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No half measures as Dome emerges into public sphere

Dome Coffees Australia has grown from a small, specialist coffee roaster to a multi-million dollar international franchise operation. In the first part of a six-week focus on WA marketing success stories, Julie-anne Sprague investigates Dome’s new marketing communications strategy.

SINCE its inception in 1990 Dome Coffees Australia has set out to roast the world’s finest coffees and market itself so the Dome brand is synonymous with quality blends.

Its success on both these counts has come despite minimal marketing efforts over the past two years following a decision by (then) incoming chief executive Nigel Oakey to pull back from the public sphere and spend time tweaking and moulding the company’s back-end functions.

The mending is all but complete, and with the company poised for further international growth, Mr Oakey has now put in place a marketing channel that will provide a platform for future global communications.

The company is currently in the midst of a 16-week advertising campaign whereby for the first time the Dome brand will appear on television sets and cinema screens.

The two 15-second and one 10 second television commercials aim to illustrate Dome’s point of differentiation in the market to a mass audience, according to Mr Oakey.

“This is the beginning of a much wider and more intensive and more involved period for the company,” he told WA Business News.

“We’ve now got a consistent menu platform, a robust production platform, and we’ve got a unique point to sell. Now is the time to start communicating that.”

Mr Oakey said the company had started its marketing efforts in Perth with a vision of carrying the messages across to its Asian and emerging markets.

“We are building the marketing communications so that we can leverage for a bigger vision,” he said.

“We are developing the tool kit that will provide the marketing communications platform.”

Mr Oakey said the decision to use television was a consequence of the volume of stores Dome now operated in WA and of the need to develop concepts and initiatives to take offshore.

“Over the next five years we are going to grow in the Asian market and, often, TV is the dominant channel of communication. We are starting to fill the tool box and to the people who were are looking at doing development with us in new markets, the TV ads have appealed to them,” he said.

The Dome advertising was developed by Claremont-based brainCELLS, which Mr Oakey said was happy to break traditional client structures.

“My experience has been that the traditional model of client, account manager, and creative and then the people down the back, is often dysfunctional because the marketing agency is not deeply embedded in what you are doing with the organisation,” he said.

“You spend a lot of time wandering through the woods before you get anywhere.

“brainCELLS has been happy to take a different approach to working with us.”

Mr Oakey said working differently from the traditional advertising model resulted in quicker delivery of the end product.

“From the conceptual stage to finish it was four weeks,” he said.

The campaign consists of two-week blocks of press, print and cinema with some overlap between each of the media.

 “We worked out the media that would give us the biggest reach,” Mr Oakey said.

“Scoop was a bit different but it has our target market. It has been a surprise; we are on the back cover and we have had a positive response. You don’t realise how many of these things are sitting on coffee tables.”

The television commercials have allowed Mr Oakey to bolster his internal marketing efforts.

“Our people are in those ads. The first commercial, the one with the jumping beans, has our Mt Lawley manager in it, Nicola Marmichael, and she has been getting asked for autographs. It’s great.”

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