January Branding Challenge
While catching up with my sister early in January, we decided to go through 2021 goals having both completed the same template from a random Instagram post she shared. It was amazing to hear her perspective and how we almost consistently had different answers to the prompts. A lot of my goals surround my mental and physical well-being. I want to get physically stronger (so I don’t struggle every time I go grocery shopping). I also want to be able to express myself creatively and share my outlets with my friends and family, which I know makes me feel my best.
One thing my sister said that stuck out to me is that she is planning a different challenge every month. These challenges can vary focuses - one month will be on budgeting, next on organizing her space or completing a workout series. I had tried a pre-made writing challenge months ago, but knew that didn't work for me. Ultimately, our conversation led to reframing monthly challenges for myself. I do want to focus my energy on completing one project every month, since the way I normally operate is by starting a few different projects at the same time - crocheting a table runner, organizing my room, painting digitally. Although I love to try new at-home hobbies, it mostly leads to a completion of 0 projects.
I didn't take much time to brainstorm what I wanted to do for January, there was really only one thing on my mind: Great consumer product brands. So this month my project is around branding. I love coming across brands in stores and online that aesthetically work and ones where the tone doesn't feel forced. At the end of the day, a great CP brand is really the reason to buy anything that’s not the cheapest/private label version (and even Brandless is its own brand).
To share two examples - Adidas and Gucci are currently ~slaying~ in the market and it’s really thanks to their openness to Gen Z. Growing up all I heard about were “those darn millennials” and now it’s time for us to move over. Although this isn’t totally branding, by attaching themselves to the next generation of cultural influencers they are remaining relevant brands. I think there is something to say for a good name as well, both Adidas and Gucci roll off the tongue and are both fun to say and pleasant to hear.
For my first challenge I wanted to create my own brand (be kind I’m learning). I figure it’ll allow me to think about the strategy behind a good brand while also learning more design practices. Since working in food licensing last year, food has become a category of interest. It also is the one thing to look forward to while (still) in quarantine. Conor and I tend to cook most days during the week, constantly trying new recipes to add to our rotation. One of our weekly traditions has been “Matcha Meditation Mondays” which we started week 1 of quarantine mid-March 2020 (can’t believe it’s going to be a year soon). Ultimately, matcha drinking led to more tea drinking and the discovery of Tea Forte - a brand I’m now hooked on. Their sample packs is a great idea - allowing consumers to try flavors, while adding variety. They also have steeping mugs available - which of course I now own and love. I have not stopped obsessing over the green peach mango blend they sell that has inspired this first project!
Green Mango Guarana
Brightens every day by giving the energy boost you need...& without any crash.
Our Green Mango Iced Tea with Guarana is sourced only with flavors found across Brazil, one of the best caffeine-growing places in the world. Get the support you need to start your day, keep the day going or even end the day on a high note, all without any crash.
Cha, pronounced 'sha' is the Portuguese word for tea. Say it with us!
Naturally sweetened through Mango juice, so there are no sugars added!
The mix of caffeine and L-thenanine found in green tea can improve focus
Antioxidants found in guarana and green tea keep your body feeling refreshed
Inside Out (A deeper dive into a few aspects of the brand and product - including branding, target, and competitors)
This is where I got to before focusing on packaging. I decided to keep it light, with a hint of neon on “Cha” as an accent. Yellow & Green signify happy, earthy and energetic notes. It’s also a nod back to the colors on the Brazilian flag.
The Sunshine text needs some work for uniformity, but overall like handwritten and realness of it. ‘Cha’ is is a fun word to say, so I had more fun with the letters.
TARGET CONSUMER Gen-Z sprouting in their 20s who are losing the natural energy in getting through the day (remember how we used to be functional in high school by 7am?). They are now adapting and need the boost to balance all things in work and life.
Although I'm tempted to make an entire consumer profile, I'll stick to listing some qualities:
Above average income (ex: new tech employees; have disposable income)
Start with offices - why? High volume & perfect in targeting our key demo, newbies to the workforce. Tech/Consulting would be the best places to start as they usually expect high employee turnover at low levels, so the ability to keep finding new cosumers.
Once they’re hooked at work, they’ll be looking for the product. Owned e-commerce website & Amazon are amazing, low-entry DTC channels to begin with. Then, we would look to online grocers, willing to take on new better-for-you brands, like Thrive Market.
COMPETITORS All beverages would be considered competition, with pre-packaged and iced coffee, tea and energy drink brands being the primary ones to watch.
Very much inspired by the branding, flavors, sustainability efforts and overall business of Honest Tea. What Sunshine Cha has that Honest doesn’t? The extra caffeine & antioxidants! And versus other coffee and energy drinks brands: less added sugars and less crash
Here’s a great list of tea brands here: https://www.gayot.com/drink/tea/best-bottled-iced-teas/
What did I learn?
I definitely leaned heavily on my own voice. I see a lot of brand starters do the same, as they become the face of the brand as well. I’m not sure if I will do another branding project for another few months, but I’d like to challenge myself to develop a product that is not targeted to myself. My mind is already rolling (Cars, finance apps, instruments).
There’s also a lot more I wanted to get into that I didn’t - more messaging, specific activation ideas, how to build an initial digital following. These things all help build a great brand which is at the center of everything.
I was playing around in Photoshop and loved the idea of having a full on mango on the label, but if this brand were to grow with more products/flavors, it would be interesting to think about how to make it cohesive. So I made another concept with a Strawberry flavor as a test and liked it (I would want the colors to be slightly more muted like the mango). My initial concept also included Tangled-esque sun shapes, so it’s interesting to see now how little I played up the “Sunshine” aspect.
Maybe the most important - I discovered that green tea has a mix of caffeine + l-thenanine, a combo friends had just recommended for focus and de-stressing. Now I'm craving some Sunshine Cha, but I'll settle for the new teas I just ordered from Capital Teas