Background

WORK Labs is an award-winning Richmond based branding agency that is much more than your typical advertising agency. Along with providing their international client base with innovative solutions for over 20 years, they have also introduced their own clothing line, brew their own beer and most recently, are in the process of producing their own branded take on household coffee. 

Cabell Harris, Founder & President of WORK Labs, in partnership with his former client and Vice President of Macy's Department Stores, Joe Feczko, had an idea one day to leverage WORK Labs strong brand name and value set to produce a new coffee product that could fill an opportunistic space in the current market.  Their idea was to include 'Adaptogen' additives which have been correlated with high levels of focus and reduced levels of stress. They felt including these additives could make their product stand out among typical coffee products in an almost competition free space and result in "the biggest breakthrough in the evolution of coffee since DeCaf."

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Ask

Although WORK Labs had an idea of which additives to add to their formula and a general product concept they still needed to determine who to market their product to and how to position their product. They also needed recommendations on additional considerations such as their current packaging, distribution, a pricing model and a launch plan.

Research

Rigourous hours of research was needed to determine the key insight needed to drive our recommendations. 
We conducted surveys, focus groups and many one on one to determine how varied coffee consumers perceive the coffee they consume as well as how committed they are to the brands they purchase. We dug through NIH studies and academic journals to find secondary research to determine how factual the perceived benefits of 'Adaptogens' were. We also constructed a competitive analysis to determine WORK Labs perception among their target audience for the varied products they already offered.

Key Insights

The words  'additive' and 'adaptogen' make consumers feel uncomfortable and like they're consuming unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals.
 

A product labeled 'WORK' (accompanied with the current product packaging) made their consumer feel like the product was one associated with their jobs and thus wasn't one they were inclined to purchase or consume on their own.

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Solution

(The words  'additive' and 'adaptogen' make consumers feel uncomfortable and like they're consuming unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals.)
Although consumers had immediate negative associations with the word 'Adaptogens', they were significantly more inclined to purchase the product once they were informed on the added benefits and natural nature of the adaptogens.
Instead of displaying the word 'Adaptogen' on the product, display the individual ingredients as they sound more natural and make the consumer feel like they're consuming a healthier product.
Focus on the benefits of the adaptogen used versus the word 'adaptogen' itself.

(A product labeled 'WORK' (accompanied with the current product packaging) made their consumer feel like the product was one associated with their jobs and thus wasn't one they were inclined to purchase or consumer on their own.)
If WORK Labs could alter the perception of the word 'Work', they could still leverage the strong brandname while still offering a product that their consumer desires.
Redefine 'Work' from a term describing employment to one describing an effort done in order to achieve a purpose.
Alter 'Work' coffees position from coffee for your job to the coffee you drink when you are working towards something.
 

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Target Audience

We defined our target as Aspirational Moonlights
These are the average joe's working full time 9-5 jobs but who, when off the clock, are working towards a higher purpose to build their lives towards achieving lifelong goals.
These consumers consume more coffee than the average person and thus could best benefit from a product that reduces stress as well as some of the negative side effects of traditional coffee consumers.
We found their to be roughly 4 million of these individuals with a 3% growth projection year-over-year for the next 10 years.
 

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Distribution

The lives of our target audience require them to be creatures of strict habit. They are consistently frequenting locations where they can work on work for either their main job or for their side hustle.
They also are unlikely to have heard of adaptogens and would thus likely need to try the product before making a purchase. We recommended WORK Labs hold sampling events at local coffee shops, co-working spaces and business events to give their consumers initial exposure to their product.
We then suggested WORK Labs release their product through a subscription consumer goods service that our consumer uses to circumvent some of the initial cost of selling the product online.
Finally we suggested they leverage social media influencers with similar values before expanding their products through a major retailer in test markets before national release. 

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Teammates:
Paul Atienza
Jacob Steckman
Viviana Molina-Burbano