Rely on what your consumers really want, not just your established brand when diving into new opportunities
It’s always tempting to throw yourself in at the deep end when new and emerging markets appear in your industry and align neatly with your current portfolio. You’ve got strong, well-established branding and, so, people are sure to switch to your product once you enter the game. Right?
A word of caution, however, from the no and low alcohol drinks market, which is rapidly growing and expected to further explode in 2023 – but has proven to be tougher to break for established brands than expected.
Relying on your hard-earned branding can be an overly simplistic way to look at the opportunity and is a mistake often made across fast growing and emerging markets.
Even with strong branding, a product with a weak or diluted overall message is likely to get lost against more focused competition, in particular new disruptor brands.
It is all very well announcing a new and exciting no or low alcohol product, but if the majority of your consumer base isn’t already switched onto that for health or lifestyle reasons then what else might help to capture their attention?
Focusing on Corona’s Cero non-alcoholic beer recently, we discovered that while people trusted the brand and were interested in the concept, there were barriers that affected the purchase of the product.
To date, the product had been promoted much like a traditional Corona beer – the refreshing summer experience. But it lacked emphasis on the benefits of the product. What made it special?
On our behavioural missions with potential consumers, we discovered that as soon as people tasted it for the first time and learned about the product’s naturalness, the potential for take-up increased dramatically.
So, Corona had a fantastic product but there was clearly an opportunity to be braver when pushing the benefits of non-alcoholic beer – rather than relying on the brand and traditional promotion.
What do we mean by that? How could the message hit harder? Well, here are some of the most repeated thoughts from consumers during our research – all of which help to build a stronger and more appealing lifestyle message, rather than simply adding “non-alcoholic” on the label…
- Inclusion with others
For years the only options for someone who might not be imbibing on a night out or social occasion were a steady flow of sugary soft drinks or other bland alternatives, and some people would feel stigmatised just by ordering these in the first place. Being part of the group is a highly motivating factor for consumers’ drinks choice – and non-alcoholic beers help people to feel like they are part of the occasion in a way that previously was not possible.
- Avoiding hangovers
In an increasingly fast paced world where people can feel permanently “on call” with work, an obvious benefit of switching to non-alcoholic beers is that it’s still possible to maintain capacity at the time – or on the morning after. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of alcohol on their behaviour and productivity, and non-alcoholic beer offers the opportunity for a moment of enjoyment but without the unwanted consequences.
- Being able to drive
Now that non-alcoholic beers are matching up for taste with their alcoholic cousins, it is helping to solve a societal problem and removing temptation for people who may have previously struggled to join and enjoy social occasions, while knowing they had a need to drive later.
- Being healthy
As lifestyles have changed and the world has become more visual with social media, consumers are more aware of their appearance than ever before. It is the key reason for the massive growth in the healthier and more natural drinks market. But it is not just the younger generations who are leading this change here – the fact that non-alcoholic beers are lower in calories than their alcoholic alternatives not only lessens the health impacts of alcohol but it can also make people more comfortable on their evening out (e.g. less bloat). With the rise in participation of active sports, such as cycling, running etc, across all age groups this is not going to change any time soon.
- Replicating the drinking experience
Once upon a time, there was an obvious drop in the flavour and enjoyment of non-alcoholic drinks but the market, as it so often does, has quickly solved these issues. Now, large swathes of consumers know that non-alcoholic drinks can offer the same great taste, without the consequences – and this is something that brands can leverage by ensuring it is as easy as it can be for consumers to experience their first taste of their drink. Don’t just hope they will pick your product off the shelf…
And what does this all mean for anyone who isn’t involved in the alcoholic drinks market, we hear you ask? Well, the message is a simple one…
While you may know that there is a new market that you want your brand to play in, it is absolutely essential to make sure that you fully involve your consumers in the development process.
Speaking to the people that you hope will buy your product is where you can discover the unmet needs or USPs that will set you apart from the competition and help you to win in a competitive marketplace.
This is where Catalyx and our award-winning Consumer Activation System can help you to develop or grow your products and brand easier, quicker and more cost effectively. Get in touch today to learn more about our smart technology tools and talented people can help you to unlock your crowd.