“What does your brand stand for? …and who cares?”
From where I’m sitting, I often see brands endeavor to be all things to all people (whether it’s intentional, or not) – only to be loved by no one. The problem, of course, is that this often leads to being perceived as the least authentic version of all those things. From our very first eBev conference back in 2013 – to the one coming up this fall (which at this point unites senior execs from nearly every major beverage company) – exploring the relationship between authenticity and Share of Heart has been at the core of our mission.
Today, we’re chatting with Josh Mohr, Vice President of Marketing for Revive Kombucha. Revive has steadily built an impassioned base of fans and advocates since 2010 – and we’re excited to learn more about how they’ve done it!
First off, thank you for having me here today – what a fun format for an interview.
We have a very real and organic founders story here at Revive and I would say our Brand is driven by the very real “lightbulb” moment our founder Sean Lovett had when his wife, Rebekah, handed him his first bottle of kombucha…which he nearly spit out. A few weeks later, after consuming more and more kombucha and realizing it made him feel better and he was able to kick a nasty soda habit, he set forth on a path of “creating the best tasting kombucha possible”. So, what does Revive stand for? I always like to say we just need to create more “Sean moments”. We are real and genuine about how we go about approaching consumers (whether in the field or online) and not trying to be something we aren’t. It’s like “here’s a great option that will help you live a little bit better lifestyle” and folks either take it or leave it. Simple as that. We do us. Our brand is different looking, sounding and just feels different than the rest in the category. And we like that. Our flavor is unique (we taste more like a soda), and we have a culture that doesn’t care about “fitting in” so we just do what we do best – which is “us”.
I’d be curious to hear how you’d describe the spirit of current/future Revive fans? Who are they, and what matters to them? For me, it appears they at a minimum they’re a conscious consumer (conscious of health, sustainability, fairness, etc.).
Totally. And we see this daily in our Instagram DMs. Simply put, our consumer cares. They care about what they put in their bodies, about what they share with their children, about their communities and our environment. We, unfortunately, had to shut down our bottle exchange program in 2017, yet for years we took back bottles from consumers, de-labeled them, sanitized them and put them back into accounts with fresh product. We would get around 80% of the bottles we sold back – which is insane and shows exactly how conscious our consumers are. Also, a lot of the people we interact with at events and online are folks that share that same attribute of being comfortable in their skin. It actually takes a lot to walk into a room with a bottle of kombucha in your hand and be confident/comfortable telling your friends why you’re drinking booch.
But more importantly – we have FUN. I don’t think enough brands know they can actually have fun nowadays. And fun isn’t about having models laughing and smiling in an Instagram post – it has to be real. That’s the only way it can connect with consumers on an emotional level. All of the folks you see in our content are just real people, some connection to the Brand one way or the other.
Now that we know who Revive is (and what you stand for), along with who your fans are (and what they care about)…Can you tell us what you’ve been doing to empower those fans around the things Revive stands for & they care about?
A couple of things come to mind here. First, we have phrases under our bottle caps that give our drinkers a high five. Pop the top off a Revive and you could get a “Stay Positive”, “Be You”, or “Take The Leap”. We have 98 phrases in total and have even let our fans write some of them.
We also respond to each person that reaches out on social. And sometimes even surprise them. Just today we’re sending a care package to a dorm room at UC-Santa Cruz as a couple of students shared a video of their empty dorm room fridge, which only had 1 Revive kombucha in it. 1:1 interactions matter, and if we can put a smile on a face hopefully that person shares our story, and we get our fans talking about Revive on our behalf.
Final thing I’ll add here is that we work with a lot of folks in the maker and vegan communities. There’s an amazing human in LA right now named LaRayia who just opened LaRayia’s Bodega in Westlake LA where she sells organic and fresh meals at super affordable prices. We donate kombucha to her so she can be a beacon of hope and fight the “food desert” of the neighborhood. LaRayia is doing good for her community, so it’s as simple as finding a way to help her – anyway we can – to reach her goals.
I look at your social platforms and see quite an engaged following. Your Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/revivekombucha/) is a beautiful representation of your brand and is netting several hundred interactions per post. And you’ve covered your B’s quite nicely (Boards, Bikes, Beaches, Brews, and of course, your Brand). What are some of the things you’re thinking about when sharing in the social sphere – and in particular, I’m curious what guidelines you have in place to ensure such clear brand consistency?
Thank you! I have a lot of fun with the challenge of personifying our brand on Instagram. We’ve tripled our following in the past year, and although our total following is “small” compared to the big dogs in the category all that means is that we can have more fun. We have a Social Playbook and a very incredible Brand Book that guides our voice, vibe, look & feel. We have content buckets we want to fill..all that jazz. Yet it all comes down to relationships and people. We found our groove once we began working with a phenomenal photographer and all-around great person Evan Johnson. 95% of the images you see us post are from him, and highly integrated with our field marketing team to make sure our brand verticals are covered off from an editorial standpoint. David Green, Rich Bertrand and Tanner Reyes are our all-stars in the field who have specific communities to play within, and all we do online is show the fun we’re having. I am a big fan of showing your employees as well – our most engaged posts are always ones that feature our team. And finally, although Instagram changes their darn algorithms all the time we try not to worry about anything other than just showing who we are, and having fun. That California lifestyle…
Finally, we love to finish by looking ahead. As the Kombucha category continues to broaden, do you envision a shift or broadening in consumer taste preferences? You’ve always been at the forefront of Kombucha taste innovation, so we’re looking forward to your thoughts here.
Thank you, we are definitely always looking at how we can bring more consumers into the kombucha category (As I’m sure every kombucha brand is doing). We’ve done a lot of consumer research over the past 18 months and really what we’ve found is nothing you couldn’t assume: kombucha is a funny word, people don’t know what it is, and if they’ve heard anything (or tried it) the vinegary taste is a turnoff. Also, there’s the sugar. Although Revive has anywhere from .8-1g of organic cane sugar per ounce, 8-12g per bottle, that’s still a lot to the mainstream consumer. We’re in the midst of rolling out a new line, Revive Sparkling Kombucha, which only has 5g of organic sugar and 20 calories per can. With billions of probiotics. Oh, and it’s ambient and in a can so you can take it anywhere you go (camping, hiking, to the beach, etc.). This new line has tested very well with non-kombucha consumers, the “kombucha curious” so we like to say, and we’re excited it’s finally in the hands of folks here in the NorCal area.