Tea Pigs is actually a small-sounding brand owned by a mega company, Tata, who own Tetley. They saw a premium niche in the market and created a cooler, more sophisticated tea brand with flavours to match. The product is originated in India, the marketing from the UK. Imagine Innocent (as in the smoothie brand now owned by Coke) Tea or Pret a Manger Tea and you get where the Tea Pigs brand comes form.
Tea Pigs have done this very creatively and smartly. The packaging is very well designed with enough humour and vibrancy to create a massive point of difference with more traditional tea brands. They stand out on line (where I found them) and they stand out in retail. Their full flavours also stand out. Gone is the flat tea bag with a reputation for being the dust off a Sri Lankan tea plantation, Tea Pigs is all about full flavour/full leaf tea.
Tea Pigs worked the word of mouth marketing strategy to the max, knowing that brands like UK phone/web bank first direct and Pret a Manger when they first started were all about recommendation and personal advocates. They were empowered by fantastic customer satisfaction.
Satisfaction was so high that customer advocates were the best and most cost effective way to build their brand in the days before the web took this to a whole different ball game. By sending out sample packs and distributing through specialist stores Tea Pigs have built a premium funky tea brand.
Peppermint is apparently one of their most popular flavours along with traditional black tea and they have some very cool ones like lemon and ginger with real lemon and ginger in, liquorice and mint, chilli chai and chocolate flake tea along with strong flavoured traditional products.
Tea Pigs also have a superhero blend called Macha, which has 137 times the antioxidants of normal green tea and is very powerful for energy giving and health conscious consumers. It’s also another way to make the brand stand out.
These all add to the mix of the brand itself. Even if the funky original flavours are never used they position the brand as being more creative, adventurous and one that affluent consumers who want a fuller flavour tea and who are happy to pay for it will relate to and aspire too even if they never actually taste the flavours.
I love the marketing they do on line and in packaging with a design that carries a certain sense of humour. Tea Pigs have overcome the commoditisation of tea and cheapness of tea by creating an aspirational brand that Harvey Nichols now use in their restaurant for example. With a superior taste and a cool brand image they became the must have tea brand in all the cool circles.
Tea Pigs social media marketing however is terrible. Only 2,000 facebook fans and 17,000 twitter ones. They don’t really engage in either medium with any compelling content. Their social media plan should also really include Pinterest and Instagram given the visual and quirky nature of the brand and female targeting, but they do neither. They could really do with a social media guru to help them maximise their potential on line.
Interestingly Tea Pigs ran a “Real Tea” campaign and asked people to name and shame poor tea. In my book that would be all the Tetley Teas but as they are owned by the same parent company, I’m not sure how well that went down when Tetley make millions and Tea Pigs probably don’t. Very brave of them to do it and it fits the brand image perfectly. It also engaged people online and ensured some great content too.