Tim Hortons Customer Experience

Tim Hortons Branding: Sizing Up the Customer Experience

In Brand Promotion by Distility3 Comments

Canadians love coffee. Coffee is the #1 beverage for adults in Canada. The average Canadian drinks almost 50% more coffee than their U.S. neighbours. Most Canadians also love Tim Hortons. It is arguably Canada’s most beloved brand. Tim Hortons has built its brand on a well executed brand strategy. Tim Hortons promises freshness. Their personality is small town friendly. Their position is great value. In our Distility 1day1brand workshops, Tim Hortons is one of our go-to examples; Distility 1day1brand participants learn about brand promise, brand personality and brand position by comparing Tim Hortons and Starbucks.

Tim Hortons Brand Changes Make Headlines in Canada.

Given the Tim Hortons brand popularity, it is no wonder that its announced cup size change is considered newsworthy. Yes, for our readers outside Canada, you didn’t misread the last sentence, a coffee cup size change is making headlines and even the evening news.

Tim Hortons is changing the name of their hot cup sizes on January 24, 2012, so that extra-large became large, large became medium, medium became small and small became extra-small. In the troubling “super-sizing” trend, it has also introduced a new 24 ounce extra-large size. The change doesn’t include a pricing increase. The price of each size is staying the same – just the name of size is changing. The stated reason for the change is to make room to offer that 24 ounce giant cup of coffee that some customers said they wanted.

Tim Hortons branding change show it is thinking about the Customer Experience.

Beyond the super-sized coffee cup, the change is at its core all about customer experience and ensuring that the customer experience reinforces the Tim Hortons brand position of great value. As the larger size cups of other chains (Starbucks, McCafé, Second Cup, etc.) become the norm, Tim Hortons cups sizes have gotten out of sync with its competition. Prior to the change, a Tim Hortons “large” cup was the size of its competitors’ “medium” cup. The change will make Tim Horton cup size names more in line with its competition.

While it may seem to be an insubstantial change and that cup size names don’t really matter, a brand which is built on great value is not built if customers perceive that they are getting less.

The lesson is that all aspects of the customer experience is important. It is all the aspects of the brand experience (large and small) that can add up to make or break your brand. To endure, a brand must keep its eye on the competition and trends in its category, never lose sight of the customer experience and always deliver on their brand’s promise, position and personality.