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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Spilling the tea on sampling

Phil Toms discusses a recent sampling campaign that helped Dorset Tea elevate brand awareness and performance

In the world of FMCG, we often see brands, from drinks to snacks and beyond, utilising sampling as a marketing tactic – and for good reason; it is well documented the positive effect sampling has on brand health metrics.

In fact, a recent study into the impact of sampling on ‘fame, feeling and fluency’ found that it has a positive impact on unaided awareness, to the effect of around 145 – 183 percent increase. The same study found that sampling also increased positive feeling towards a brand by 147 percent, and increased distinctiveness by 53 percent.

Dorset Tea, working with partner agency, GottaBe! Marketing, utilised several different sampling settings to maximise these opportunities, place the brand in a relevant setting, and drive purchase intent through sampling.

Why sample?

As with many other grocery brands, the objectives of Dorset Tea’s sampling campaigns are increased awareness, driving purchase through trial and creating memorable, positive brand experience to improve brand equity.

Tea is a habitual, versatile product by nature, and that means the sampling style is easily adapted, depending on the specific aim of any given marketing campaign. To gather insight – and possibly to influence and change purchasing behaviour – marketers need to lower the barrier to purchase. Sampling offers the perfect vehicle to help generate a brand trial. Experience suggests that tea is a product which delivers a high quality experiential sampling activation, which does often result in future purchases. Therefore, depending on the time of year and brand objective, we flex the approach we take for Dorset Tea.

There’s a wide range of sampling solutions available to grocery clients which allows them to create a campaign which is fit for purpose and directly plays into the business development needs of a brand. Through a strategic set up, brand and marketing partner are able to work closely to identify the most effective mechanism, setting, and experience for that brand.

When’s the right moment?

As many brand and marketing professionals are already aware, to help elevate the brand you must identify the right sampling ‘moments’ in which to drive product trial. If we look at the metrics of ‘fame’ and ‘feeling’ in the context of moments, brands need to consider where they can reach large numbers of those within target demographics, as well as where the brand can be placed, in a relevant setting, to positively affect brand sentiment.

So in the case of Dorset Tea, the versatility of the product allowed the team to be dynamic with the sampling setting. For instance, with wet sampling, the marketing team opted for events and shows which aligned with Dorset Tea’s core brand identity – small, locally focused shows. The next step is to ensure that attendees of these events and shows are provided with a sampling experience that is centred around the brand values to create positive brand sentiment.

For dry sampling on the other hand, the team was able to deliver a higher volume of products, allowing consumers to enjoy the product in their own time, space and comfort. This tends to drive purchasing by lowering the barriers to trial – people who are time-poor or don’t have the inclination to engage with a wet sampling scheme are also given access to the product.

Sampling in an office setting was a brand new concept for Dorset Tea, which was introduced by the marketing team at GottaBe! We actually felt the office sampling solution was the perfect mechanic for Dorset Tea, after all, who hasn’t sat at their desk craving a cuppa? But more to the point, it was a new way to utilise sampling to drive consumer insights, as well as trial – people are more inclined to enthusiastically participate in an office setting than when they’re just pulled off the street. Through this campaign, the team was able to drive actionable awareness and perception insight for Dorset Tea.

Put the kettle on! It’s results time

Tea is firmly at the heart of what it means to be British, and Dorset Tea passionately believes that its ‘cups of sunshine’ are one of the more distinctive and brilliant ranges of tea available.

Tea remains one of the most competitive categories in the UK, so securing growth can be challenging. While Dorset Tea is incredibly proud of its origin and quality, making sure that story gets told continually is an ongoing process – and one that is crucial to help support the brand’s growth ambitions. Through the sampling work we’ve done, new people discover us every single day. As Dorset Tea begins a bigger journey nationally, we continue to rely upon our marketing partners and sampling campaigns to help deliver success. 

About Dorset Tea

Dorset Tea is part of the Spicers Group, which has been crafting tea blends since 1934. The company founder, Keith Spicer, started blending tea from his home in Bournemouth and distributing it locally by bicycle! Today, the business is headquartered in Ferndown and is responsible for manufacturing a portfolio of well-loved brands. Dorset Tea was launched in 2009 and comprises a mix of award-winning black, fruit and herbal teas.

The lead variant is known as ‘Sunshine Blend’ and has strong distribution across supermarkets, cafés, restaurants and farm shops, both regionally and further afield. It is also available online. Its marketing partner GottaBe! is an award-winning agency, providing solutions for client challenges. Its team has been working with FMCG clients for over 15 years to deliver sampling activations that drive results.

* Phil Toms is Head Of Marketing at Dorset Tea


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