Children’s beverage company good2grow thinks it has found a way to reach young consumers long before they are old enough to buy their own beverages at the grocery store.
The Atlanta-based company produces a variety of kids drinks under four product lines: Fruit & Veggie Blends, 100% Juice, 75% Less Sugar and its latest launch, Fortified Waters. Yet for good2grow, which has a range of licensing partnerships with some of the biggest brands in entertainment, the bottle is arguably as important as the liquid it holds inside. The brand has made its collectable bottle tops the centerpiece of a strategy to drive customer engagement and, in turn, expand its presence in the market.
“We are unique because we exist in a space that in between a beverage and a toy,” said Edzra Gibson, director of brand marketing at good2grow, in a call with BevNET last week. “Other brands may be label-swapping to get a character on their packaging, but it’s not 3D — kids can’t touch it and interact with it as they would a toy.”
The brand has evolved over the past decade. Parent company In Zone previously marketed several juice-based kids beverages called Belly Washers and Tummy Ticklers before rebranding as good2grow in 2013. But throughout the brand changes, the use of a distinctive, branded top design has been consistent. Each 6 oz. bottle’s cap features a character from the brand’s stable of licensing partners, which includes Marvel, Disney, Universal, Hasbro, Nickelodeon and others. Good2grow currently offers over 200 “toppers” in its collection, featuring Iron Man, Mickey Mouse and a host of other recognizable names.
According to Gibson, the company found that consumers were already saving their tops, so it decided develop programs that would further encourage that behavior. To drive engagement, it created the good2grow Collector’s Club, an online platform that allows users to view tops from their collection and browse the full catalog, similar to a virtual baseball card collection.
“The additional experience that we layer on to that was to provide them with another level of enjoyment,” he said.“Consumers are more digital now, they want to be able to share things with friends easier.”
From the website, users can further engage with the brand through online games in which they can earn prizes, or redeem their tops for special deals. Whether they are one-time users or lifelong fans of the brand, the idea, Gibson said, is to give consumers multiple points of reference to connect with the product.
“It really starts with providing consumers with something they want in regards to if there is a specific property or character that they are looking for in the marketplace,” he said. “As you provide that, naturally what you see with consumers is that they become fans of the brand. If you are doing the right things and offering the right consume proposition.”
The launch of good2grow’s new Fortified Waters line offered the company an opportunity to broaden its portfolio as well as target a different demographic of older consumers who prefer the larger 10 oz. serving size.The two SKUs — Raspberry Lemonade and Orange Mango — recently launched at select regional retailers.
As it builds its presence online, good2grow is also solidifying its retail presence. The brand is currently sold in over 200,000 retailers nationwide, including Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS.According to data from market research group IRI, multi-outlet channel sales of the brand’s shelf-stable apple juice increased 11 percent, up to $54.2 million for a 52-week period ending on June 17. Good2grow’s shelf-stable fruit punch (8.8 percent) and Fruit & Veggie Blends (9.5 percent) were also up.
While targeting distribution expansion in the long-term, Gibson said the company is mainly focused on “blocking and tackling” for the present.
“We are just really beefing up our connection with all of our customers,” he said. “It’s not as much around targeting new points of distribution at this juncture, although I think that will come very soon.”