Chamberlain Coffee is a giant deal on social media. But the beverage brand wants wider name recognition with consumers outside of its staple Gen Z fanbase.
The brand was co-founded in 2020 by YouTube star Emma Chamberlain, on the time 18 and now 22, who boasts 12 million subscribers on the video platform and 15 million Instagram followers. It launched exclusively via e-commerce with whole bean coffee bags and later expanded into single-serve pouches and Keurig pod coffee, in addition to matcha powder.
Videos about Chamberlain Coffee have amassed over 363 million views on TikTok, and its official page features Chamberlain creating drinks using its coffee and matcha products. In June, the corporate announced a $7 million funding round to fuel the launch of RTD canned dairy-free lattes — in Mocha, Cinnamon Bun, Vanilla and Cold Brew flavors — which rolled out exclusively at Walmart in April.
Chamberlain Coffee’s chief marketing officer Liz Ahern joined the corporate last October to speed up the launch of its products in retail stores. This month, the brand launched three of its coffee bags at greater than 375 Target locations across the United States. Prior to that premiere, the brand debuted at select Sprouts and Albertsons stores.
Ahern explained that the brand has jockeyed to move into brick and mortar stores previously 12 months. A key a part of this aggressive transition was to drive awareness among the many brand’s existing customer base.
“We worked really quickly to bring the ready-to-drink lattes to market six months after authorization,” Ahern said. “Even before the announcement, people were posting TikToks about seeing them at Walmart.”
From e-commerce to the coffee aisle
Translating the digital success of a brand co-founded by a social media influencer into retail got here with one crucial task: How can it appeal to consumers outside of Gen Z and millennials? Faced with the challenge of familiarizing individuals who have never heard of Chamberlain or its products, Ahern said the brand leaned into its better-for-you attributes of its latte products to catch eyes on Walmart shelves.
“We had to take into consideration how to market outside of our core demographic, with value propositions on the back of the can, launching with almond and coconut milk [in the lattes] with just one gram of sugar,” Ahern said.
In working to stay in tune with its young audience, Chamberlain Coffee has formatted its products to fit Generation Z’s unique ideals and tastes.
On social media, the brand picked up on a desire for more accessible coffee options, given the tediousness required to brew drip coffee. Ahern said this spurred the corporate to launch the RTD latte drinks as its first retail exclusive product.
Ahern said the brand also prioritizes sustainability — which Gen Z increasingly takes into consideration when it purchases food and beverage products — through its commercially compostable coffee pods. And young consumers’ interest in daring colours and flavors informed its decision to lean into decadence with its eccentric-looking lavender, strawberry and blue matcha blends.
An eye on innovation
While the mission of Chamberlain Coffee continues to be the go-to brand of selection for the Gen Z consumer, Ahern said there may be growing demand for a coffee company with its set of priorities amongst older generations as well.
“We have learned over time that our brand values — premium and accessible, and never a snobby coffee brand — are appealing to greater than just Gen Z,” Ahern said.
Chamberlain Coffee is utilizing its brand recognition to fuel product collaborations, including its canned Matcha Lemonade with Swoon in 2022. But it isn’t stopping at beverages, even dipping into the hair care space with a matcha shampoo collaboration with IGK earlier this 12 months.
As the corporate aims to capitalize on its viral success, Ahern said consumers can expect more brand collaborations for Chamberlain Coffee within the near future. The brand, she said, closely watches what its consumers want from the brand on social media because it formulates its innovation pipeline.
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