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CMO50 2022 #26-50: Joanna Robinson

  • Name Joanna Robinson
  • Title Chief marketing officer
  • Company Chatime
  • Commenced role January 2021
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 10 staff, 4 direct reports
  • Industry Sector QSR
  • 2021 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    A campaign called 'Satisfy your Strange’ is one which could have backfired on the CMO of Chatime, Joanna Robinson. But instead, it ended up being a boon for the brand.

    “Probably the bravest call I made this year, supported by the executive team and along with our agency partners, was to roll out a disruptive AR campaign called 'Satisfy Your Strange', which challenged the status quo in terms of OOH advertising,” Robinson explains.

    “It was a new frontier for Chatime and represented significant investment for the business which could have backfired on the brand. However, the campaign went on to appeal to a vast segment of the market, driving our overall brand awareness and firmly defining our proposition in the marketplace.”       

    Innovative marketing 

    'Satisfy Your Strange' was a customer-centric vision based on leveraging AR technology and embracing the insight around the 'strange' first Chatime experience.

    Reaching a wide audience through a variety of OOH advertising platforms, such as street furniture, bus stops, billboards, etc. This was coupled with an extensive digital campaign to target the ‘hedonist digital native’. 

    The creative centred around seven 'Satisfy Your Strange' characters who came to life through AR technology and QR codes. Ads appeared in over 1870 outdoor touch points all over Australia between February 14th and April 24th, 2022. 

    “Additionally, we had an entertaining TikTok hashtag challenge which went viral, generating amazing growth in social engagement,” Robinson explains.

    The campaign was one of the most successful in Chatime's history and one of the strangest in Australian marketing in 2022, crossing international boundaries to American talk shows as well as Australia’s Gruen show. 

    “It made major industry headlines and created a tribe of obsessed 'Strange' fans who began stealing the in-store collateral prompting commercial merch and further live brand partnership campaigns.”

    The results were amazing, she explains, with:

    • 160,000 new users to the Chatime site +20% year-on-year, 

    • Over 46 million earned impressions,

    • A single (unpaid) reaction video on Tik Tok received over five million views, 

    • The TikTok hashtag challenge itself had 26.1 million total hashtag video views, with 16 million total paid impressions and a total Australian unique reach of 4.08 million, 48 per cent of total Australian TikTok users.

    “AR scans peaked at 50,000 in a single day, social media engagement increased by 310 per cent. Chatime had their biggest week in sales ever during the peak of the campaign, and one in three people who saw the outdoor campaign went on to purchase a Chatime.” 

    Business smarts

    Having a strong background in FMCG consumer marketing, Robinson has been proud to be part of a project team which launched Chatime into a new distribution channel, supermarkets. 

    “We developed an innovative new range of DIY Bubble Tea kits to ensure all bubble tea lovers could get their fix anytime, anywhere,” she explains.

    “Whilst our core, customisable product remains in the hands of our talented T-Ristas, our unique DIY Bubble Tea Kits can be found in supermarket tea aisles and offer a little Chatime fun at home. 

    “During lockdown times, these kits proved particularly relevant in not only staying connected with our consumers but also allowed us to spark a little joy/treat at home during what was a tough period for a lot of people.”

    Within just a few months in market, Chatime became the number one bubble tea brand in supermarkets with its Mango, Peach and Original Milk flavours ranking top three in the segment. 

    Bubble tea has driven overall tea category growth, with Chatime holding a 40 per cent share. Research also confirms these new kits are great formats for family sharing occasions, such as at home movie nights, games nights and cocktail making, opening Chatime up to new audiences. 

    In addition to the DIY kits, Chatime has recently launched into the Ready to Drink (RTD) category with an on the go bottle of Brown Sugar Milk Tea which it hopes will further drive success in the supermarket channel. 

    Data-driven maturity

    Robinson says Chatime is customer-centric, putting its members at the forefront of everything it does. 

    Reaching a new high of 1.2 million engaged members this year, its growing loyalty database is supported by an engaging and rewarding loyalty program, 'Loyal-Tea'. 

    “The goal of our loyalty program is to turn consumer insights into action, leveraging segmentation data, and aiming to engage our loyalists in a unique and compelling way,” she says. 

    “We reward and engage our members with our simple, yet effective earn-and-redeem point program, where members will earn 10 points for every $1 spent in our T-Breweries. Members can then convert their points into free teas with 100 points equating to $1 for redemption.

    “We are excited to be expanding our capabilities to introduce exclusive member-only perks in relation to our tea-riffic new product ranges. For upcoming campaigns, we encourage acquisition by promoting members can 'find out first’ what's launching and purchase before anyone else.”

    Strategic CRM communications are then in place to retain member interest through surprise and delight perks and bounce-back offers. 

    These initiatives are strategically supported with mapped-out customer retention journeys across CRM channels, ongoing surprise and delight in-app offers, and via highly engaged social media channels. 

    “We strive to personalise our content in a unique way and the more we learn about our members’ preferences, the more we can ensure the content they receive is relevant to them.

    “Chatime is also continually looking to better understand our members via ongoing learnings and feedback from post-transactional surveys and voice of customers triggers. 

    We've successfully simplified our loyalty integration by making our program easily accessible from multiple touchpoints, whether in store, ordering via the app or across our self-serve kiosks. 

    “Most recently we successfully introduced implementation of push notifications via the Chatime app, which has seen an above-forecast increase in app-user engagement and sales.

    “I think good decisions are a combination of both data and gut, and the mix changes depending on the situation or challenge. As I get older and more experienced in my career, I lean more heavily on my gut to drive my decisions, but I strategically use data to confirm my instincts. 

    “I think leveraging first party data is crucial in marketing to really tailor towards the consumer segment in a way to authentically resonate with them, but this needs to be balanced to avoid “paralysis by analysis” where there is little action while people overthink and over-analyse things.”

    Customer-led value

    Chatime strives to live up to its values: Real, brave, curious, and inclusive, as well as driving its 'brand with purpose' platform, including CSR partnerships, Robinson explains.

    “As a major partner of Canteen, we worked together to celebrate National Bandanna Day in 2021, raising funds to support young people who are affected by cancer," she says. 

    “Designed by one of our very own T-ristas, we sold our very own Chatime Bandanna in all our T-breweries across Australia. To support this, customers were also able to donate with our 'Round up' campaign, allowing them to donate with every drink purchased. We also raised $90,000 to match Canteen's '$90k for Giving Day'.

    “We amped things up on our end across multiple touch points, with posts across socials, eDMs sent out to a total of 820,000 loyal members, as well as a total PR coverage reach of 163,000 people across Weekend Notes and CMO. An additional $5,717 was raised on Tiltify with our partners at AEL, with a full day of streaming content across eight different digital influencers.” 

    The collaboration was featured on the Today show, broadcasted to televisions across Australia with a total reach of 1.19 million. 

    “At Chatime Group, we strive to think beyond profits and really endeavour to embody our goal to be a 'brand with purpose'. As well as National Bandanna Day, proceeds from our DIY kits in Woolworths also go towards Canteen. We are proud of our on-going partnership and the support we can provide to this amazing organisation in helping young people affected by cancer,” she says. 

    Commercial and growth acumen

    During the various lockdowns, Chatime used multiple avenues to reach and support its customers, including: 

    • Utilising ordering and delivery aggregators to allow customers to stay at home and order their favourite drinks. With Chatime active across UberEATS, Deliveroo and Easi, aggregators made up for roughly 10 per cent of all sales.

    • Empowering customers to skip the queue and order ahead of time through its Loyal Tea app, allowing them to simply drop in to collect their drink when it was ready, to reduce contact times and keep safe distance. 

    • Introducing self-service kiosks across many stores, allowing for no-contact ordering, and letting customers enjoy the experience of coming in store while remaining safe. 

    Releasing Chatime DIY kits into Woolworths also allowed customers to enjoy the experience of the Chatime from beginning to end from the comfort of their own home. 

    The DIY kits exploded onto shelves and over social media, quickly selling out. Upon initial launch, the kits attained $90,000 worth of organic coverage over four days with a total reach of 9,000,000. 

    Leadership impact 

    Robinson says Chatime Group focuses on building high performance, multi-disciplined project teams via an investment in Agile. 

    “We apply the philosophy behind agile software development to teamwork, collaboration, processes, and measurement. We strive to be streamlined and efficient, and avoid rigid processes and bureaucracy, silos, and delays. 

    “Our cross-functional teams work incrementally and pivot based on customer feedback and business needs, with the ultimate goal being to deliver value faster and improve customer experiences.”

    This framework is supported by a values-based culture which seeks to embed and uphold the values of real, brave, curious, and inclusive, with an approach to people where they are "empowered to fail”. 

    “We think the best ideas are borne from trial and error, and we encourage our teams to be bold in their thinking but to scope up ideas with rational and informed assumptions. We have a 'problem / solution' approach to the business where we encourage individuals to explore and communicate potential solutions themselves before seeking external validation. That way they feel empowered and supported to develop their skills and mindset,” Robinson explains.

    “From a personal perspective, I am an advocate for growth-mindset leadership and aim to be as much of a transformational-based leader as I can be. I have hired and nurtured a wonderful team of 10 people since I have been in the CMO role, with nine of these being women, which speaks to my drive to empower and develop as many young women in business as possible as a nod to the many amazing women who have helped me in my career. 

    “As a sessional lecturer at UNSW and Sydney University, I have taught leadership as part of an Intensive Masters course at USYD for the last two years. I am also a proud mentor and coach to many of the amazing young students I have taught throughout my teaching career.”

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