing back the next day. I did hear back, from a former colleague who wanted to make things right.
As you know, this story did have happy ending. Within less than 24-hours, Veritas and Trapeze worked together to send me a new Tassimo brewer on time for the holidays. I was impressed by their quick response and ability to right a wrong. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about me wanting to get free stuff but more about understanding the hows and whys of relationship building between bloggers, brands and their agencies. Some other bloggers who had been reached out to in 2009 by a former representative at a third agency as a result of the Tassimo program, and since felt they had been treated in a personal manner, the initial approach this year has been disappointing to say the least. Let’s hope my experience is a sign of change and recognition of the importance of personal relationships. Spray and pray doesn’t work, even if it’s less expensive at face value.
As for the comparisons between Tassimo and Keurig brewers, I’m staying out of that battle. I haven’t seen any bloggers weigh in, have you?
Do you have a Tassimo or another brewer? If so, are you happy with your machine? What's your favourite coffee?