BY NICK HORAN
SENIOR CLIENT DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, WEBB DEVLAM
Fever Tree’s announcement this week of a 71% uplift in revenue and profits of £16.8m is hugely impressive, but not surprising. The growth of Fever Tree has been rapid and widespread, and the buzz surrounding its story has not only boosted the brand’s profile but also the reputation of the entire mixer market. So what lies behind Fever Tree’s success, and what can other brands learn from it?
A major factor is the culture of craft. Following the recent popularity of craft beers and wines, this is now filtering down to the mixers and tonics market, with brands such as Fever Tree enjoying success due to their focus on artisan techniques and specialist, natural ingredients. There is a genuine respect for smaller, artisan brands who evoke nostalgia and authenticity through their brands and the processes they use. These drinks are growing up, and herbal and botanical innovation means that tonics now have a credibility unlike ever before.
What Fever Tree has done is taken the original flavours and elements of tonic, and championed these as desirable and beneficial. They’ve allowed consumers to understand and care more about its product by telling a story: going back to the roots of the ingredients they use and giving them meaning and purpose. The message they have delivered is that tonic is no longer purely something you add to gin, it now has an identity and a story all of its own, and this bold move has created a wave of further flavours and variants that have all led to the rapid growth not only of the brand but the entire sector.
The result is that premium tonic is now a viable category all of its own, something that was unthinkable back when Schweppes and own brand tonics were the only options available. This is indeed an exciting time for the category but the key now for brands is to ride this wave of popularity and ensure that it doesn’t pass them by. It’s vital to watch and respond to what customers want, and observe all the factors affecting the market. There is a huge focus on health at the moment, and the introduction of the sugar tax in 2018 will further fuel a need for alternative ingredients and products. Customisation is also a growing trend, with successful brands tapping into the consumer desire to be involved in the marketing process and have a sense of ownership in the products they buy.
However, actions will speak louder than words here. It’s one thing to watch the trends, but what brands really need to do is develop a long term strategy that allows them to react to these growing consumer needs and ensure they are future-proofed against any further trends that emerge. This strategy needs to stretch across all corners of the brand, from messaging to packaging, so that customers have no doubt about the brand’s provenance, its messages and its ambitions. The Fever Tree story has opened the door for other brands to take a leaf out of its book: be daring, be natural, and give consumers what they want. It’s simple, but it clearly works.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020