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Honest Tea: A Brand with a Soul
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are two distinct types of brands: those that have soul and those that don’t. It’s very apparent which brands belong in each group and each has its positives. Brands minus the soul tend to focus solely on gaining sales and doing anything to achieve this goal. This strategy makes sense for many brands and produces success for the business. But those brands that focus on the soul of the concept are measuring every tactic, plan, and initiative on a core idea. If it doesn’t match up, there’s no moving forward. All seems glorious in the soul brand world, but it’s tough. Tough to balance gaining success with also staying true to the soul of the brand. There are definitely trade-offs that happen when a brand has a soul, and many of these come in the form of fewer dollars and less success. But every once in a while a brand can determine just the perfect equation to be that brand with a strong soul and one that also is a national success. Honest Tea is one of these soulful and successful brands.

Here’s the thing; Honest Tea is now owned by big corporate giant Coca-Cola. Many times when a brand with soul is purchased by a larger brand, its original qualities start to change for the worse. But not for Honest Tea, because this brand has soul, does things a bit differently, and wasn’t willing to give up its core just to make more sales. Honest Tea is literally straddling the line that separates a brand with soul and one that focuses on increasing sales, and it’s working. Why? According to Co-Founder and CEO Seth Goldman, it’s because they believe in what they are doing. Sure the brand has made mistakes — buying a bottling plant, to name one — but the core idea was never one that was questioned. Honest Tea and its owners created a brand with soul that made working 24/7 doable and gaining successful sales a possibility.

What can other brands learn from Honest Tea? No matter what the brand idea happens to be, make sure it’s a brand with soul that employees and customers can stand behind. So when the time comes for a bigger brand to take over or for brand extensions to be created, there is a clear vision of how these work within the current framework. Adding on to a brand with soul is much easier than creating some soul for a brand that has existed for many years without one.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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