During 2020’s ‘Double 11’, China’s biggest online shopping festival held each year on November 11th, the sales of Saturnbird exceeded 100 million RMB, ranking it the TOP 1 in Tmall blends category and coffee category. Founded in 2015, the boutique coffee brand has reached immense success in just a few years, by becoming extremely popular among young consumers. How does Saturnbird bring culture attributes to its coffee and compete with the numerous instant coffee giants? With the 4 Facets, we look into the formula of the best-selling instant coffee in China.
Truth: A Coffee Brand Seeding from Social Media
Unlike other brands, Saturnbird did not start their coffee business in offline stores nor via e-commerce channels, but on Xiachufang – China’s most popular online recipe sharing community – and RED, the most popular lifestyle platform in China. During the early stage of the business, Saturnbird sent free samples to regular users of the two platforms, collected their comments, and then improved the ingredients and products based on user feedback. This is a part of the ‘Project Pilot’, a scheme that invites KOCs to share their knowledge and understanding of coffee with Saturnbird to help the brand improve the quality of the products. Through Project Pilot, Saturnbird creates a strong social media presence and build up a trusty long-term relationship with customers, making customers a part of the brand and products. Apart from creating its own content, Saturnbird builds the lifestyle and brand image through co-creating content with the users, letting users express “who I am, what kind of lifestyle I like” while using the brand and products.
Vision: Quality Coffee within Reach
What Saturnbird wants to create is not only a little coffee pod that is easy to carry with, but to bring quality coffee within reach. Saturnbird’s product can be easily melted in iced water or cold milk while keeping the taste of freshly brewed coffee. What Saturnbird offers perfectly solves the problem for those who want quality coffee but could not be bothered to make one themselves. The brand proposes “make a cup of really nice coffee in 3 seconds”, enabling people to enjoy a cup of coffee in any place, any time. Saturnbird delivers a new way of living, giving people the opportunity to experience the exciting life with coffee.
Universe: A Natural Lifestyle with Coffee
“A natural lifestyle with coffee” is what Saturnbird wants to bring to customers. With years of experience in the coffee industry and the huge amount of effort in R&D and design, Saturnbird launched the original instant cold-brew coffee, which can be dissolved in iced water or milk in just 3 seconds while keeping the original taste of coffee, bringing quality coffee in the easiest way. Saturnbird designs its package as a little pod in the shape of a coffee cup, and produce it with environmentally friendly materials. To reduce the impact on nature, Saturnbird launched “Project Return”, encouraging customers to return their empty coffee pods to collaborating cafes. Held twice a year, Project Return has collected thousands of the little pods, minimising the pollution to the environment. Saturnbird brings consumers a care-free lifestyle, enjoying the original taste of coffee without worrying about polluting nature.
Personality: A Smart Barista by Your Side
Fun, good-looking, easy to get along with, and most importantly, makes good coffee, just like the cool barista at your local cafe. For many consumers, Saturnbird creates emotional value in their life, bringing surprises and joy. The iconic cup-shape pod from Saturnbird has become more than a container, it offers unlimited possibilities to customers. Some use it as the new home for their Insta friendly succulents, while some parents turn it into a toy for their child, creating fun moments in different styles. Saturnbird is also keenly making co-branding campaigns with other brands, including FRITZ, whiko, and most recently, the famous tea brand Sexy Tea. Through collaboration with brands from different fields, Saturnbird brings quality coffee closer to the people, while inspiring them to make different choices in life.
Tastes good, dissolves fast, easy to carry, Saturnbird ticks all the boxes for a good instant coffee to go. What makes Saturnbird stands out from the fierce competition is that it inspires the customers to discover the endless possibilities in life, at the same time, encourages them to take action to protect nature. As the brand says:" We bring natural products to our customers, and give the concern back to nature through our environmental protection commitments and practices".