Modern life is fast, furious and unpredictable. The internet facilitates the travel of trends from one side of the globe to the other, inspiring experimentation leaving brands with a traditionally loyal fan base face in stiff competition.
The beverages sector is feeling the effects of a busier and more experimental customer base, whose needs change throughout the day. People might still select their favourite giant Starbucks to fuel the commute to work, but opt for a de-caffeinated flat white mid-afternoon, or a tea with friends as part of their mindfulness regime.
People’s drink preferences are also expanding as new products reach us from overseas, and brands expand their product ranges. Aloe Vera and coconut water have been hitting the shelves on high-street shops as demand for healthier options increases, whilst adult sparkling drinks may replace alcohol for the driver or dieter. Yet, manufacturers have little time to attract attention: decision making times are shorter and instead of sticking to traditional fizzy drink packaging, brands must create visual cues that reflect a more nuanced market and product offer.
As people's drinks preferences become less predictable and more adventurous, how can beverage brands meet people’s changing needs, in the moment?
Identify the moments relevant to people’s lifestyles
In the midst of the societal shift towards healthier lifestyles, adult drinkers are increasingly embracing authentic, natural, honest and traditional flavours. Scepticism around ‘artificial flavouring and colours’, means these demand a sophisticated approach over the usual super-sweet, brightly coloured fizzy drinks. Brands must adapt to retain the health-conscious over 35 year olds, developing packaging and experiences that appeal to them in the moment.
Paper Boat Beverages in India creates indigenous drinks based on traditional recipes, such as green mango-based aam panna, tapping into people’s need for authenticity. Dressed in contemporary packaging to be an appealing off the shelf option, and suitable for drinking ‘on the go’, Paper Boat conveys sophistication and practicality, ensuring these drinks are an attractive option for thirsty office workers buying lunch. Paper Boat’s ‘Drinks and memories’ campaign brings to life the drinks authenticity through the joy and reminiscence of people’s child-hood favourite fresh fruit.
PepsiCo’s ‘Stubborn Soda’ is an adult fizzy drink, offered in a variety of intriguing flavours like Black Cherry and Tarragon, Orange Hibiscus and Lemon Berry Acai. Designed to delight an adult palate, their refreshing flavours offer an alternative to alcohol during a careful decision to opt for a more health-conscious drink at the pub, whilst hitting the same spot as an ice-cold glass of cider on a hot day.
Rethink the moments that define you
Heritage brands can embrace new moments by staying true to their brand story, whilst offering new products tailored to contemporary moments, or identifying new moments when their product might thrive. As human needs and wants change, heritage brands can stay relevant by rethinking the moments when the things that customers love about their brand could be beneficial.
In 2015, Lucozade embarked on a huge brand repositioning with its “Find your Flow” campaign, aiming to differentiate itself in a busy energy drinks category. The brand repositions itself to serve not just as a sickness cure or fuel for gym bunnies but also as a daily drink of choice for broader everyday moments that need a ‘pick me up’, whether it’s getting through a task at work or in between household chores.
Robinson’s new and compact SQUASH’D bottles are a great example of clever product innovation that’s tailored to modern moments. Robinson’s spotted their consumer’s desire to be healthier and consume more water throughout the day, and offered up a solution that’s more flavourful. SQUASH’D bottles are small and easy to carry, for active people to pick up and squeeze into their water anywhere, whether heading to the gym or from their work desk, making the brand relevant in more moments throughout the day.
Identify your decisive moments
The rise of digital marketing has created incredible opportunities for brands to identify and target vital moments throughout the customer journey, from product placement near an online shopping list to in-store retail encounters with a product. Brands that might have concentrated on ‘prestige moments’ with perceived influencers can now identify the less sexy, but arguably more important moments when sales are decided.
The “Meet me at Starbucks” campaign allowed consumers across the world to share real, unscripted moments that took place in Starbucks, such as birthday celebrations, business meetings, and first dates. They aptly bridged the gap between online and offline experiences and created contexts familiar to regular Starbucks customers; reinforcing customer love for those shared moments that happen over a coffee.
In a world of changing needs and increasing experimentation, brands must understand not only the needs and wants of their customers, but how those change at specific moments throughout the day. Brands that are prepared to adapt to the needs of their customers, rethinking their relationship to them and presenting attractive solutions to meet those needs, will find continued growth.