Profile: Mr Bean abroad - David Hutchinson Marketing director, Costa Coffee

David Hutchinson has been drinking a lot of coffee since the birth of his first child.

Although at 18 months he is hardly a newborn, the little boy is still a handful and up at all hours of the night. But at least as marketing director of Costa Coffee, Hutchinson can lay his hands on all the caffeine he needs.

As part of its push to become a global brand, Hutchinson is overseeing the birth of Costa Coffee in India. The brand has been developing international operations, and has 90 outlets in Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East. Hutchinson says Costa's plan is to 'focus on low-hanging fruit first', although it has designs on European expansion.

The hands-on marketer, who has been with Whitbread for almost 11 years, believes Costa has the potential to become the world's second-biggest coffee brand behind Starbucks.

Hutchinson was always committed to netting a marketing role in the leisure industry, and secured a placement with Chef & Brewer as a student. When he graduated, he accepted a job with Bass, which gave him a taster of new product development while working on the launch of Caffrey's Irish Ale. He later moved to Whitbread, where he worked across the group's pub brands.

Although Hutchinson misses perks such as a monthly beer allowance, he was attracted to the 'broader challenge' he faced at Costa. 'How our brand looks and feels, and how we adapt and change it are crucial to our success,' he says.

During his 14 years in the ind-ustry, Hutchinson has been involved in almost every aspect of marketing, from TV sponsorship to CRM. 'I am not a purist marketer and have spent a lot of time in operational positions,' he says.

Debbie Smith, managing director of agency Meteorite, which has worked with Hutchinson for four years, says he has a well-rounded understanding of the entire business. 'He engages people at all levels of the business,' she says.

Hutchinson is on the executive board at Costa, reflecting the importance of marketing to the company. The stores are undergoing a rebrand to update their look and feel; a third of outlets have been transformed and the remainder will be finished within two years.

Costa's growth means its marketing structure is constantly changing, and the brand is in the process of appointing a head of UK marketing and a marketing chief for the Middle East.

Hutchinson has been working with Interbrand to develop a three-year strategy to build Costa. 'We are looking to move into advertising, but we won't be appointing a big agency or spending £10m on TV,' he says.

An evangelist for Costa's Italian heritage, Hutchinson is keen to raise its profile. He feels that if he could bring consumers to the Lambeth factory to meet master roaster Gino Amasanti, smell the coffee and see its quality, they would become brand ambassadors instantly.

Every year, just before Christmas, Costa's senior management team work in a store. Always up for a challenge, Hutchinson opted for the busiest outlet, in Heathrow airport. Charged with controlling the panini grill, he messed up. 'It made me realise the most important skills are those we give our team members, and any breakdown affects customers immediately,' he says.

Hutchinson, who lives in St Albans, also confesses to visiting Costa's high- street stores when he is out and about. Coffee, it seems, is a passion not left for work alone.

He is also involved in NPD, from drinks to expanding the range of food, and is well versed in market trends. Pointing to the reams of media coverage dedicated to health and fitness, Hutchinson warns consumer behaviour isn't always what is expected. 'Visiting a coffee shop is a fundamentally indulgent experience and consumers don't always want low-fat products,' he says.

Looking ahead, Hutchinson hopes to leverage Costa's rich heritage to expand the brand. As coffee shops are the UK's fastest-growing retail market, Costa is well positioned to succeed.

CAREER HISTORY 1991-1995: Various roles, trade marketing, Bass 1995-2000: Marketing manager, rising to marketing controller, Beefeater 2000-2004: Marketing director, Brewers Fayre 2004 Marketing director, Brewers Fayre and Brewsters 2004-present: Marketing director, Costa Coffee

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