Jenny von Eynern is the Senior Brand Manager at YOGI TEA® . Jenny is responsible for the core business brand portfolio, product innovation and market research. The mission of YOGI TEA® is to make teas that do more than just taste good, and Jenny was first drawn to the brand by its mission to do good. Since its launch in 1984, the Yogi Tea Company has built an intensely loyal customer base across the globe and has spent the last few years successfully migrating that into the online world. The company has over 400K people across Facebook and Instagram; a community that accounts for over half of Yogi Tea’s sales throughout the US, Canada, Japan and Europe.
More and more brands in the saturated nutrition space are looking for ways to move beyond selling a product and towards communicating a more meaningful message. We spoke to Jenny to learn where some of these brands are going wrong and what they can learn from YOGI TEA® .
How can the nutrition industry learn from brands like YOGI TEA®?
YOGI TEA® was founded in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan, an inspired and inspiring teacher of holistic living who taught yoga in the West. Alongside teaching, he shared his knowledge of healthy living and the benefits of herbs by serving the aromatic spiced tea that we know to beYogi Tea. We continue to follow his guiding principles to this day. Yoga in particular continues to be an important part of the YOGI TEA® philosophy.
It’s essential that your roots and values drive everything that you do. Once you have your values, you must stay truthful to them. They are integral to your brand and must shape every decision you make about your product and your customer.
For Yogi Tea, our primary value is goodness, so we aim to Do Good, Be Good and ultimately help people Feel Good. Below is a framework which has served Yogi Tea extremely well over the years but I believe could also be applied to other brands looking to communicate a higher purpose:
What are you doing to support your values?
We support various charitable projects and ensure that every aspect of how we operate is consistent with our values. What is your brand actually doing that reflects your values? In particular, what is it doing in the offline space? People are obsessed about the digital world nowadays but that should merely be a means of communicating our activities in the real world. There has to be substance and real action behind your marketing or customers will see through it.
What are you being to support your values?
If you are trying to be an ethical brand on the market, then you must ensure you are hiring ethically minded people. For us, some of our employees were pupils of Yogi Bhajan, and we will always opt to work with those who embody who we are as a brand. By having the right people it means we are able to produce all of our own marketing content as we are confident it is communicating the correct message and in the correct tone. Likewise if we were to engage with an external agency, we would only work with one that we felt truly respects our own values. The same applies to influencers. Right now, the fitness market still has many superficial brands with an ‘image first’ strategy for their influencers, but increasingly consumers want to buy from brands that really care about the world and who work with people who represent that ethos. There is no point in engaging with influencers just because they have large followings or look the part if they don’t live and breathe your values. Consumers are smart and they will sense the lack of authenticity.
What are you doing to make people feel your values?
This really comes down to your product or service. We are constantly developing our products to ensure that we are delivering what our customers want and need, and the best way for us to learn if we are achieving that is to ask them. For example, we pay special attention to all sorts of feedback from our consumers, be it on social media, inquiries via phone/mail or face-to-face at events. One particular marketing strategy that we are doing is that we are sponsoring various events across Europe in order to let people experience the spirit and taste of YOGI TEA®. There are all sorts of other ways, both online and offline, to truly impact the way your customers feel.