Spotlight on: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Adam Tabachnikoff


Adam Tabachnikoff, senior vice president of global brand strategy for The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, shared his experience with building emotional connections with consumers.

Adam Tabachnikoff is an experienced marketer who knows when consumers want a cup of coffee and how they want it.

He joined The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as senior vice president of global brand strategy in October of this year. Before that, he held a few senior marketing positions at Church’s Chicken and Burger King.

Throughout his marketing career, Tabachnikoff has stood by one principle: the consumer comes first.

“Putting the consumer in the center of the decision making is not always the easiest or the most popular decision amongst colleagues, but consumer testing is so important. It gives us feedback so we know if we are headed in the right direction,” says Tabachnikoff.

By undertaking a consumer-based marketing approach, Tabachnikoff introduced new brand taglines for various products. At Church’s Chicken, he helped the brand launch 18 limited time offers, open six new international markets in a 24 month window, as well as redesign a Web page and launch a guest facing mobile app. Most recently, he led his team to push social media for Church’s Chicken, which tripled the brand’s Facebook followers compared to a year prior.

Of course, marketing for The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf  is different from marketing for Church’s chicken and Burger King, because they are offering different products. But what remains the same is the emotional connection that consumers are searching for with a brand.

“No matter whether you are serving cheese burgers, doughnuts or coffee, your consumers are looking for a good experience that they can connect with,” says Tabachnikoff.

He explains that in order to create that emotional connection, marketers across industry verticals need to understand who their target market is, as well as who their brand is, its competitive advantages and key differentiators. Marketers also need to understand how their design target interacts with their brand, and how products and services coincide.

“Once you understand this connection you can begin to market in a meaningful way. For example, if the design target is looking for new products and new [information], it is imperative to have a relevant product selection with limited time offerings. If your design target is looking for on-the-go options, it might make sense for you to offer portable products and convenient packaging to make the experience more conducive to how the consumers are using your brand and your products,” says Tabachnikoff.

Applying this marketing philosophy to his new gig at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Tabachnikoff believes that his team should be more focused on social media, mobile app development and loyalty programs.

For example, in collaboration with agency WONGDOODY, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf created an interactive social media campaign for this holiday season. From now until December 25, the company encourages fans to post a video on their own Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook pages tagging @TheCoffeeBean and using the hashtags #SlurpCarols and #PurpleStraw.

Looks like you are all slurping happy. Keep the videos coming! #SlurpCarols #PurpleStraw

A photo posted by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (@thecoffeebean) on

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will post user-generated holiday jingle videos on December 15 and 22, as well as a final megamix on December 25.

“Going back to our design target, we know our consumers are on their smartphones, so we need to be there with them. If this means telling our story on social media or offering a guest facing mobile app to make the experience more personal or more convenient, that is where we will focus our resources,” Tabachnikoff explains.

Aside from channel strategies, Tabachnikoff’s team will also pay more attention to the nuances in The Coffee & Tea Leaf’s 1,000 stores across 30 countries. After the company comes up with an overall marketing framework, it will allow franchisers and business partners to localize their marketing strategy in order to respond to customers on a micro-local level.

“In December, for example, it’s cold in New York City and Baltimore, while it’s still warm in Singapore and Saudi Arabia. The local language and culture vary so we need to think about the differences when we launch and promote our products,” says Tabachnikoff.


Being the head of marketing is a milestone in Tabachnikoff’s career. Looking back at his work experience in Mexico, Europe and Asia, Tabachnikoff believes that in order to advance in a marketing career, young professionals should step out of their comfort zone intellectually. A step-up may not always result in a promotion or salary rise, but it can broaden experience and an overall skill set.

“In retrospect, I would advise 20-year-old Adam to get out of his comfort zone as quickly as possible. My biggest successes have come from situations when I had bosses or mentors who pushed me to try something new,” he says.

“Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. But if you take the leap and get out of your comfort zone, you are bound to learn more about yourself and your new role. And this is a win every time,” Tabachnikoff concludes.

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