Taste Radio Insider Episode 37

The 'Most Vital Tool' For Brand-Building… And How To Use It

+ Laura & Steve Jakobsen, teaRIOT


Before teaRIOT established a multi-channel retail footprint that stretches across the U.S., and before its acceptance into the Chobani Incubator program, and before its recent $3 million Series A funding round, co-founders Laura and Steve Jakobsen were simply focused on building a brand.

“What does [teaRIOT] look like?,” Laura asked in an interview included in this episode. “How does it stand out on shelf? What are our consumers saying? How do we need to change it from the inside of the bottle to the outside of the bottle? We just stayed nimble for two years and made changes in our foundation to really tighten everything up.”

Throughout the process, teaRIOT, a brand of organic tea-based energy drinks, leaned heavily on social media to better understand its consumers and how they interacted with the brand and its products.

“[We] not only use social media to publish outward but also to listen and to interact and engage. We always focus on what consumers are doing with our product. If you look at our [Instagram content], it really portrays the vitality of the brand. But in some pictures we don’t even have the product. It’s really about how people are living, being energized on tea.”

That approach has been particularly effective on Instagram, where teaRIOT has gained over 121,000 followers since its launch in 2015.

As part of our interview, Laura and Steve expounded upon their approach to brand building and shared their perspective on the keys to a successful social marketing strategy. They also discussed their experience in the Chobani Incubator and lessons from the program, and explained why teaRIOT’s investors must also be consumers of the brand.

In this Episode

1:16: Cassava… On The Cusp — Just a few days away from NOSH and BevNET Live Summer 2019, the hosts reflected on the New Beverage Showdown 17 competition, munched on cassava-based snacks, sipped on a few innovative new beverages and shared a few recommendations for eating and drinking in New York City.
16:35: Interview: Laura and Steve Jakobsen, Co-Founders, teaRIOT — In an interview at teaRIOT headquarters in Venice, Calif., BevNET’s Mike Schneider spoke with Laura and Steve and engaged in a deep dive into teaRIOT’s branding, marketing and social media strategies. As part of our conversation, Laura explained her perspective that “influencers are kind of dead” and why brands should focus on aligning with “real, authentic people in your community.” They also discussed why it’s important to partner with investors whose lifestyles fit with that of the brand, and how their experience in the Chobani Incubator helped reinvigorate their passion for entrepreneurship and the brand.

Also Mentioned

YaYaYa, Sunwink, Siete Foods, Artisan Tropic, Starbucks, Tapitio, Simple Life Beverages, Kafina Energy, Red Ace, Vital Proteins, 5-hour Energy, Vive Organic, Kor Shots, teaRiot, Chobani