Refreshing Ideas for Beverage Brand Promotions
Think about how many different types of beverages you drink throughout the day. Maybe you have coffee in your morning meeting, sparkling water at lunch and beer during happy hour. Now, think about how many different brands of those different beverages there are. A lot, right? So how can brands stand out? You know this answer: promotional products. All of those different brands need products to promote their beverage brands, whether it be bottle openers, T-shirts or cups.
We spoke to Sarah Gustat, national customer marketing manager, and John Paradine, director of field marketing, at Talking Rain Beverage Co., Preston, Wash., to learn how they use promotional products to their advantage for their beverage brand—Sparkling Ice.
Promo Marketing: Tell us a little bit about Sparkling Ice.
Sarah Gustat/John Paradine: Sparkling Ice beverages combine sparkling water, natural flavors, fruit juice and vitamins to offer great-tasting, lightly carbonated beverages. As part of the Talking Rain Beverage Co. family, Sparkling Ice offers a bold-flavored, lightly carbonated beverage that appeals to all age groups.
Sparkling Ice is available in over 20 refreshing flavors, including a line of lemonades and teas. Most recently, the brand launched [the] Sparkling Ice essence of sparkling water collection, which features four natural varieties free of sweeteners, artificial colors or preservatives.
PM: What kind of promotional products and giveaway items does Sparkling Ice use? Why do you use those particular products?
SG/JP: Sparkling Ice offers a variety of branded promotional and giveaway items, including tumblers, T-shirts, portable speakers, tube coolers and more. We utilize these promotional items for shopper loyalty programs and as giveaways at events we are sponsoring, in addition to our traditional branded event signage. Right now, consumers can find all of these products via our Flavor Up website, a hub for our current summer shopper loyalty program. In addition to our digital and social component, we’re also hosting a series of Flavor Up activations in stores across the country for consumers to participate in and win free Sparkling Ice swag.
In the past, we’ve also created promotional items for shopper marketing programs, such as our Sparkling Ice-branded Weber Grill. We offered this in conjunction with our social media contest a few years back and saw a huge boost in engagement from our unique offering. And for [the] New Year, we [incentivized] everyone to buy 12 bottles of Sparkling Ice to get a choice of complimentary headphones or drawstring sports bag. The seasonally relevant prizes made for a fun program that our consumers enjoyed.
For events, we look to create unique and memorable pieces that consumers will gravitate toward, keep, and use over and over. We try to leverage items that are also relevant to a current event or program we are supporting—branded basketballs and socks for [a] Kevin Durant program [is] an example. Other examples include custom beanies co-branded for our partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, spin art executed on LP albums for a high school music tour, and photo printouts and custom screen-printed T-shirts.
PM: Do you think they’re effective in keeping/recruiting customers? Why or why not?
SG/JP: As mentioned above, most of our promotional products are utilized in sponsorship events and to reward customer loyalty. That said, we definitely see a spike in engagement from our fans and new customers, and on our digital platforms. [We] believe it’s a result of our unique promotional offerings that cater to consumers of every age and every gender. As long as our promotional and giveaway items continue to move the needle, we’ll continue offering fun and exciting Sparkling Ice swag to our customers and target audience.
We also want to create and distribute items that consumers will want to share via their social platforms. [Also], our rewards program has seen some great initial success. It was developed to really speak to our loyal consumer. It began in May, and we have over 1,500 people registered and 10,000 units sold. These numbers climb every single day, and we can’t wait to see where we are when the program ends on Sept. 6.
PM: How do the products portray the brand’s message?
SG/JP: All of our promotional products definitely portray Sparkling Ice’s overall message and brand goals. From the bright colors, to the added convenience and everything in between, we make sure our promotional offerings are just as fun and exciting to consumers as when they open a Sparkling Ice beverage.
PM: What items do you notice end-users tend to like the most? Why do you think they’re so popular?
SG/JP: Our consumers seem to enjoy [products] with high perceived value, good quality and functionality. For the summer rewards program, there is a lot of love for the waterproof Bluetooth speakers and our tumblers. [End-users] get to choose the flavor/color they want or they can collect them all.
PM: For signage and employee uniforms, what does Sparkling Ice look for when purchasing?
SG/JP: For signage, we lean more toward items that are functional in nature, but also communicate our brand message to consumers. For uniforms, we try and find items that support our fun, bright brand. For both, we look for premium items that are unique and speak to the brand.
PM: Do you have a story or anecdote about Sparkling Ice using promotional products that you want to share?
SG/JP: For a recent trade show in the school nutrition space, we used our spin art tables and albums to engage show attendees. This activation offered consumers a unique and unexpected experience, along with a great takeaway and an additional point of contact for our sales team and the attendees.