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Wonderworks Intelligence Report: A Peek Inside Taste & Imbibe

In any industry, understanding which products present the biggest opportunity is key to building a sustainable business.

Our client, The House of Suntory, recently invited us to Taste of London, one of the UK’s biggest consumer food and drinks events. This year’s Taste celebrated sustainability and championed craftsmanship in food, drink and atmosphere with the theme, ‘Wild in the City’. Attending this event, and observing the behaviour of the many new and established brands there, gave us a fantastic insight opportunity.

Our curiosity for observing drinks trends led us a week later to Imbibe Live, a platform of discovery for drinks professionals now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

We thought it apt to combine our observations of the two events, aimed at different primary audiences, to identify the concepts and trends set to drive the drinks industry into the next decade.

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Wonderworks Trend Report: Growth Drivers

As we reach the halfway mark of 2019, we consider industry performance so far this year.

One of the most striking features is the rise of spirits brands. Growth rates have almost doubled since a volume decline in 2017, and by 2022 the global spirits industry has a projected value of USD 808 billion.

So, what strategies & consumer trends are behind this growth? In this report Wonderworks looks curiously into the world of spirits marketing to identify the key trends and how they manifest into brand experiences across multiple channels to grow margins. We provide detail on 4 key growth strategies that we recognise are unlocking the potential of spirits brands so far this year. The report also presents opinion from Edrington Beam-Suntory, who have worked alongside Wonderworks to deliver spirits brands growth in a new industry landscape.

Key takeouts:

1. The Instagram Effect. Social media marketing – in particular graphic dominant Instagram – has a powerful effect on the establishment of brand-consumer relationships.

2. Engaging Consumer Experiences. Demand for experiential drinking occasions suggests brands which offer additional elements to engage audiences beyond simply providing products are evaluated more positively by consumers.

3. Impactful Serve Strategies. Distinct and ownable serves which are inherently linked to the brand and can influence other aspects of strategy keep drinking relevant and exciting.

4. On-trade Engagement. Consistent and authentic relationships with key players in the on-trade is vital for brand success.

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Wonderworks Trend Report: Sparkling Wine

UK sales of sparkling wine hit record levels in 2018 and the category’s growth shows no signs of stopping, with key changes still happening. 

This month, London wine week and London wine fair invited thousands of consumers and trade experts to celebrate emerging industry trends. Sales of sparkling wine in the UK hit a record-breaking £2.2 billion in 2018 (10%YOY), making this one of the country’s fastest growing drinks categories. At wonderworks, we stay curious about such exciting trends. This report analyses the performance of sub-category competitors as well as new opportunities that bubble out of category growth. The report explains why marketers should be taking note of these trends. We present ‘moments of wonder’ or innovative examples of strategy from brands keeping the fizz going. Finally, the report offers exclusive opinion from industry expert James Robinson, business manager at Liberty Wines.

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Wonderworks Trend Report: Craft Beer

Beer is big business. The estimated worth of the global beer market in 2017 was USD 593 billion.

The category is dominated by giants including AB InBev which owns brands such as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s and Corona. The company is estimated to sell one in four beers around the world, taking 45% of the industry’s profits.

The rise of the independently-owned craft beer movement has created a challenge to mainstream producers like AB InBev. Craft beer keeps growing and is changing consumer attitudes towards what beer is and how it should be made and enjoyed.

In this trend report we take a closer look at the rise of craft beer and where this is leading the broader drinks industry.

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Retail Revolution

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Retail Revolution

On any day trip ‘Up West’ my first stop was always Vivienne Westwood’s ‘World’s End’, where I pawed over new designs and planned that I might buy on my next visit. I would relish in the moment, in this wonderful tactile space knowing this was the only shop I could make a Westwood purchase, once I’d saved for it.

Continuing down the King’s Road, I’d repeat the joy of browsing and trying-on different clothes and shoes. Spending time with friends before heading off to Covent Garden Market and Soho to grab a coffee and pastry from ‘Food for Thought’, an original vegetarian cafe offering unashamedly home-spun, handmade food. Sadly, after more than 40 years of refusing to be processed, packaged and pocketed this wonderful cafe closed its independent doors in 2015 - another casualty of rental price hikes on the High Street.

Back in the 80s & 90s a day out shopping was a day of pure fun. Shopping was an experience. The high street was worth travelling for. A joyful experience of browsing, discovery, connecting and falling in love with the product. Where design and individuality was paramount.

Contrast that to recent times where we find a homogenised high street of big brands. Where, mostly, it really doesn’t matter whether you are in Oxford, London or Newquay you are sure to have a similar experience. Add to this the disappointment of small stock and even smaller choice in comparison to their websites, and it’s no surprise that there’s an apathy to the slow, creeping suffocation to retail as we knew it.

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Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, Walthamstow

We all know the biggest battle to bricks and mortar shopping is the fight against the convenience of online shopping. Next day delivery, free returns and an increase in tailor-made technology feeding our individual needs all encourage shopping without stepping outside the front door. But what you gain in convenience surely doesn’t outweigh the loss of the personal touches of in store shopping, the connection with real people and real things, the buzz of finding the perfect fit in the dressing room or just the day out. With the rise of the experience economy surely retail can find a way to capitalise?

But I’m pleased to see there has been steps towards improving the shopping experience and bringing back a touch of what has been lost. There are faint traces of hope popping up across the country and in the corners of London such as Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross. Here they have strived to create a curated space showcasing established and emerging designer shops side by side with restaurants, cafes, exhibitions, wellbeing-workshops. A varied experience, a real day out. And one that will change over time riding the trend of ‘pop-ups’ and feeding the Instagram generation.

And add to this an insurgence of reinvention from the many designer-makers who take a much-loved craft adding their personal touch and we can start to believe that maybe there really will be a retail revolution – or re-revolution taking back a bit of what has been lost. There is now an exciting influx of slow fashion that pays attention to the small details, championed by those that have always done it that way, like bespoke jeans from Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, the only London craft jean makers for 50 years and built on quality, community and eco-consciousness.

I’d love to see big brands support this ethos and find their own way to re-ignite the shopping experience. We can see signs of this in the way drinks brands are evolving – and it’s certainly something we hope continues as we all deserve a great experience no matter if we are shopping, drinking in a bar or having a meal out.

We’ll never get rid of the big repetitive brands or the convenience of online, but we can strive to add an experience that makes customers want to leave their couches for, and bring back the day that’s just as much about the experience than it is the purchase. Although the retail revolution in search of individualism is in its infancy, it is starting to spread its wings like those beautiful Heatherwick ones that span across Coal Drops Yard.

Let’s raise our glasses to positive change.

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wonderworks trend report: How Health Consciousness is Changing the Drinks Industry in the UK

Healthy Lifestyle Is Changing UK Shoppers’ Habits 

Health consciousness has become an increasingly important part of people’s lifestyle in the UK.

For one, Brits are actively moderating their drinking. 4 million people took part in Dry January in 2018, and even more are expected to go alcohol free for the first month of 2019. A Mintel report revealed that one third of adults have reduced or limited their alcohol intake over the past year. 

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Christmas Wonder 2018

What did Christmas feel like when you were small?

Excited, happy, amazed. A feeling of Wonder!

Wonder is not just for Christmas or children, it is a way of life and recapturing that childhood amazement. A feeling that makes you want to stop, smile and share. This special time, whatever our style, allowing us to embrace the pure magic of wonder without judgement.

With Wonder in mind, here are just a few of our favourite popups & Christmas displays.
Pop along while you can!

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Wonderworks Trend Report: Batched Cocktails

The revival of cocktail culture in the last decade has taken mixology to new heights. But the popularity of cocktails has also exposed challenges with wait time and varying consistency.

These factors have driven innovation and led to increased use of ‘batching’. Put simply, this is the idea that mixed drinks should be prepared in advance to save time and allow bartenders to spend more time with their guests.

In this report, we look at three different batched cocktail formats that are changing the way how we drink.

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Industry Intelligence Report: London Cocktail Week 2018

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Industry Intelligence Report: London Cocktail Week 2018

Cocktails have a powerful hold over the UK drinks industry with 1 in 5 of us opting for cocktails when out drinking with friends. The array of flavours, shapes, sizes, garnishes and pure possibilities borne from cocktails continually stretches the creativity of bar professionals, and the appetites of drinkers.

London Cocktail Week (LCW) arrived in the capital at the start of this month. As one of the biggest drinks festivals in Europe the week proved the significance of cocktail drinking in todays entertainment and drinks culture. Despite coinciding with 60,000 UK consumers taking a pledge to abstain from alcohol this month as part of the social movement ‘Go Sober for October’, over 30,000 guests flocked to join this one city celebration of cocktails. If more evidence is needed, last year top London cocktail bar White Lyan reported a 50% increase in revenue in the weeks before, during and after the festival. Cocktail culture is extremely impactful and brands that understand how best to fit in this sector will reap commercial and cultural success. 

Open to both trade and consumers, DrinkUp.London’s annual celebration is jam-packed days of international bar collaborations, pop-ups, masterclasses, brand activations and specially discounted cocktails from over 300 participating bars. The festival hub ‘The Cocktail Village’ showcases 40 different creative brand experiences.

Assembling both major and small drinks brands, top international bartenders, hundreds of London’s best cocktail bars and tens of thousands of consumers, LCW offered unique insight into the cocktail trends with the power to shape the future of the industry. Wonderworks spent the week soaking this up.

The following report is a collation of our observations, analyses and commentaries from our exploration of the week. We explain what we believe are the key cocktail trends set to determine drinking habits, business and branding in the year ahead. As we know that successful brands are those that continually adapt to the changing needs, motivations and expectations of audiences driving trends. 

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Wonderworks Trend Report: Legal Cannabis

In the last decade legal cannabis has risen to be on the verge of becoming a global mainstream product. As the floodgates of legalisation are set to open, cannabis is offering both an opportunity and a challenge to the alcoholic drinks industry.

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Cocktails in the City Summer 2018

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Cocktails in the City returned to London for the second time this year for their Summer Edition, so we went along to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a drink or two in a cocktail lover's paradise!

Cocktails in the City hosted twenty-four of the city’s award-winning bars in the beautiful Bedford Square Gardens, for a consumer facing Summer fete type event. Each bar partnered up with a spirit, which they would use as a base for a signature cocktail, and all had a non-alcoholic drink on the menu. Included in your entry ticket was a free drinks token which could be used at any one of the bars. It’s a yes from us!

It was nice to see a variety of drinks on the cards including gin, whisky, tequila, rum, vodka and non-alcoholic beverages.

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Our eyes were instantly drawn to Mr Fogg’s potting shed, which was decorated with gardening tools on the wall, a fan that had a hibiscus and lavender spray to cool off sticky Londoners, and they were also giving punters the chance to grow their own hibiscus seeds at home. They partnered up with Oxley Gin to produce their signature cocktail, ‘Britain in a bottle’, which was aptly aligned with the recently booming trend of pre-batched cocktails! 

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The bar that grabbed our attention was Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, who brought the beautiful aesthetic of their greenhouse building to this outdoor space. Serving their St. Germain cocktails in a botanical wonderland, once you had been served your refreshing (and of course, aesthetically pleasing) cocktail, you could get your best poses ready for a photoshoot on their beautiful swing. We did just that!

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Whilst exploring each of the multitude of the bars on show, we found ourselves stopping at the British Themed picnic put on by Cahoots who had partnered up with Ketel One Vodka to serve their signature cocktail “Picnic Plonk” and had a fun interactive photobooth. 

As well as a variety of al fresco cocktails, there were interactive experiences such as the new tasting rooms journey hosted by 31DOVER.com and ‘Be the Bartender’ cocktail making classes hosted by TT Liquor, a cool East London drinks emporium. TT Liquor brought the fun with four cocktail making classes where consumers could choose to partake in making the Snow Leopard vodka fizz, Maker’s Mark bourbon juleps, Brugal 1888 rum daiquiri’s, and Courvoisier cognac frappe’s. 

Other brands that stood out for us were Cocktail Trading Co and their partners Moët & Chandon, who hosted an Imperial Ice Cream Parlour complete with blow up rubber dinghies! Barrio brought the retro vibe with their brightly coloured stand and Havana Club Pink Elephant cocktails, not forgetting their silent disco.

There were some bars that we felt could have done more to draw their consumers in. The stand for Mint Gun Club with Belvedere Vodka was rather unimpressive and underwhelming, as they had replaced the traditional bar with a 'minimalist' table. We were a big fans of Ford’s Gin, but felt that Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour could have made their stand more special, possibly with serving some dim sum!

The cocktail culture seemed to show no sign of waning as Londoners sipped on their drinks amongst a kaleidoscope of cocktail stands; what a way to spend a magical Summer’s evening.

 

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Mindful Drinks Festival 2018

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The team at Club Soda hosted the second Summer Mindful Drinking Festival last weekend, and we went along to soak it all up.

Having enjoyed the event last year, we were keen to see how the no & low movement is growing – and the answer is a lot! The 2018 edition was bigger, slicker and more of the big boys on show; albeit balanced nicely with new comers and independent producers. The key sponsors were Heineken, Eisberg and Ceders with support from over 40 brands spanning sodas, mixers, kombucha, syrups and soft drinks plus beers and non-alcoholic botanical ‘gins’.

If Imbibe was Gin, Gin, Gin – the Mindful Drinking Festival was Botanics, Botanics and Chili …oh and some Cayenne thrown in for good balance!

Spitalfields Market proved a great space for this kind of small, consumer-facing friendly ‘drinks’ farmers market. The sun was shining and the relaxed vibe meant everyone could make the most of the scattered striped deckchairs, numerous sand filled old style suitcases with buckets and spades with punters being serenaded by a revolving selection of solo guitar playing singers. Attendees were anything from 16 – 60+ and being low or no alcohol, a forum for families and younger teens etc. 90% of samples were given out in thimble sized plastic cups which were plentiful, but sadly no free sample bottles!

Ceders wins our vote for ‘best stand and all-round experience’. Founders Craig and Maria were on hand and had created a cool tent stand dressed with floor cushions, plants, flowers and hosted by a team of friendly and informative staff. Whilst Heineken’s stand was simple, clean and basic as an almost ‘anti-branding’ approach, Eisberg’s was a bit random and unimpressive with a black, lack lustre cloth back drop.

Southwark based Nix and Kix continue to impress with their execution and is definitely an independent brand to watch; recently covered in the Stylist magazine. Their range consists of three products, all laced with cayenne; mango and ginger, peach and vanilla and cucumber and mint.  They have achieved solid distribution in the off-trade via Tesco, Selfridges, Waitrose and Ocado. Scaling up will be the next challenge for this brand we think.

Caliente – ‘a new kind of kick’ – is a Swedish owned brand we found delightful. We chatted to the founder, Thomas Adner, who was friendly and informative. Their drinks are chili based with varying kicks from Plum Rosemary (our favourite), Cranberry and Pomegranate , Ginger and Lime, Blueberry and Lemongrass. The adult alternative soft drinks marketplace is quickly growing and becoming more diverse with new players entering all the time – we wish this brand well in their endeavour to crack the UK consumer market!

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Other notables for striking brand presence are Borrago (spirit), Fierce Tonic (roses, cinchona bard, spruce), Pimento, Old Mount cider and Punch 4% and 0% Rum Punch.

Overall, a fascinating and enjoyable visit, inspiring stuff and we truly admire the eulogising entrepreneurs in this space. We are starting to wonder how much room/shelf space there is for this ongoing trend and potential saturation of these start up botanical and chili brands is clearly a threat. That said – survival of the fittest is an age old adage. And the fittest in this market will be the brand who gets the right mix of great product, distribution, well placed positioning coupled with stand out brand storytelling and visual comms that plays into this newly formed landscape.

Conscious drinking is a trend that is here to stay and a lifestyle choice for many and we are excited to see where it leads next.

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Wonderworks Summer 2018: The Graffitti Workshop

WONDERMAKERS!  From left to right: (Back Row) Hilary, Miranda, Sean, Kieran, Ivo, Alex G, James, Sophia, Joanne, Alex J, Lucy, (Front Row) Rita, Sarah R, Helen, Sarah WK

WONDERMAKERS! From left to right: (Back Row) Hilary, Miranda, Sean, Kieran, Ivo, Alex G, James, Sophia, Joanne, Alex J, Lucy, (Front Row) Rita, Sarah R, Helen, Sarah WK

Summer was in full swing and the day we had all been excited for was finally here, it was the Wonderworks team day out.

We were told to meet at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street station, where we would be taking part in a workshop for which we knew we had to be comfortably dressed. At this point this was all we knew.  Could it be an outdoor activity? Could it involve cocktail making? Did we need to pack trainers? So, naturally, trainers were packed, just in case!

We were met at the entrance of The Magic Roundabout and taken up a secret staircase in the middle of Old Street tube station. In just a few minutes we would find out what we would be sprinkling our wonder on! As we walked in, our eyes were met with two giant canvases... 

...Yes! We were going to be doing something creative. Next to the canvases were Tim and Eddie who introduced themselves as graffiti artists who would be leading our workshop. We got into our blue and white overalls, put on our mouth masks and our gloves. It was time to get our creative juices flowing!

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Our two design team ladies, Rita and Sarah, were team captains and in charge of picking their team! 

We had a training session first where Tim and Eddie taught us how to master the art of how to spray the perfect line. This is not as easy as it sounds! Once we had perfected that we were able to move on to squares. We learnt how important it was to create your shape, fill it in with a different colour and then only outline with a bolder colour once you’re done.

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Once we had perfected our barcode masterpieces, it was time to get our real artistic flair on! Both teams captured the wonder in their artwork. Both teams based their artistic expression on the word ‘Wonder’. What a total coincidence! There was team ‘Wonda’, which was filled with lots of beautiful colours, not forgetting peace and love sprinkled on the canvas. Team ‘Wonder’ was packed with fruits, flowers and cocktails. 

By the end of the workshop we would have found two surprise Wondermaker graffiti artists, both Alex G (team ‘Wonder’) and Hilary (team ‘Wonda’) were complete naturals! 

We had such a wonderful day spreading wonder all round, once we had finished graffitiing (creating masterpieces!) we settled down for burgers and beers at Burger Bear. 

 

See gallery below for more images from our workshop!

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IMBIBE 2018

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The 2018 edition of Imbibe was once again an entertaining afternoon of all things drinks! This year the sun shined, and the ‘Garden’ was a welcome addition – especially with Southern Comfort serving free fried chicken and cocktails!

 

Here are our top 5 observations from the show:

The ‘Gin Boom’ is going nowhere; And now we have ‘Mixer Wars’

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The growing theme over the last few years of Imbibe Live has been more, more and even more gin brands! This year was no exception, with botanicals galore from the well-established to the independents. 

Sipmith showed up in a bigger way than ever before, no doubt as a result of investment from Beam Suntory in the last year, but the big mainstream brands were noticeably absent. However, there was no shortage of gin for sampling and it’s clear that in a sea of gin a unique positioning, striking bottle & label and an engaging story are needed more that ever to stand out. Although it has to be said there is a move away from copper everything, with some of the newer brands such as Gin Bilogico Toscano standing out by pairing back the branding. 

And of course, where there is G you need T. Fevertree may be the ‘best’, as their fully booked Masterclass would suggest, but there are no shortage of premium, and now ultra-premium tonics nipping at their heels. Double Dutch, Three Cent’s, Longtail and The Original Tonic Water were all there; and Schweppes and Britvic each had a larger, if underwhelming, presence. But gold star on this occasion goes to The London Essence Company (not just because they are our Clients!) with their outside Gin Bar which was not only stylish but serving tasty and very popular drinks to a crowd enjoying the sunshine.

 

The latest take on multi-sensorial tasting

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Multi-sensorial tasting is not a new thing, and there have been many, many attempts to reinvent it. The Pernod Beats team (the new name for the Pernod Brand Ambassador network) hosted a popular masterclass using multi-sensorial activities for tasting the Jameson range. Not only was it well executed, but those that took part were wholly engaged, and looked extremely fetching with their headphones and eye masks! Kudos to the team that put this on for knowing that by hosting something so clearly visibly intriguing punters, sorry the trade, just have to stop, ask questions, and take part.

 

What – there is no alcohol in that spirit?!

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With a surge of non-alcoholic ‘adult’ drinks offering coming onto the market it was no surprise to see more players this year at Imbibe Live. 

On the ‘spirits’ side was Sea Arch, Boraggo and Cedar’s, all with their own take on zero alcohol ‘gin’ type liquid. Sampling of these liquids is essential – you just can’t really imagine the taste, or really understand what it is without first tasting, and then having a knowledgeable and passionate person explain to you just what it is you are drinking. And Boraggo got this right. With a well-executed stand, great support printed material to take away, and an engaging team passionate about the liquid. 

And building on the success of last year, the Big Drop non-alco beer team had an impactful presence and curiously good tasting liquid. 

With the categories blurring I am going to mention the growing number of adult soft drinks in this section. Adult sodas, sparkling coconut water, herb drinks….. all with their own botanical back-drop are growing in number.  

This year Imbibe Live recognised the growing trend by hosting a number of seminars dedicated to it. It was a surprise to us that the trade in general seemed to be still largely educated on quality non-alcoholic drinks offerings – so clearly, watch this space!

 

Free chicken – a winner every time

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Southern Comfort had the biggest impact of any spirit at this years Imbibe. Three simple, great tactics to learn from here to ensure great standout and engagement at a busy trade show.

  • Give away food – free chicken ensured not only a very, very tasty smell, but also huge buzz around the bar
     
  • Give away things, but make them good things – every other head at the show was adorned with a Southern Comfort trucker cap. And those that weren’t sported a pair of yellow Savannah cider sunglasses on them. Indeed, many had both!
     
  • Be authentic – this particular bar, drinks, food and branding could only have been pulled off well by Southern Comfort; London’s take on the Deep South not only made folk take notice, but I would suggest push them to reconsider this brand.
     

Cool bars make for cool bars

 

Some stands go too far, some just don’t go far enough. There were lots of examples of stands that just confused us as to what the brand/product was, and equally as many that looked like they hadn’t really tried.

But those that remembered that they are beverage products and built a trade show home for themselves that felt like a bar, stood out for the right reasons. From a US Liquor store, to a Pol Roger Lodge, there were several examples of bars that people just wanted to sit at, sample drinks and soak up the vibe. And as a crowd attracts a crowd this means high-engagement.

Cheers!

 

Check out more images from our Imbibe 2018 visit:

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Wonderworks Trend Report: The Rise Of Pink Gin

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Wonderworks Trend Report: The Rise Of Pink Gin

Pink Gin has seen an extraordinary revival in recent years, taking over our bars, hearts and social media feeds along the way. As some of the most influential gin brands launch their own Pink Gin expressions, we set out to investigate what makes this spirit so successful and if it is really here to stay.  

Download the Wonderworks trend report PDF by clicking on the button below: 

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The Creative Coffee Category

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Speciality coffee consumption is on the up. A global market review and forecast conducted by Mordor intelligence suggests that roughly 55% of the retail coffee market's spend was expected to go to speciality coffee in 2017; quite a hefty chunk.

The reason for this is likely driven by two key factors. Firstly, the general trend across consumer culture is leaning towards quality rather than value for money, so whilst the consumer may not be drinking as much, they are willing to spend more to get the quality of product they are after. Secondly, the growing millennial population are consuming more and more coffee, and with increased interest from this age demographic comes increased demand for a creative, innovative product.

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Starbucks Secret Menu – The Rise of the Frappuccino

Launched in 2012, the unofficial Starbucks Secret Menu is the millennial coffee enthusiast’s stuff of dreams. Frappuccinos seem to be the main attraction of the website, with its own dedicated section and over five different Frappuccino collections making it into their ‘Top 10’s’ category.

The most popular drinks within the Frappuccino category are those that are mythically themed; with examples including the Mermaid, Dragon, Narwhal, Unicorn, and most recently the Zombie. Half of the appeal of these drinks is their garish, colourful appearance, which lends them to being the perfect ‘instagrammable’ drink. It’s easy to see why millennial coffee drinkers are jumping on the bandwagon of the themed Frappuccino craze, as if you haven’t posted it on your Instagram, did it even happen?

The website itself is actually very informative, with recipes attached to each individual drink, and information regarding the availability of ingredients in different stores. The ‘Secret’ aspect of the website is based around customer/barista invention; with barista’s trying new recipes on customer request, or creating new drinks for certain events / times of the year such as valentine’s day.

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Cold Brew Coffee on Tap

Cold coffee is not a new phenomenon, in fact it’s been doing the rounds in the form of iced lattes and coffee based frappuccinos for a good few years now. Cold brew coffee, coffee brewed with cold water for 12+ hours, was all the rage in 2014, thanks to its less acidic taste and fuller body. However, the idea of cold brew coffee on tap is a more recent development, and one that is currently creating quite a lot of noise on the coffee scene.

What does the tap do to the coffee other than pour it into a cup? A fair question, and certainly a significant one. Importantly, the tap is used to carbonate the coffee, but not in the standard way. Rather than using Co2, brewers have started using nitrogen to carbonate the coffee, like Guinness and most other stout brewers. The reason for this is that the smaller nitrogen bubbles give the brew a rich and creamy texture, as well as accentuating the sweetness of the drink, rather than giving it a sharp, clean finish that you get with Co2. So for those of us who usually get mocked for enjoying a sweet and creamy cup of coffee, there may finally be a genuinely pleasant way to drink that dark, bitter nectar. Praise be to Nitro Brew!

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Bulletproof Coffee

Butter, coconut oil, and coffee? It’s a thing, and it appears to be gaining more and more press this year, especially with TV celebs such as Jimmy Fallon admitting to their involvement in this buttery blasphemy. Why would anyone even think of combining these three ingredients in the first place? Well, Dave Asprey (founder and CEO of the whole Bulletproof brand) created the brew with health benefits in mind; Bulletproof coffee is intended to act as a slow-burning energy source, supressing hunger for anything from 4-6 hours. Importantly, due to the high content of 'good fats' in the recipe, Bulletproof is intended to be consumed as breakfast, not alongside it. It’s also reported to taste quite good, however I think this may require some testing before taking this for granted.

Asprey has released videos outlining the best way to brew this intriguing health concoction, and surprisingly, the result of the ingredients being (literally) blended together looks astoundingly similar to a standard Latte. The attractive layer of foam and the creamy appearance was certainly not what I was expecting, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about its hunger suppressing qualities. So I shall definitely be giving this recipe a try, although I’m still not sure how a cup of coffee is going to fill a Full English sized void.

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Crème Brûlée Latte

Is this a Crème Brûlée flavoured latte? No. Is this a latte flavoured Crème Brûlée? No (although that does sound divine doesn’t it). This is quite literally a Vanilla Latte with caramelised brown sugar on top. Unbelievable I know. The home-made vanilla syrup is steamed with the milk and added to the brewed espresso in a mug; this thick, creamy coffee is then topped with brown sugar, and quickly torched so that it creates the classic caramelised sugar coating that defines a Crème Brûlée. The wonder that is the Crème Brûlée Latte is credited to Copa Vida, a coffee house in Pasadena, U.S. Hats off to you Copa Vida, this is certainly a show stopper.

 

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The Science Behind the Wonder

During the course of my career, I have heard marketing departments and agencies referred to as ‘the colouring in department’. Whilst this is mostly said in jest, sometimes it does make you stop & wonder if this is all marketing really is. Is this ever-growing, constantly evolving sector dependent on people’s gut feel & on-the-job experience, or is there more science to building brands?

In our line of marketing, we build our strategies and campaigns with ‘the consumer’ at the heart. This is not ground breaking of course, but it’s always good to remind yourself that ‘the consumer’ is a human too – making conscious & unconscious decisions, driven by emotions and past experiences. So, time for me to get my science hat on and explore how the brain processes & understands brands and marketing activity.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that consumer behaviour is formed in two ways: functional & neuropsychological goals. Functional goals really take things literally: you buy a drink to quench your thirst, for example. Neuropsychological goals are driven by your emotions towards that drink: do you like the flavour, what health benefits does it offer etc. etc.? To develop successful brand communications, both of these goals must be met, but it can be very much argued that the neuropsychological goal is the one that opens the door for a wild success.

The way to achieve a functional goal is simple – communicate to consumers what your brand is, and what it does. Nevertheless, whilst this is a seemingly obvious point, there are other aspects of this to consider; for example, studies have shown that consumers are able to make a shopping decision in 0.3 seconds, purely based on a brand’s distinctive assets. These distinctive assets cover everything from colour, bottle shape to brand mark – things always at the front of a marketer’s mind when developing packaging. These have become so deeply engrained in consumers’ minds, that there’s even a board game based on well-known logos – from which I emerged victorious one family Christmas. However, whilst I was humbly celebrating my glory, I felt a slightly unnerving reality settle over me – I’ve been so overloaded with brands over the years that I slammed the other team to a rather shameful defeat (so maybe not so humble in the victory). This realisation brings me on to my next point: whilst we all may recognise a brand through its distinctive assets & as such understand its function, we all have associations with this brand – and this is the main factor in purchase decisions – our neuropsychological goal.

Throughout my experience in various aspects of marketing, I have heard different terminology relating to neuropsychological goals, but nothing quite as scientific; terms such as ‘winning the hearts and minds’, ‘building brand loyalty’, ‘delivering authenticity’ and so on and so forth. The scientific term encompasses all of these, neatly wrapping it up in one little box: if people only shopped to achieve their functional goals, there would be only one brand of whisky for example. However, consumers need more from their brands – something that will make their task easier, their party better, their drink healthier…and this is where emotions come in to play. Research has demonstrated that consumers primarily use their emotions to make purchase decisions. Whilst our brains respond to visual stimuli almost instantaneously, stories build our emotional connections to brands and remain in our subconscious for a longer period of time. This is why, in terms of reaching neuropsychological goals, it is vital for a brand to identify their consumers’ emotional drivers and build a narrative around this. It is equally as important to understand that these must differ across your range of brands – each product or brand must build its own narrative based off of its own attributes and consumer. The perfect example here is Coca Cola; a brand that successfully sold two essentially identical products (Diet Coke and Coke Zero) to different consumer groups by tapping into their emotional drivers.

So what I have learnt in the process of researching this insight piece? Most importantly, that whilst the ‘Moment of Wonder’ as we Wonderworkers like to call it, may be seen as marketing fluff by clients or people we don’t work directly with, it is actually scientifically proven! Never have I understood our proposition more than now, with the clarity of the defined link between emotions and brand worlds to help us achieve the ‘Woo-Hoo’ with all of our clients.

Now of course I didn't just know all of this stuff - I had to do a little bit of research. The links to the sources are below (and are very interesting reads!):

 

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The Importance of an Emotional Connection

Over the last week, I’ve been looking into consumers’ need for an emotional connection to the brands they buy. For example, I will ALWAYS buy the same brand of makeup – not because of the price point (I almost have a panic attack every time I run out, as it’s an investment to say the least), but because I remember the first time I used products from their brand fondly. It was the first time I felt that makeup had made a proper difference to my face & I have fantastic memories of that evening as a result.

The ‘emotional connection’ a consumer has with a brand is what we call the brand experience. This is vital to customer loyalty and ‘the strongest brands are those who think “holistically” about the experience they offer, ranging from the emotional effect they deliver to the sense of social identity they create among customers’*. So, what does this actually mean for us marketers?

Well, first and foremost we need to keep consumer needs at the heart of everything we do. By understanding what consumers are looking for, both from a brand and an experience, we can build a strategy that will forge emotional connections at every part of the consumer journey.

Take, for example, our work on the Britvic Mixers Relaunch. Whilst, in the most basic view, this could be seen as a simple brand repositioning project, we worked closely with our client to develop a campaign that was built on the foundation of consumers’ understanding of the brand as a staple of pubs and British culture. Using this knowledge, we applied the ethos of bringing people together across the consumer journey and built in tactics consistent with the brand identity across all touchpoints.

A message as straightforward as ‘Lifting Spirits’ became the cornerstone of our campaign – not only acting as our call to action, but also acting as a springboard for the Lifting Spirits Foundation, where consumers can give back to local causes by buying a drink in their local pub.

It is vital that a brand matches the emotive needs of their consumer with the emotion their brand represents, rather than forcing this on them. This can only lead to a disingenuous relationship between brand and consumer, and one retro-fitted tactic can make a campaign nosedive in its consumers’ experience of it.

For a brand to successfully deliver on the emotional experience their consumer has, they must own it. I don’t mean magic it out of thin air to match KPIs or aims for the brand, but understand your brand. Step into the shoes of your consumer and see your brand through their eyes. Only then can you really develop a meaningful campaign to bring brand experience to your consumers, and once this is nailed, the tactics will all fall into place.

Sources & other interesting reads:

Marketing Week

TNS Global

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The growth of the experience economy

I’ve been looking into the growth of the experience economy, something which has blown up with the help of millennials over the last few years. My research into this led me to some really interesting articles on Forbes, Huffington Post, Marketing Magazine and Marketing Week, covering everything from pop ups to Pepsi Emojis. As always links to these can be found below…

Studies done by PWC show that millennials are building an ‘experience economy’ – seeing as it’s no longer difficult to own items, there has been a shift towards spending on experiences. 52% of 18-34 year olds spend on experiences, against 39% of older consumers* – a broad divide. Whilst this could be put down to social media bragging rights, it appears that these occasions are more so used for sharing experiences with friends and peers – they enjoy having the ability to create memories whilst engaging with those around them.

These experience-hunters see more than just the product or brand, but rather what the brand stands for. They use the brand to help define who they are and what they stand for, sharing this both with friends and in the online world of social media. As a result, the authenticity of a brand’s offering is paramount – the product on its own means very little to this group, as marketers, we should be focusing on the end-to-end experience of the product. 72% of millennials plan to increase their spending on experiences to provide a lasting impression and connect with brands and their peers* – why shouldn’t we as marketers seize this opportunity to build brand loyalists?

In light of this new perspective there is even more of a need for an end-to-end strategy for brands. In order to deliver a genuine product experience, the entire customer journey must be intricately planned to ensure that each and every touchpoint is aligned with the overarching strategy. Whilst this process is rather strenuous, by sticking to it, we can ensure involvement and brand understanding from this emerging group who are looking for ‘return on involvement’ over return on investment.

The rise of FOMO (fear of missing out) and the search for return on involvement have led to an interesting time for marketers striving to fulfil these consumer needs. These new phenomena open a lot of doors in terms of experiential marketing, a term which in recent years has come to mean one of two things: an event or a pop up. However, we must understand that experiential is broader than these two tactics and seize the opportunity to engage with consumers who want to be engaged at every opportunity possible.

By understanding the value of brand truths to customers, and identifying consumer needs (in this case an experience) brands and products can achieve what we call the Moment of Wonder.

Sources:

* Forbes

Other sources for further reading:

Huffington Post

Marketing Mag

Marketing Week

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