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Communicating Christmas at Costa Coffee
back to grid

in a nutshell

Costa Coffee is the largest coffee shop business in the UK with over 2,380 coffee shops. The brand’s passion for delivering an exceptional coffee experience to its customers has seen the coffee awarded “Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland” by Allegra Strategies for the eighth year in a row. Like any major retailer, Christmas at Costa Coffee begins early. This summer, the internal communications team began working with us to develop a high-impact, highly engaging cascade to inform and engage all Costa Coffee employees in this campaign. We developed a range of communication tools, cascade packs and briefing materials to capture the key messages, cascading them through all layers of the business.


the challenge

Costa Coffee has a wealth of experience in delivering operational communications, with a strong focus on KPIs and efficiency. Based on employee feedback from 2017, the team wanted a simpler way of communicating key messages and to ensure that the right level of detail was delivered to the right people – from Area Managers through to front-line baristas. With content relating to store operations, new products and recipes, marketing campaigns, and seasonal KPIs – we had to make it simple for people to digest what they need to know and what they need to do. What’s more, we had to help sustain energy and motivation throughout the vital nine-week period of Christmas.

the response & delivery

Based on previous years, Costa Coffee had a range of core communication materials that needed a refresh and a rebrand. From posters to planners, recognition cards to record sales certificates, trackers to tray liners, we applied the look and feel of the Christmas campaign to all employee materials, giving them a consistent, professional and, most importantly, festive feel!

In the meantime, we started gathering key Christmas messages to form the basis of a new cascade pack to be given to Area Managers and Store Managers. We attended their Christmas Conference in early September, to hear direct from senior leaders and important departments across the business. This content was processed into a cascade pack consisting of the following items:

For Area Managers:

•  A simple slide deck to brief Store Managers, including space to put content and figures relevant to their areas

•  A facilitator guide to instruct them through the briefing process 

•  Previews of the briefing exercises designed for store teams

For Store Managers:

  A poster displaying headline messages from the Christmas Conference

•  A facilitator guide to instruct them through the briefing process

•  Scenario cards – to have team members think about some typical situations they may find themselves in and how to ensure they deliver great service no matter what happens

  Food and drink cards – featuring facts and stats about all key new products being released over Christmas

•  An employee handbook as a reminder of key messages

This cascade empowered managers with the content and messages they needed to not just inform colleagues, but really engage them in the upcoming season. It also gave them the ability to refine and localise messages, ensuring that employees only hear the content that really matters to them.


different items of
collateral produced
for colleagues


number of
stores receiving

the impact

“We were extremely impressed with the professional way in which scarlettabbott approached our brief to help us better communicate our largest campaign of the year – Christmas! They immediately understood our approach to communications and based on this built a number of engagement tools to support our needs. They were a great extension to our team at the busiest time of the year.”

Elaine Walsh, Internal Communications Manager, UK and Ireland