In 1983, John Harney, 53, founded the tea brand Harney&Sons. At the beginning, the tea blender with many years of experience only developed new tea formulations in his basement and provided hand-made products for hotel consumers. Soon, he found that these tea products were very popular, and consumers kept adding orders and new customers came to him. Thus, the brand was born. What kind of tea, born in a family workshop, can not only represent the fashion culture of New York, but also make the British royal family fondle it? This article will reveal the charm of Harney&Sons.
As a blended tea from the United States, it uses high-quality raw materials and unique tea making technology. In just a few decades, it has become the world’s top blended tea brand and the representative of New York fashion culture.
In 2005, the HRP series of Harney&Sons was authorized by the royal palace logo, and was officially adopted as the only special tea for the British royal palace (Tower of London, Hampton Palace, State Banquet Hall, Kensington Palace, and Hill Palace). It was the designated banquet tea for the “royal wedding” of Prince William and Princess Kate in 2011.
1、 Brand Concept: Make flawless high-quality tea
（1） Global exploration of good tea resources
Harney&Sons can provide more than 300 kinds of tea products for consumers, all of which come from high-quality tea producing areas in the world. Tea artists regularly visit China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Africa and other tea regions every year to find the most distinctive and flawless high-quality tea raw materials, and make adequate preparations for the supply of raw materials for the production of flawless high-quality tea products.
The blended tea of Harney&Sons includes classic tea such as Earl tea, hot cinnamon spice tea and Paris black tea with regional characteristics, various kinds of Matcha, and bamboo leaf tea, which is challenging for foreigners.
（2） Create unique quality with professional skills
Obtaining high-quality tea raw materials with distinctive and flawless characteristics does not mean that it will be able to provide high-quality tea products for consumers. The quality control of tea making technology and its process is the key. At present, Harney&Sons still inherits the family-run business and also has a professional tea making team. John Haney, founder and president, has 13 years of tea making experience before the establishment of the brand, and has continuously refined his skills after the establishment of the brand. He won the “Lifetime Achievement Award” issued by the World Tea Expo in 2011. Because of his respected professional achievements, in 2015, the award was officially renamed “John Haney Lifetime Achievement Award” to commemorate Mr. John Haney who died in 2014. This is enough to show the lofty position of the founder in the world tea industry.
The second and third generation members of the Harney family, adhering to John Harney’s insistence on the quality of tea, brought back to New York the superior tea and flower raw materials found from all over the world, and carried out the combination and creation of new tea products with the excellent tea making skills inherited.
Michael Haney, the second generation tea man, served as a tea purchaser and tea taster in the operation team. His long career in purchasing and tea tasting has given him enough professional experience. In the book “Harney&Sons Tea Drinking Guide” published in 2008, he evaluated each tea under Harney&Sons based on three attributes: astringency, mellow and aroma. The higher the grade is, the more prominent the feature is. In this way, he not only reflects his professional level, but also helps consumers to choose the most suitable tea professionally.
2、 Brand Positioning: Style, Fashion, Humanity
（1） Join hands with high-end brands to maintain good contact with the fashion industry
Harney&Sons has maintained close cooperation with world-famous hotels, restaurants, luxury groups, etc., such as Shangri-La Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Marriott Hotel, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. It not only provides tea for top hotels, but also provides exclusive tea for popular restaurants and dessert shops, such as Sarabeth’s, known as “New York Brunch Queen”, and the popular dessert shops Lady M, Chikalicious, etc. Work with high-end brands to maintain a good relationship of cooperation. This kind of brand management similar to “joint brand” is reminiscent of the brand positioning and brand tone of Harney&Sons and its partners.
The Harney&Sons physical store, located in SOHO District, New York, is a gathering place for fashion people in New York. Many famous artists and designers are loyal customers here, such as fashion designers Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs. The trend magazine “Milk” once selected Harney&Sons products as “New York style souvenir No.1”. Harney&Sons has cooperated with Donna Karan, a famous fashion brand, to launch three blended teas, and Louis Vuitton. Through the influence of the luxury industry and the fashion industry, Harney&Sons has constantly precipitated the brand style and fashion positioning.
（2） Focus on sustainable development and assume social responsibility
The highest state of a brand is to become an excellent social citizen. The Harney&Sons brand knows this well. In addition to improving in the field of tea making, brands recognize the impact of their industry on the environment and the burden on the earth, and actively perform their social responsibilities as enterprises.
Harney&Sons has always advocated environmental protection, healthy and sustainable living conditions. Marketing Director Emeric Harney said that the sustainability of packaging was the company’s top priority, and Harney&Sons’ tea cans and packaging could be recycled. The loose leaf tea and herbal tea products of Harney&Sons are packaged by TC Transcontinental Packaging in cooperation with Dow Chemical and Charter NEX Film Company, and are packed with ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) barrier, which can be 100% recycled. In addition to the recycling path, Harney&Sons has called on consumers to play creative roles on social platforms such as Instagram, so as to revive the teapot. Harney&Sons also showed this idea in the promotional video of Mother’s Day. In the video, a family uses the tea pot as a flowerpot for secondary use. Consumers have shared their DIY achievements on tea cans on social platforms, such as incense candle containers, makeup brush buckets, vases, pen holders, storage boxes, etc. Some feedback pictures are even more refined than the official publicity pictures.
Harney&Sons has maintained good cooperation with many public welfare organizations. It has cooperated with the organization “1% For The Planet” for more than 10 years and donated 1% of the total product sales to the organization. The logo of the organization is printed on the tea cans and packages of Harney&Sons. By 2020, Harney&Sons has donated nearly $3.5 million to the environmental protection organization. Harney&Sons is also a partner of the National breast cancer Foundation of the United States. Together with philanthropist Jane Lauder, they launched JANE’S GARDEN TEA and were authorized to use the pink ribbon logo. For every jar of JANE’S GARDEN TEA sold, Harney&Sons will donate US $1 to the breast cancer Foundation and the Jane Lauder Foundation to support the cause of caring for and protecting women.
3、 Packaging Style: Presentation of series features under the premise of unified brand personality
The product line of Harney&Sons is divided into CLASSIC classic series, HRP royal series, HT master matching series, exquisite box series and portable series. On the basis of unifying brand personality, each sub-category is differentiated in style.
（1） CLASSIC Classic Series
This series is a selection of 10 kinds of high-quality and popular tea products from more than 250 products of Harney&Sons. The can body is white with different color lines, which appears simple and elegant and has a sense of quality.
（2） HRP Royal Series
At the invitation of the Royal Palace Foundation of the United Kingdom, and inspired by the profound history and culture of the United Kingdom, Harney&Sons developed a series of products of Histic Royal Palaces. The main characteristics of its packaging design and visual presentation are: the box body is octagonal cube, with thick color, reflecting the royal sense of honor.
（3） HT master matching series
This category is mainly blended tea. The color of the can body is bright and lively. It covers the richest variety and is suitable for people who like freshness.
（4） Exquisite box series
This category packs tea in a small round pocket box, with five tea bags in one box, which is convenient to carry. The box is round, bright and covered with flower patterns, and the push-type switch is unique, which is popular with women.
（5） Portable series
The outer box of the portable series is a rectangular paper box, which is simple in business, convenient to carry, and relatively affordable in price. It is also the exclusive tea for high-end hotels and restaurants around the world.
4、 Brand communication strategy
（1） Multi-channel interactive online communication
Harney&Sons uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram as platforms for online publicity to form a relatively complete publicity matrix. On the social platform, the DIY guide on tea was released in combination with the seasons and festivals, such as the special drink of Father’s Day – Cha Chanti Beer, to increase the interest and expand the scope of dissemination; Short videos of Harney family members tasting and selecting tea will be released from time to time. This form of endorsement by experts and celebrities will give consumers a deeper understanding of the quality of tea and enhance their recognition of tea.
In addition to We-media, Harney&Sons also operates the official website as a publicity platform. Most of the articles published in the official website are combined with art, such as the exhibition of award-winning works in the tea-box painting competition, the tea matching the Grammy pop music, and the dialogue with the miniature model artists, which creates the artistic atmosphere of Harney&Sons Tea and strengthens its style and cultural characteristics in the minds of consumers.
（2） Scene experience
Harney&Sons has physical stores in New York’s SOHO district and Milton. Take the SOHO store in Manhattan as an example. The store has an extra-long and high interior space, wooden shelves and metal chandeliers, which make the interior style full of postmodernism and conform to the fashionable and simple temperament of New York. In the store, there are shelves of tea products and surrounding commodities on both sides of the aisle, which are dazzling. The shelves are high, so it is necessary to climb the ladder to pick up the goods. For this reason, some customers have issued such comments as “coming to the wand shop in Harry Potter”. It can be seen that the design of the store reflects the modern sense and travel experience of the combination of fashion and magic.
There is an afternoon tea area in the store, where consumers can enjoy exquisite refreshments such as Sikang, tea biscuits and Makaron while drinking tea. There are exquisite products of Harney&Sons at the cashier. The small and exquisite appearance stimulates consumers to settle their bills. The physical store has mobilized the five senses of consumers. The fashionable store design and the neatly paved tea cans on the shelves have a visual aesthetic sense. The chatter of tea guests and the sound of teaspoons touching tea cups come and go. The tea surrounding and tea products within reach can be touched and appreciated by consumers. The fragrance of tea and refreshments fills the nasal cavity, making people can’t help but secrete saliva. The relaxed atmosphere allows consumers to stop and linger, produce immersive experience and make consumption decisions unconsciously.
（3） Follow the wave of women’s movement and take advantage of the opportunity to market
Harney&Sons attaches importance to women consumers. In addition to taking care of women’s charitable organizations and designing tea packages that meet women’s aesthetic needs, it has also set up the Women’s History Month section on its official website, which specifically introduces the outstanding women related to tea in history and the products formulated by women tea men. When the film “Little Women” is about to be released, the “Little Women Orchard Blended Tea” is launched. The blending of apple, honey and cornflower further highlights the flavor of green tea.
This measure conforms to the current trend of women’s rights movement overseas, makes female consumers feel respected, improves their liking for the brand, and thus selects Harney&Sons in the sea of tea brands to produce purchase behavior.