What makes the Chatime brand tick with consumers

We chat with the head of marketing for the rapidly expanding bubble tea producer

Tea, cheese and tapioca are three ingredients not normally associated in the standard western palate – and certainly not mixed into a beverage.

But they are also three of the key ingredients behind a rapidly-emerging force in Australia’s quick-service food and beverage category.

Inspired by the Taiwanese obsession with bubble tea, local company, Chatime, recently opened its 100th outlet, and has led the way in bringing a distinctively Asian beverage to Australian consumers.

Chatime head of marketing, Tim Paton, says the brand’s story has evolved significantly since it launched almost a decade ago.

“When the company first started we had limited funds in terms of marketing, so the strategy back then was to infiltrate densely populated Asian communities,” Paton tells CMO. “We went through a rebranding three years ago, and that whole objective was really to broaden interest in Chatime and go after a more mainstream Australian audience.

“Where we’re seeing our biggest growth opportunities now are the stores we’re opening in unexpected locations, such as across rural Australia. Caucasian customers are absolutely loving it.”

Paton says uptake among non-traditional audiences has been such that he estimates around 40 per cent of customers now are from non-Asian backgrounds.

Bubble tea is generally made using iced tea and milk combined with small balls of tapioca, called pearls. It is available in a seemingly limitless range of flavours, and more recently has witnessed the introduction of cheese foam as topping.

Paton believes it is versatility of the product that has proven critical to its success across a wide range of audiences.

“It is a fully customisable menu where it doesn’t matter what flavours you are interested in, there really is a Chatime for everybody, from basic peach iced tea to premium pearl iced tea with extra popping pearls and 100 per cent sugar,” Paton says. “We are a brand for everybody. We don’t want to exclude anybody, and we want embrace everyone and encourage everyone to come to Chatime to discover their flavour.”

So while Chatime has been working to bring more traditional Australian flavours into its product, Paton says it will continue hero both traditional and new Asian flavours, such as taro. But with a base product that might seem unusual to Western tastes, Paton says the biggest driver of growth has been recommendations.

“The biggest cause of conversion to Chatime for the first time is a recommendation from a friend,” Paton says. “And that by far is our focus, to broaden that customer base and put in a strong program around influencer and friend referral.

“It is an odd product the majority of Australians don’t understand, but once they try it they love it and they keep coming back for more.”

Chatime recently launched a loyalty app, has developed a significant WeChat strategy for 2019, and a cinema advertising campaigned to be delivered by Val Morgan. It has also signed a partnership with the national youth mental health foundation, headspace.

“Headspace is a major partner for us moving forward, and a major part of how we want to continue to connect with youth in Australia,” Paton says.

Chatime opened its 100th outlet in October, and Paton says it plans to have as many as 120 more in the next 24 months.

“It a really exciting time for the bubble tea category, and for Chatime to be able to pave the way and take this trend to everyone,” he adds.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

 

 

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Natural born leaders

Many business and marketing managers progressing to leadership positions face evolving their focus from operational matters to strategic decision making and planning.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

It is an accepted fact that in the present times the mass makes use of digital marketing more often and are more and more enlightened wit...

Digital Marketing Course in Ja

Why RMIT is partnering with Adobe for digital marketing learning

Read more

If men were really the dominating brutes that feminist make them out to be ,then women really would be second class citizens. Without th...

aaron

Analysis: Gillette's latest ad only proves why brands standing for positive change is vital

Read more

In 2019 Augmented Reality plays a vital role in marketing campaign its new way to engaged user with digital content. Try Augmented Realit...

hill william

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

We're going to have more agencies than audiences soon!

cartercarter.com.au

JWT's Mirum digital agency ramps up Australian push

Read more

I think the key word here is 'caution' do you really have anything valuable to add. If not silence is a smart approach. Clients are smart...

internetmarketingconsultant

What Australia Day advertising says about brand purpose and cultural leadership

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in