The Story of Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi and Syno International's Collaboration
In the vibrant heart of Istanbul, amidst the rich aroma of Turkish coffee, a story of collaboration and growth takes shape. It involves Syno International, and Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, an esteemed Turkish coffee brand. This story goes beyond just a partnership; it's about how classic businesses like Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi can thrive today by teaming up with innovation and drive.
Here’s our latest interview between Per-Erik Kärnekull - Head of EMEA at Syno International, and Communications Consultant at Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi company - Suna Altan:
Per-Erik Kärnekull: - Can you give me some background of your company?
Suna Altan: - Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi was founded in 1871 and is one of the oldest coffee roasters in the world. The company continues to be a family business, now with the third and fourth generations in charge. We are based in Istanbul, Turkey, and employ some 350 employees. While our brand is most well-known for Turkish coffee, which we have been producing for over 150 years, we now also produce a range of quality filter and espresso coffees and have exported to 60 countries across the globe.
P-E. Kärnekull: - How do you organize the marketing work for Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi?
S. Altan: - We have formed a small committee of experienced advertising and social media people, as well as graphic designers, photographers, and more - setting up dedicated creative teams for different projects, each with a strong involvement from the family. I believe that this is a good and very effective way of working.
P-E. Kärnekull: - What are your main marketing activities?
S. Altan: - Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is by far the leading local coffee brand in Turkey and a respected household name across the country and all demographies, even though the company is not a big advertiser. This means that we must be very careful not to damage the brand’s strong equity with existing users while reaching out to the new generation. The company is very active in direct marketing activities, offering coffee tastings at universities and other public venues, and participates in many coffee fairs in Turkey and abroad. We also support several arts and culture projects with sponsorships in classical music, cinema, and the graphic arts and have developed a steady social media presence with information about coffee, the company’s products, and activities. More recently we have also developed commercials, and we broadcast on social media and TV.
P-E. Kärnekull: - It seems this was quite a production! What was the feedback from consumers?
S. Altan: - We were quite surprised about the incredibly positive reaction people showed to the commercial. It was maybe also a bit affected by the category. We all love coffee! But people have a true affection for the brand and feel proud about us being a local company continuing and upholding the tradition of Turkish coffee.
P-E. Kärnekull: - What is the role of market research and consumer data in your work?
S. Altan: - Research is a crucial part of measuring the impact of marketing activities and continuously understanding how awareness and perception of our brand are developing.
P-E. Kärnekull: - What is the latest campaign you have tested about?
S. Altan: - The campaign itself was developed for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic on the 29th of October 2023. What we wanted to do with this campaign is to kind of create a parallel between our shared enjoyment of coffee and our shared values in the Turkish Republic. And I'm happy that this film became quite sensational on YouTube. We got over 16 million views in just about two weeks. It was aired mainly on digital media platforms and some mainstream TV channels.
P-E. Kärnekull: - And how did it perform in the research we conducted on behalf of you?
S. Altan: - The commercial was one of the most successful ads to celebrate the Turkish Republic's centennial. In a post-test that we did with Syno, over 90% of the respondents who saw the commercial said that the brand was in “good regard” and successfully portrayed it as “the main Turkish coffee brand".
However, because many other labels, such as banks and other large-budget consumer brands, also aired commercials about the centennial at the same time, about half of the respondents could not recall the commercial, and only roughly a quarter of them had successfully associated it with the brand. But given that it was aired only for a short period, we are quite happy with the result. I believe that ongoing research will help us improve the effect of our marketing and advertising activities across the board.
P-E. Kärnekull: - You mention you are a relatively silent brand as compared to other brands in your category - why is that?
S. Altan: - Our research shows that young people are a bit fed up with being told what to do and consume. I think young people want sincerity and personal touch from companies and not be bombarded with advertising. It's so difficult for small or medium-sized family companies to compete successfully against the big players. One of the most important things that these family-owned companies have going for them is the personal touch and the passion that they bring to their work. This is especially true for this company. And research shows us that this does resonate with young people.
P-E. Kärnekull: - Those are very encouraging words for many family-run companies. So, when it comes to your future needs for consumer data - what are you looking for? What is important in the future in terms of your data strategy?
S. Altan - For us, it’s important to continue using your services for all the research, when it comes to understanding how consumers, especially the young generation, view our brand. Going forward, we believe our main challenge is to effectively communicate our entire product range beyond Turkish coffee, especially with younger audiences, and possibly widen the usage of consumer data in other areas as well, such as product development and packaging development. We look forward to working together with you in all areas!
Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi's journey, enriched by Syno International's insights, is a remarkable example of how tradition and innovation can blend to create a brand that resonates deeply with consumers worldwide. Their story is not just about coffee; it's about heritage, innovation, and the power of understanding the consumer.
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