BevNET focuses on companies and people who craft beverages, brand them, and bring their product to market. For almost eight years, journalist Jeff Klineman has been submerged in the landscape of refreshments as the editor-in-chief of BevNET, the leading authority on the beverage industry. He gives me the scoop on how product personality affects its success.
Some of your stories touch on the branding of start-up beverage products. Is brand strategy and positioning necessary for the marketplace survival of new beverages?
Absolutely. That’s not to say that things like taste, price and function aren’t equally important, but it’s important to think about a product’s reason for being. It’s also incredibly important that, given the competitive nature of the beverage business, a product be able to answer a consumer need that they didn’t necessarily know they had. Brand positioning can often accomplish that by stirring the consumer ego.
How can a company use package design and shelf presence to appeal to their audience?
There’s a complicated interplay between packaging conventions and breaking the rules of those conventions, but it seems like no matter how important a proprietary package might be, it can really undermine margin and slow product development. I’d focus on label first unless I had a lot of money to burn.
The functional beverage category is quickly becoming overcrowded. In what ways have you seen manufacturers successfully develop their packaging to balance both messages of health benefits and great taste?
Some of these products have really hit the nail on the head, like the slimcan for Red Bull and the apothecary bottle for Vitaminwater, but the best example of any package reflecting function and innovation would have to be coconut water’s use of Tetra Pak boxes. All three of these have had packaging that seems to reflect back on both function and style for the product.
Thanks Jeff. You can follow Jeff Klineman on Twitter @BevNET.