In 2008, Maranda Barnes and Taha Bouqdib founded TWG Tea in Singapore. Among tea brands with a history of 100 years, TWG Tea, which was founded only 12 years ago, is no inferior. As of 2019, TWG Tea sold 900 tons of tea a year, with an average of 2 TWG Tea tea bags being consumed every second. The number of TWG Tea salons and boutiques has reached 70, covering 18 countries and regions.
Through the advertising film of TWG Tea, we can grasp the unique selling points of the brand. Other advertisements for luxury tea tasting mostly focus on the creative presentation of the founder and the rigorous process of tea making. TWG Tea focuses on products and boutiques: elaborately placed tea pots and refreshments, and magnificent stores. On the one hand, the promotional film shows the material properties of TWG Tea – a vast variety of products, fashionable and gorgeous packaging, and on the other hand, it shows the corresponding lifestyle of TWG Tea, arousing people’s yearning for a leisurely and prosperous life. The opera-style background music also makes people seem to travel to the upper class of Europe.
1. Brand positioning: High-End Tea, Louis Vuitton in the tea industry
TWG Tea is the tea supplier of the world’s top hotels, high-end restaurants and international airlines. Tea supplies for all Nippon Airways flights and Singapore Airlines first-class, business class and VIP lounge are also from TWG Tea. The TWG Tea boutique can also be found in the airport transit areas of Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and Doha. By 2019, TWG Tea has served tea for 72000 high-end luxury hotel rooms around the world.
In terms of location, TWG Tea’s boutiques and salons are mostly located in high-end shopping centers, often surrounded by luxury brands such as Chanel, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and consumers intuitively classify them into one category. The interior of the store is bright and magnificent with warm yellow light. The interior decoration is made of high-grade mahogany and brass, and the walls are covered with TWG Tea’s iconic yellow tea cans, with a European classical flavor. The menu in the store is in English, and the clerk in the proper suit is like a housekeeper to explain to the consumer.
As for why they set such a position at the beginning of its establishment, Maranda said frankly that in 2008, they noticed that there was no brand with high-end positioning, high recognition, and can taste tea from all over the world when entering the store, so they took advantage of the market gap and seized the opportunity to create a brand. As entrepreneurs, they respond quickly to opportunities. If a mall in the United States has the intention to retail TWG products, Maranda and Taha will immediately take the nearest flight to the United States to communicate with the relevant person in charge.
Offline stores have made great contributions to the brand positioning of TWG Tea. Many brands tend to start from the wholesale channel at the beginning of their establishment, while TWG Tea began to develop the store concept very early. So they took a two-pronged approach of wholesale channel and store channel, while visiting high-end hotels, restaurants and airlines, trying to establish a cooperative relationship with them; On the one hand, plan the establishment of the store. They know that if the brand has a store and retail experience, it will be easier to gain the recognition of wholesale customers. Wholesale customers and TWG Tea form a connection of word of mouth, strong combination and joint force.
2. Brand strategy: Create fashionable tea for young people
Taha, the founder of TWG Tea, once said: “We hope to share our enthusiasm with the world and prove that this fashion tea brand established in Singapore can sell tea to all fashion places in the world and turn tea into fashion accessories. The choice of Singapore as the founding site reflects this. One of the founders came from the United States and the other from Morocco, but chose Singapore, which has neither tea production nor tea culture. The contribution rate of gross agricultural product to the national economy is less than 0.1%. Their explanation is that Singapore, by virtue of its geographical advantages, became a hub of tea trade in the 19th century, and is not entirely unrelated to tea; Singapore is not the origin of tea, and consumers have no stereotype about it, so it gives the brand more possibilities for development; Singapore has the characteristics of an immigrant society, integrates multi-cultures and draws on the strengths of others, which is consistent with the brand concept of TWG Tea.
(1) A wide range of choices, including minority tea
TWG Tea provides more than 800 single teas from 46 tea producing regions around the world, as well as unique flavored teas, and even tea varieties from many remote and small countries, such as valley tea in Zimbabwe and mint tea in Morocco. This stems from the founder Taha’s love of tea. In the past ten years, he and his team have traveled thousands of miles to visit major tea gardens and tea collectors on all continents around the world, bringing back more than 100 kinds of tea for TWG Tea.
This is in line with the diversified characteristics of current consumer demand, as well as the characteristics of contemporary young people who are innovative and pursue the minority. The younger generation has a lot of personality. They don’t want to be the same with others in everything. The same is true in tea. The tea varieties that can be seen everywhere can no longer arouse their interest and attract their fleeting attention. Therefore, a small number of tea products are needed to stimulate nerves and generate a sense of identity with the brand.
However, extreme things turn out to be opposite. Too many choices sometimes make consumers fall into the crux of “fear of choice” and carefully consider the purchase decision of the brand. In response to this, TWG Tea has set up the “Tea Search” section on its official website, which classifies tea from six dimensions: loose leaf tea (sold by gram), packaged loose tea, tea bag, gift box, origin and taste. For consumers who are tired of making decisions, the fast channel of “finding the perfect tea” is set up. Just answer the two simple questions of “like scented tea or fruit tea” and “current mood” to shorten the decision-making time. This approach can narrow the selection range, and at the same time, there is no lack of consumer personality integration. TWG Tea’s consideration is appropriate and thoughtful.
(2) New tea mix, personalized customization
Many of TWG Tea’s tea products are unique. This is not only because it can collect good tea from remote small countries and private collections, but also because it is good at making mixed tea. The founder Maranda was born as a perfume blender. He extended his expertise to the tea field and blended unique scented tea, such as the tea of African dance, the tea of mid summer crimson South Africa, etc. Not only that, TWG Tea improved the original products and developed new products according to the changing tastes of consumers, and launched limited quantity and seasonal limited tea products. Founders realized that they could not rely solely on market research to become market leaders. The brand needs to make itself a source of surprise, generate ideas independently, make consumers interested and build itself into an authority in the industry.
TWG Tea has abandoned the naming method of formula combination, and the use of rhetoric brings rich imagination. Such as Silver Moon, the silver moon, has the depth of artistic conception and is as beautiful as a fairy tale. The package is painted with a silver full moon, as well as merchant ships, coconut trees, seagulls and waves moored on the shore under the moonlight. The combination of name and package seems to put people in a mysterious and quiet night. The novel name and the imaginary world behind it make consumers interested, have the idea of exploring and tasting, and promote consumer behavior.
Maranda believes that young people are the backbone of consumption in the next 10 years. They love brands and products that are unique and can show their individuality, while pursuing freshness and quality. There is a personalized trend in the current consumption characteristics, so TWG Tea supports the private customized service of tea, making tea no longer a one-size-fits-all service. After entering the store, consumers can communicate with the tea teacher about their needs, including but not limited to today’s mood and taste. Under the suggestion of tea experts, consumers can choose the basic tea base, including black tea, green tea, white tea, black tea, etc; Then you can choose the fragrance type, fruity or floral. The process of ordering tea is like preparing perfume. This process gives consumers a sense of participation and achievement, and improves brand popularity and consumer stickiness.
(3) The price range is loose and young people can afford it
Although TWG Tea adopts the luxury strategy, its product price range is large, which makes it affordable for young people with low incomes. The affordable product line of luxury brands is consistent with the consumption concept of young people at present. Developed social media has instilled new ideas in young people, such as luxury goods can highlight social status and quality of life. So young people are eager to try luxury consumption. Due to their limited income, they can only choose products with relatively low prices under luxury brands, such as cosmetics and skin care products of luxury brands. TWG Tea’s product line and pricing follow the same logic.
(4) Mobile media publicity for the younger generation
As early as 2013, TWG Tea has launched mobile commerce applications; In 2014, it launched its e-commerce platform on the official website. The development of TWG Tea online platform has always been in the forefront.
3. Product series: Find a new way and have unique ingenuity
TWG Tea shows certain characteristics in the product series and its corresponding packaging, and establishes a differentiation with other brands. In addition to using the central path such as taste and quality to persuade consumers and guide purchase behavior, TWG Tea also firmly holds the edge path to persuade consumers to feel TWG Tea’s sense of innovation and fashion from the aspect of packaging.
(1) Independent handmade cotton tea bag
Unlike the filter paper material, nylon material and corn fiber tea bag used by other brands, TWG Tea’s tea bag series uses pure cotton hand-stitched tea bags. The pure cotton material of the tea bag is naturally non-additive, which is more safe and healthy; Large-capacity tea bags are conducive to efficient soup production, allowing full space for the whole leaf to expand during brewing, and releasing a dense aroma. The inspiration of the tea bag comes from the practice of early tea tasters carrying square cotton cloth with them to install tea samples when visiting the tea garden.
This shows that although TWG Tea takes the young fashion line, it does not blindly abandon the fundamental, but still pays tribute to the classic, instead, it makes the old ideas bloom in the 21st century and produce unexpected creative points.
(2) Classic gift pot tea
This series of bulk tea is made of slender and beautiful tin cans. It looks more like a thermos kettle than a tea pot, which is significantly different from other brands’ short and wide tea cans. The color of the can body is different, which corresponds to the individual characteristics of different products. For example, the bottom color of Valentine Breakfast Tea is mint blue, which is similar to Tiffany Blue, which reminds people of the love movie “Tiffany’s Breakfast”; The blooming red rose pattern is not only the carrier of love between lovers, but also implies the rose flavor tea attribute of this product; The packaging of Eternal Summer Tea in midsummer is fiery red, printed with the golden sun pattern, which makes people feel like being in the fiery country of South Africa,; The body of Imperial Pu-erh tea is printed with the image of the Qing Dynasty emperor. The background color is red, supplemented by gold relief words, showing the royal grace.
In short, the design style of the tea pot is highly related to the tea products in the interior, so that consumers can have an intuitive impression of the product, have a synaesthesia, and have some ideas about the taste of the product at the moment of seeing the appearance. The use of visual language instead of written instructions has a low degree of involvement, which is conducive to consumers to make consumption decisions quickly.
(3) Sheng Xiyu selects black pot of tea
Instead of the metal containers for ordinary tea, the tea cans of this series are black glass bottles made by hand blowing, which have a crystal texture under the light. This series of different products are printed with unique bird and animal patterns, which correspond to the mythical animals in the legend of the tea producing area, as if they can lead consumers to a country with exotic customs. The thick and gorgeous gift box and gilded font bring high-end feeling, suitable for collection and gift.
(4) Caviar tin pot tea
Caviar tin pot tea is especially used for holiday gifts. TWG Tea adopted the concept of caviar, which symbolizes that the recipient is as precious as caviar in the eyes of the donor. The packaging of this series adopts a flat round jar similar to the caviar packaging, with a golden body. The patterns on the round surface change with the different ways of giving gifts. For example, the tea pot used for birthday gifts has the words “Happy Birthday” printed on it, and the painted pattern is a merry-go-round horse, which is full of the good wish to remain childlike no matter what age; The tea pot used for gift to lovers is printed with “Amour De The”, which means “love” in French. The background color is pink, with Cupid holding a bow and arrow.
(5) Weekend holiday mini pot of tea
For office workers who only have weekends to arrange, daily overseas travel is a luxury. TWG Tea has insight into consumers’ voices and launched the weekend holiday mini can series, trying to combine the smell, sense and culture of different places in a cup of tea. For example, Istanbul weekend tea from “spice empire” Türkiye is paired with spicy ginger, Casablanca weekend tea from “mint capital” Morocco is decorated with mint, and Mumbai weekend tea from India is home to Darjeeling tea. Although you can’t travel around the world physically, you can taste exotic tea at home and travel around the world in a cup, which is quite like “tongue takes me to travel around the world”. The tank body is printed with the regional symbol characteristics in the form of relief.
(6) Round handmade iced tea bag
Most of the tea on the market is brewed by hot water. For consumers who do not have a fixed habit of drinking tea and prefer to drink cold drinks in summer, tea is not the first choice. Therefore, its summer sales face certain challenges. In response to this, TWG Tea has developed a new product, the handmade iced tea series, which is specially designed for cold brewing tea. The tea is installed in a gold embossed white drawer-shaped gift box for easy extraction. Each box contains 7 tea bags, each of which can brew 1 liter of iced tea.
4. Brand extension: more than making tea
In order to open up a variety of income channels, strengthen the brand effect, increase the economic value of the intangible asset of the brand, and make the brand image more popular, many tea brands have made brand extension. A good brand extension can increase consumers’ trust in the brand and strengthen the brand’s own popularity and reputation. In addition to deepening the tea industry, TWG Tea has also started the business of tea related products, targeting everything consumers may find on the tea table. The brand extension of TWG Tea, on the basis of conforming to the brand tone, has added innovative elements to serve its own brand positioning and personality, and even added the icing on the cake to the brand. It has become a presence beyond tea in the minds of some consumers. In addition to the extension of tea accessories that tea brands usually engage in, TWG Tea also has its unique eyes on tea scented candles, tea delicacies, afternoon tea cakes, etc.
(1) Tea accessories
The tea accessories products of TWG Tea include tea pots, teapots, teacups, teaspoons, etc. Tea accessories and tea come down in one continuous line, with many styles and a wide range of choices for consumers.
Tea cans are divided according to series (Saturn, craftsman, classic), specification and color. The teapot is well designed and full of exotic customs: the Sahara gilded teapot based on the Egyptian legend, the Amir teapot integrated with the Middle East culture, and the Chinese style teapot rich in oriental elements. In addition to exaggerated teapots, consumers who pursue low-profile simplicity and modernity can still choose glass teapots, ceramic teapots, etc. Although the style is simple, it still has a sense of design. Even the teaspoons have their own merits. They are made of buffalo horn, silver plating, bamboo and other materials. Even inside the buffalo horn teaspoons, there are also differences in color and pattern.
In short, the tea accessories of TWG Tea, like its tea, make the best of all possible combinations and match the brand characteristics. Such control over details will attract consumers who recognize their values and enhance brand loyalty. Radiate consumers through the combination of tea and tea sets, cultivate consumers’ habits, and make consumers’ tea drinking life inseparable from TWG Tea.
(2) Tea scented candle
Using distillation technology, the symbolic TWG Tea aroma is blended with floral, fruity, rosin and spices to make TWG Tea scented candle. Tea and scented candles are also products with fragrance. Such cross-border combination is unexpected but reasonable. The addition of tea fragrance can neutralize the sweet and greasy taste of some aromatherapy candles on the market. When you don’t drink tea, you are also surrounded by the unique flavor of TWG Tea, which occupies the olfactory channel of consumers and evokes their memories of specific tea products.
(3) Tea snacks and afternoon tea refreshments
TWG Tea integrates the concept of “tea into food” into all kinds of snacks and desserts. The snacks launched are not the same mass products, but the ingredients extracted from the existing tea products and made into tea jelly, crisp cakes, chocolate bars, etc. TWG Tea can also attract people who do not like tea but are more interested in snacks, stimulate their desire to buy and make consumption decisions.
In addition to tea products and comfortable environment, there are also special afternoon tea and refreshments. TWG Tea Tea Macaron, while following the traditional method, also infuses the classic tea flavor into the Macaron, which is full of tea fragrance and endless aftertaste. Its sweetness is 30% lower than that of most Macarones on the market, which not only satisfies the appetite of beauty lovers, but also reduces the sense of guilt. According to the data, TWG Tea can sell 42 million TWG Tea-scented macarons every year, which shows its popularity.
To sum up, TWG Tea is based on its brand positioning of “Louis Vuitton in the tea industry”, constantly introducing the old and bringing forth the new for young people, and strives to achieve the utmost in the details of tea blending, packaging, tea extension products, etc. Going out of Singapore and looking around the world, TWG Tea has injected new strength into the world’s tea brands.