Today’s guest blog was co-authored by two rising stars at Peppercomm, Courtney Moed and Heather Valle, who not only know everything about PR, but can discuss product innovation from a Millennial’s POV. What better way to ride out a Nor’Easter?
Even if you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks. The trendy, colorful drink took Instagram by storm with over 151,000 posts under the hashtag #unicornfrappuccino. Starbucks saw what a success the unicorn trend was becoming and jumped on the opportunity to turn the frapp into a real product offering with a registered trademark.
While other brands are following the trends, Starbucks is a leader in turning trends into profits. Coffee purveyors and other non-food brands should take note of Starbucks secret to success – well one of them. Sometimes you need to go a little off brand to capture some media buzz.
Check out these brands that are thirsty for some good ole’ creativity:
- Crystal Ball Frappuccino – Starbucks
- Strawberry Skittles Freeze – Taco Bell
- Pickle Juice Slush – Sonic
- Lucky Charms Shake – Burger King
- Buffalo Latte – Tim Horton’s
While the turquoise and purple concoction is seemingly off brand from Starbucks’s usual crisp, sophisticated look, it’s a way to capture attention away from competing brands. Love or hate the flavor, consumers are abuzz about the chain until their next holiday cup debacle. Similar with Pickle Juice Slushes and Buffalo Lattes, there might be a select few who actually enjoy these, but they are really buzz beverages. Today’s consumer craves experiences and shareable moments. Younger demographics want boomerang spit-takes trying the latest, weirdest flavor, rather than pictures of them sipping basic black coffee.
How can your brand compete with these trendy (and potentially tasty) drinks?
- Listen to your audience to hear what they’re saying. Find out what’s working for their appetite and what’s missing from your menu.
- Use FOMO to your advantage. With limited-time offered drinks, customers will feel a sense of urgency to get to the store, so they don’t miss out.
- Create a hashtag for customers to become a part of the community. Even if they can’t get to the store to purchase the drink themselves, they can social media stalk others who have.
- Act fast! If it seems Starbucks is five steps ahead, be six steps ahead. Don’t go recreating a crystal ball frapp. Look into your crystal ball to anticipate the next trend and be first to market.