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Advertising Age has a story about Caribou Coffee, which has been retrenching since it closed 80 stores earlier this year and rebranded another 88 under the Peet's Coffee & Tea banner.

Alfredo Martel, Caribou's senior VP-marketing and product management, describes the strategy this way:

"We wanted to heighten our differentiation from Starbucks. And that was big, to really change the color palette, change packaging design, so that our branding would be more differentiated and more cohesive, with the retail as well as CPG. We were a fragmented brand because we didn't quite look the same way across our lines of business. We have continued to innovate around our coffee quality and beverages, and we expanded our line into non-coffee drinks and expanded and elevated our food portfolio significantly from 2010 until now. We've been on the journey of branding differentiation and product differentiation, and now a customer-experience journey, which will be the effort of cohesive branding and value proposition, a cohesive product platform, updated store design and technology ... It's an opportunity to play from a level of strength, rather than a position of playing, 'Hey, we're the little guy and we have to go fight Goliath.' It's an area that's a lot more balanced for us."
KC's View:
Wow. If there's an award for getting a lot of marketing jargon into a single paragraph, this fellow may qualify for it.

That said, Caribou seems to be trying to do what it has to do - differentiate itself from the competition, and do its best to play by its own rules, not the other guy's.