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Topics include: Direct to consumer / E-commerce / Data & privacy / Martech

How Yorkshire Tea aims to inject ‘modernity and enthusiasm’ in the flagging black tea sector

Yorkshire Tea is on a very British mission: the 130 year-old brand is hoping to breathe new life in to the declining black tea marketplace and reposition the drink as a product to be celebrating and enjoyed rather than “put in a cupboard and forgotten about”.

The Taylors of Harrogate-owned tea brand has already been putting in the leg work as seen by its debut in to the top 10 in the YouGov Brand Index (which measures consumer sentiment). It comes after Yorkshire Tea decided to switch up its strategy and move away from the traditional trappings of the sector's advertising and the Yorkshire stereotypes it had played on in the past, that saw it ramp up its TV and shopper marketing.

“Some of the strategies that we are trying to influence consumers with is to look at everyday black tea with a bit of empathy,” Kevin Sinfield head of brand marketing at Taylors of Harrogate told The Drum.

“I guess we are up against some brands that have a lot of legacy and quite often we hear that those brands are bought by consumers because it’s what their parents have always bought. There’s not very much excitement in the world of standard black tea and it was kind of that apathy towards tea that we really wanted to address and tackle head on.”

Using that insight Yorkshire Tea came up with the 'Proper Brew' positioning in a bid to communicate the things that make the brand distinctively different. The word ‘brew’ is grounded in its northern roots while ‘proper’ aims to epitomise the values and belief in the way it operates. And it’s a tactic that seems to be working. In summer 2015 it launched a campaign to “challenge” perceptions of tea and push consumers to reconsider the choices they make in the supermarket aisle. In the 20 weeks since that campaign launched Yorkshire Tea has seen a 7 per cent uplift in sales while its market share is now averaging around 20 per cent in a sector that declined by 6 per cent.

Yorkshire Tea is currently third in the black tea sector behind PG Tips and Tetley and is currently snapping at the heels of the latter, with the aim of overtaking it during 2016.

“What we’ve also seen is our scores for best tasting tea and best quality taking a significant increase as well and we are incredibly happy with how this campaign is working and we are confident it’s going to help us over the next 12 months," Sinfield added.

One key strategy for 2016 is a renewed partnership with the England Cricket Team over the summer months. Yorkshire Tea will use the sport to leverage its “properness positioning” alongside a series of major launches that are currently under wraps.

Sinfield said: “One of the big challenges in the world of tea is that there are so many options out there not just in the black tea category, but fruit, green and herbal tea and also coffee and soft drinks. There is just so much more choice now than there used to be and how you keep tea relevant is really important for us.

“It’s just a great British drink that should be loved and celebrated rather than just put in the cupboard and forgotten about, so we’re trying to champion that all the time and we definitely see ourselves as a brand that can inject a bit of modernity and enthusiasm in the category.”

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