TBA_v00580_largeWhen it comes to consumer products, packaging can distinguish your brand from your competitors. Like most consumer products, there are many choices and lots of competition for space on the shelf in the marketplace. So, how does your product stand out?

We are big tea drinkers. For the past few years, one brand has become more and more popular at our house. It has also grown its number of facings and choices on the store shelf.

The Republic of Tea is a brand that has some important characteristics that brand builders can certainly learn from. They have mastered the art of packaging and distribution management – which we believe are the keys to any brand’s success, especially in consumer products.

 

Why the “Republic” rules:

1. Packaging. Most brands of tea bags package their products in a cardboard box in a relatively standard size that will fit in a typical 3-inch clearance kitchen drawer, and are usually covered with clear cellophane and contain tea bags separately wrapped in additional packaging to preserve freshness. This “standard” packaging gives them all a relatively uniform appearance in the store. But not the Republic of Tea! They really thought out their packaging from many different angles, all designed to distinguish their brand from the “run of the mill.”

Instead of a box, they chose a cylindrical tin that has a decidedly higher stature on the shelf, adding to its perceived value. They “own” this shape, making it easy for their consumers to identify their products. The tin is tactile, easy to grab, and fits well in your hand. It’s also solid and sturdy while other tea packaging is rather flimsy by comparison. They developed a relatively airtight reseal-able cap so they don’t have to wrap each individual tea bag. Finally, they designed the bags as round “wafers” which stack 50 tea bags neatly and compactly in their 5-inch tall, 2 ½-inch diameter cylindrical tins – communicating an even greater perception of value. And yes, the tins fit on their sides in that standard kitchen drawer or upright in a handsome fashion on your cabinet shelf.

2. Theme. They’re having fun! They’re a “republic,” so they have “citizens” and “ministers” with official looking seals, such as the “approval” by the “Minister of Leaves.”

They also communicate popular environmentally conscious messages on their wrap-around label, including, “sustainable ingredients” and a “recyclable and reusable container.”

Validation is added with food show awards. Finally, each type of tea has a healthful descriptor highlighted on the label. “Longevity Tea” is one of our new favorites.

3. Choices. They offer many unique blends that have extended their line and, more importantly, their shelf presence in the marketplace. Even more choices are offered through their website.

4. Value. Every aspect of their packaging and label exudes value queues. There is a “tax stamp” protection seal on the top, an infographic that walks you through the tea making process, and a caffeine content  chart. The color and texture choices on the label are indicative of an artful touch. Value is assured by the large seal that proclaims, “50 tea bags.”

The Republic of Tea has set the bar pretty high for the bagged tea business. They used their packaging to distinguish themselves and convey fun, value, and environmental awareness. We can learn a lot from their out-of-the-box thinking (literally). Oh, and we almost forgot, the teas have intense flavors and are quite delicious!