Some ready-made beverage brands have co-branded three to four times a month, and some have two or three co-branded at the same time

Why "Heytea" launched IP co-branded models in batches

The joint activities of tea brands have not only caused sales of related brands to soar, but also become a hot topic on social media. According to the statistics of the Beijing Youth Daily reporter, as of August, not only the joint activities of a number of ready-made beverage brand IP brands exceeded last year, but also made the joint activities break through the "dimensional wall", which can be described as "only unexpected, not unlinkable". Behind the brand co-branding "roll crazy" is the fierce competition in the ready-made tea market.


Milk tea can be sweet and casual Joint anime can also be co-branded post

Recently, Michelle Ice City and China Post's joint postal theme store has not yet opened, and hundreds of thousands of fans have "cloud supervisors" to supervise the progress of the decoration.

Judging from the decoration drawing, the exterior of the joint store does not adopt the iconic red color of Michelle Ice City, but the green tone of China Post. However, the image and brand name of the snow king of Michelle Ice City are still prominent, and the color tone of the store layout has been changed to green, and the overall look is integrated with the post office next to it. Relevant staff said that after the theme store opened normally, it provided food ordering services for milk tea and other products like ordinary stores.

It is reported that the store will open in mid-August this year, allowing netizens to play "terrier" again, and they have said that Michelle Ice City "successfully landed" and was admitted to the "national team" to become a "prepared" milk tea.

Coincidentally, at 8:11 on August 11, Heytea's official Weibo issued an announcement saying that due to the excessive traffic entering the Mini Program instantly, some users could not order or pay. On that day, it was the first day of the new products and peripheral launches of Heytea and Genshin. The reason why netizens placed orders "run-in" is because some peripheral "hands are slow". Just an hour after the event began, some netizens said that the Heytea shop near them showed that the related merchandise was "sold out". The last time Heytea's mini program was squeezed "down", it was a joint product launched with FENDI.


A number of brand co-branded or linkage activities have exceeded last year's total

In fact, not only Michelle Ice City and Heytea, but also new tea drinks, coffee and other track brands have "played to fly" in the past one or two years, and have rapidly transitioned from "no one has me" to the era of "people have me". Since last year, the number of tea co-branded drinks has shown a concentrated upward trend, and this year it has set off a wave of weekly changes in co-branding.

According to the incomplete statistics conducted by the Beiqing News reporter for Heytea, Naixue's tea, Luckin, Chabaidao, COCO and Michelle Ice City, up to now, the number of IP co-branding or linkage activities of the above brands this year has exceeded that of the whole of 2022.

Among them, Nai Xue's tea has officially announced as many as 20 co-branding/linkage activities so far, compared with less than 10 last year; Since the beginning of this year, Heytea has officially announced 19 co-branding/linkage activities, 5 more than last year; Luckin and Chabaidao's co-branded/linkage activities have reached double digits, one more than in the whole of last year; Furthermore. Michelle Ice City and Coco have made significant efforts in co-branding/linkage this year, and Michelle Ice City has soared from only 1 joint event last year to 12 this year.

According to the statistics of the Beiqing News reporter, some brands' co-branding/linkage activities were still once a month a year or two ago, and now they have developed into a high frequency of three to four times a month, and some brands even have two or three co-branded/linkage activities that overlap in time, and even eventually need to be carried out synchronously.

"Co-branding" has become the first competition venue for freshly made drinks

As the co-branded drama continues to unfold, ready-made beverage brands have turned their transformation from "adding to performance" to an integral part of their daily marketing activities. Joint/linkage cooperation has become one of the important strategies for brands to compete for consumers' "stomach and heart", and has become the first arena for brands to strive for traffic.

On IP, ready-made beverage brands are frequently "unexpected". For example, in addition to the anime, games, film and television dramas common to netizens, there are also "quite out of the loop" such as the trend designer Fujiwara Hiroshi, luxury brand FENDI, and even the local cultural and tourism bureau and the People's Literature Publishing House that "break the dimensional wall".

In terms of content, the co-branding/linkage of new tea and coffee brands is not the kind of packaging of drinks with IP, in addition to selling co-branded peripheral products, designing co-branded exclusive drink cups and related materials, some brands also choose to launch new flavored drinks for co-branding, such as last year's Luckin and Coconut Tree's co-branded coconut cloud latte, Heytea and Fujiwara Hiroshi's cool blackberry mulberry, etc.

In terms of form, major tea brands also pursue innovative integration in different fields. For example, Heytea launched the urban cultural tourism refrigerator sticker during this year's small long holiday, Nai Xue's tea and "Lingbud Journey" this year, the cooperation between Chabaidao and Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base, and so on.

Why have co-branded activities become part of the brand's daily marketing?

IP co-branding has always been able to achieve the effect of "1+1>1", which has been a sharp tool for corporate marketing activities in recent years, and has also brought real sales growth to ready-made beverage brands.

The major ready-made beverage brands have also tasted the sweetness of co-branding, resulting in a surge in related activities and becoming part of the brand's daily marketing. Behind this, the competition in the ready-made beverage market is intensifying.

According to Meituan's report, the market of ready-made tea drinks has never lacked entrants, new brands are expanding faster, and the market is saturated. After several years of rapid development, from the perspective of store development in the past three years, the growth rate of ready-made tea stores has slowed down.

For ready-made beverage brands, the pursuit of IP co-branding has both the pressure of market competition and the need for brand building. The market for the tea industry has entered a white-hot stage, and brands need to constantly innovate to attract consumers' attention. As a tipping point, IP co-branding can not only attract more consumers, but also inject new vitality into the brand at the cultural level.


IP co-branding is not a "panacea" that drives sales

The Beiqing News reporter noted that although IP co-branding can bring short-term heat and attention, the risks contained in it cannot be ignored, and improper operation will even cause the embarrassment of "overturning". At the end of 2022, Aunt Hushang posted a Weibo saying that she was co-branded with the game "Love of Light and Night". But before the event started, it encountered resistance from fans after the inappropriate speech of the Shanghai aunt staff spread on the Internet. This led to the release of the joint event for about three hours, and the game party quickly issued a statement to terminate the contract.

In addition, some ready-made beverage brands have also appeared co-branded "dependence", daily promotion can no longer attract customers to repurchase, product sales growth needs to be stimulated by co-branded activities to achieve. On the other hand, some consumers have some "aesthetic fatigue" with the frequent joint activities of ready-made beverage brands. "Unless the co-branding is a particularly popular brand, or a brand I particularly like, I won't buy it specifically." Some consumers told the Beiqing News reporter that not every joint activity can attract her.

On the other hand, analysts said that the frequent co-branding of the ready-made beverage market makes users expect that the number of co-branding is also "rising". In the future, if you want to "replicate" the previous successful joint publicity effect, it not only raises the threshold in the selection of cooperative brands, but also increases the difficulty of producing "explosive products". The market is "rolled" to the present, and if ready-made beverage brands want to rely on co-branding to "get out of the circle", they need to take a multi-pronged approach in terms of co-branding, co-branding frequency, co-branding depth, social popularity and word of mouth.

In fact, IP co-branding is not a "panacea" for marketing activities. The market also needs new marketing methods to meet the needs of consumers, especially young consumers.

In addition, IP co-branding cannot replace the quality and innovation of the product itself. No matter how popular the IP is, if the product quality is not up to par, it is difficult to maintain the reputation and loyalty of consumers for a long time.

This group of text/reporter Zhang Xin intern Li Yunyi

Co-ordinator/Yu Meiying

(Beijing Youth Daily)