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Even the biggest brands need to live the lifestyle to grow within category

The health drinks market is one of the fastest growing in the world, with consumers increasingly making the move towards healthier options as a lifestyle choice.

Major international brands are releasing new zero alcohol and low sugar products into an already crowded drinks market at such a rate that they can easily get lost on shelf or screen – and this can cause problems for even top-quality products.

At Catalyx, our mixed methodology research shows that companies are often relying too much on the “tried and tested” promotion of their most famous branding, even holding back on really championing the benefits of their new launch.

“They already love what we do, surely they will love this too?” seems to be a theme, but the good news is that we are perfectly positioned to help give brands the confidence they need for growth by providing the why and how to succeed.

So, what are the real benefits?

Through the qualitative behavioural mission part of our research, it’s obvious that even almost perfect products have failed to truly capitalise in these new growth markets because of reasons unconnected to their actual taste, feel or, for the most part, look. And all that despite having huge brand names behind them.

For example, Corona has long been known as a delicious and refreshing summer beer but when launching Corona Cero, their zero alcohol alternative, some consumers missed it entirely.

It looked like a quality Corona product; the adverts looked like Corona products; and, while many people trusted the quality of the Corona branding associated with ‘sunny refreshment’, it didn’t stand out as a non-alcoholic drink and drive immediate interest to purchase from its benefits.

Adoption increased dramatically, however, once consumers had put liquid to lips and learned about the use of natural ingredients and its other benefits.

Beyond the great taste and naturalness of Cero, there is clearly an opportunity to push the benefits of non-alcoholic beer more.

People mentioned avoiding hangovers and improving capacity; being able to drive; and being healthy; while still replicating the drinking experience and feeling included socially as key reasons they might make a switch from their current beer of choice. But few of these were tapped into in the original promotions.

It’s worth remembering that this isn’t just another beer or refreshing drink, it’s a lifestyle choice.

We have seen this very effectively achieved with the rise of hard seltzers, such as Truly and White Claw, which are aimed at a younger generation looking to drink alcohol in healthier ways.

“Flavour and refreshment are the key drivers for hard seltzer consumption, followed by more dietary factors like low-carb and low-calorie,” says Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer at the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Put simply, many consumers want a light, refreshing drink that is low in calories and free of allergens – and these benefits are always clearly spelled out on the packaging of these seltzer products.

But what do you use it for?

While it is a trick that some alcohol brands need to get bolder with, the soft drink scene can be just as tough a market to crack and being seen as too multi-purpose can become a hindrance.

San Pellegrino are renowned for their mineral water and Italian sparkling drinks but there were barriers to growth for their new zero calorie Essenza range that weren’t immediately obvious on launch.

Catalyx perception maps showed that consumers felt Essenza was a quality product which perfectly fitted the category and embodied the brand’s premiumness.

People loved the packaging, the taste and it even appealed to them on an emotive level. So what could possibly affect its growth?!

Catalyx behavioural missions highlighted that while consumers were indeed very fond of the product, they were not entirely sure which occasions it was intended for.

Was this a new healthy drinks mixer to use with alcohol or just a thirst-quenching soft drink at lunch, for instance? Was it something to drink daily or saved for a special occasion to impress friends?

Whether picking one horse or both, it was clear that San Pellegrino needed to work a little harder to help people find its natural place in their lifestyle.

Basically, has your product brand got clear usage occasions and are you maximising these usage opportunities through WOW communication?

Building confidence in the best decisions for growth

From our multi-method crowdsourced approach at Catalyx, we are able to provide laser targeted recommendations to unlock more growth for products and brands.

Both case studies above, Cero and Essenza, were clearly quality products ready for the growing health drinks market – but both needed to be bolder with their benefit and usage messaging.

In the hyper competitive drinks market, stand out placement and findability also remains king – and that’s not just about relying on top of the page listings or prime supermarket retail estate. Even with the best product in the world you are going to struggle with product adoption if people can’t find it when looking or their attention isn’t grabbed amongst the competition.

With our use of meticulous quantitative and behaviourally qualitative market auditing, our reports can reinforce a brand’s product confidence while highlighting the areas that might need a little more thought and attention for growth.

This helps decision makers to really take a rounded look at potential, new or low growth products with fresh eyes and fight their corner with budget and promotion decisions.

Where next for health drinks?

Trusted brands are hugely important and never to be underestimated, of course, but when you are entering a market that is thirstily searching for healthy and natural products, it is absolutely essential that your messaging is crystal clear and targeted to that audience. It is a market where authenticity and evidence are more important than most, so don’t be shy with the benefits.

At Catalyx, we have the tools to make this process quicker, more thorough and more accurate – saving you internal company conflict and lowering overall costs.

To speak to our team about how we can make your next project a smoother success, please get in touch today.

Further reading

Bitesize Bulletin – Building confidence in the best decisions for growth

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