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Lemonati | LemOh Hard Setlzer & RTD Brand Development

Category: Case Studies

December 27, 2023 / Miles Marmo

Lemonati | LemOh Hard Setlzer & RTD Brand Development

The largest flavor house in the U.S. was looking to develop a beverage alcohol division of their business to put their work to the true test. Specializing in developing and manufacturing citrus flavors, organic flavors, beverage flavors, essential citrus oils, and many others across the food, beverage, and consumer space, they had the idea to take on the market themselves by controlling their supply chain.

  • Role

    Research

    Strategy

    Consulting

    Consumer Segmentation

    Product Development

    Creative Direction

    Creative Production

  • Deliverables

    RTD Product Development

    Parent Company Naming

    Brand Naming

    Marketing & Brand Strategy

    Branding

    Art Direction

    Photography

    CGI/Videography

    Shopper Marketing

    Digital Media

  • Client

    Lemonati

Squid

LemOh was brought on by a natural mutation of a lemon that developed in their groves. The lemon was naturally sweet, with almost no acidic level to it at all. That meant a naturally sweet flavoring without using sugar or sweeteners.

Our client asked us to help them develop a product for the U.S. market, and bring it to life.

Squid

The Challenge

Our client had only sat on the periphery of the beverage alcohol space. While they have created some of the most iconic flavors this country has seen, their understanding of the 3-tier system and consumer they wanted to engage with was minimal. The lemon was a starting point. Knowing we wanted to tap into the better for you space honed the project in directionally, but everything was on the table. We needed to define the right opportunity for this new business entity and define the ideal way to approach the market. With players like White Claw Hard Seltzer, Truly Hard Seltzer, High Noon and others, the marketplace was crowded with big names with huge market penetration. To compete with them we needed to find a unique value proposition for this brand. Nothing was defined. No structure set. It was on Agency Squid to lead the charge in developing this business and its products.

The Solution

Extensive category research and consumer segmentation work needed to be completed to give us an understanding of where to launch the brand. Originally, the hard seltzer category was targeted as the lemon juice provided the ability to compete in ABV but have lower calories than competitors. However, the hard seltzer category was beginning to soften and retailers/distributors were looking for solutions. The RTD challenge was finding margins in lower volume launches. Spirit-based RTD’s were the trend, but tax implications made profitability difficult without scale. We ended up building a brand platform with the flexibility to launch with both hard seltzers and RTD’s to test the market, with an added option to go the non-alcoholic route in the future once equity was built behind the brand. Aspirations to take the beverage market by storm drove the decision to test in key markets to understand adoption, and evolve the business from there.

Squid

RESEARCH

  • Competitors

    Competitors The hard seltzer and spirit based RTD segments were well established. Spirit based RTD’s have been around for years, with Brown Forman, Gallo, and many others having had brands that were largely ignored until recently. Hard seltzers saw a huge surge in popularity, only to stall out post-pandemic once consumers were looking for a more cocktail-forward experience. Our research went between the two categories to establish any similarities between the hypergrowth categories and what consumers were latching onto. This helped provide a picture of how competitors were addressing the beverage space and what they were doing to differentiate themselves.

  • Consumer Segmentation

    First, we looked at the consumers who were defining the hard seltzer and spirit based RTD categories to understand the similarities and differences. Past experience with both categories helped inform our segmentation breakouts for those who consume both product types and what they look for in each. Additionally we reviewed other industries that tied into the better for you alternatives that were continuing to take shape.

Squid

We knew this lemon would be at the heart of our products going forward, but the products that would live under this entity were unclear. We developed a plan to create a business entity that could scale with products as brand affinity was built. The 5-10 year goal was to create an entity that houses consumer goods products in the adult beverage and functional beverage spaces.

The brand needed to tie the lemon to the core of the business, but be flexible enough to adapt and evolve as new products came to market.

Squid
Squid

BRAND DEVELOPMENT

  • Naming

    Our parameters were specific: include lemon and make it “light hearted.” Given we had to name two entities, we started with the corporate brand. We wanted to develop something that addressed the lemon groves and their discovery of something naturally occurring in nature. Through a few different rounds we landed on “Lemonati” a play on the illuminati (given their vast lemon experience) and a combination of “lemon” and “nature.” For the product brand we wanted something that addressed the surprise consumers would experience as they tried a brand with a naturally sweet lemon. We landed on “LemOh” a tie to the naturally sweetened lemon and the “oh!” experience we were aiming for with our consumer.

  • Framework

    We began with defining the consumer opportunity, addressing a specific audience segmentation that consumed hard seltzers and spirit based RTD’s, and developed the brand framework to support that. After defining the business structure, we developed a mission, vision, values, and brand pyramid to guide Lemonati and their new brand, LemOh into the consumer landscape. Key messages and occasions were developed to give the sales and marketing team insight into who to position the brand with their respective audiences. The research conducted informed every step of this process, validating brand positioning at each step.

Squid

Once we had our brand framework in place, we began developing the visual identity and packaging for LemOh. The system developed was meant to bring in more whimsy and expression to support the surprise and delight of the name. The two worked together to set the brand apart and build expectations of a flavor-forward, naturally sweet product. This system then spanned both hard seltzers and spirit based RTDs, given each a unique look and feel but working together to build overall brand equity.

Squid

CAMPAIGN

  • Strategy

    The naturally sweet phenomenon was too good to be true, so we developed a campaign and visuals that brought a maximalist dream world to life, all centered around the lemon. Our approach addressed current trends our audience gravitated towards, while separating the product from the current hard seltzer and spirit-based RTD categories in the marketplace. This approach was anchored with the tagline “Get your Lem On” as a call to action, a play on the name, and something LemOh could own.

Squid

We grow lemons.

As farmers, we feel a responsibility for what we have been given as nature naturally innovates.

A low-acid and naturally sweet gift.

A lemon unlike any in the world.

It’s the foundation for us to innovate. To serve natural fruit essence to consumers who care – about their ingredients, where they come from, and how it makes them feel.

No need to contaminate with artificial sweeteners or Stevia.

To us, it’s natural. To take what’s been given to us…and share it with you.

Squid

EXECUTION

  • VIDEO

    We started concepting using AI to capture the aesthetic we were after. Once we defined the visual look we built out CGI assets that highlighted the lemon groves and mother nature’s evolution to educate and promote the new brand.

  • AI Generated Inspiration Image
  • AI Generated Inspiration Image

  • SOCIAL

    Content was developed to push boundaries but also be informative. We needed to educate a consumer on why this lemon was special and why they should care about this new drink, but do so in a manner that spoke directly to them.

  • RETAIL

    High impact placements were created with a focus on strong color usage. We simplified the message to drive brand conversion, tying the benefits closer to what consumers expect in a better for you beverage product.

A lemon unlike any other

We designed a mobile-first, responsive website to help consumers find products easily. The information was lightweight and functionally very simple in order to drive conversion on a product locator.

Squid
Squid

Results

  • At this time the brand has been put on pause as Lemonati purchased Mighty Swell, an Austin-based hard seltzer company. The purchase was to provide an easier path to retail with Lemoh through a proven brand that has national distribution. The brand is aiming to launch in 2024.

Squid