If there’s one industry that requires some creativity, it’s the food and beverage industry. This is especially true for the international bubble tea franchise, Kung Fu Tea. Far beyond its unique packaging and branding, the company relies heavily on its innovativeness and ability to position itself competitively in the market. This is however a tricky challenge to conquer when it comes to finding the perfect solution to execute its mission. With refreshing beverages punched with flavor, the company’s content needed the same flavor, if not more.
Food & Beverage
Business & Marketing
Headquartered in New York City, Kung Fu Tea is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to bubble tea. With over 300 shops, the sensational brand expands from the US to Canada, and as far as Australia. While crafting aesthetically pleasing beverages is one part of their innovative mission, crafting drinks that taste as good as they look is what they’re best known for. Kung Fu Tea is especially popular for its youthful and fun in-store environments, grabbing the attention of all ages. On the other hand, the company aims for its brand to promote “fearlessness” and inspire creativity with every sip. Whether that’s through the flavorful ingredients in their fresh beverages or their playful branding, Kung Fu Tea certainly knows how to inspire.
A fresh menu calls for fresh ideas. Creativity was something Kung Fu Tea wasn’t going to continue business without. Marketing and PR Lead, Mai Shi, was responsible for securing a proper solution to ensure the company never went a day without a creative backup. Unfortunately, that day still came. After a main internal designer left, the urgent need to replace the position grew significantly. And even after trying design agencies and freelancing gigs, there was still something missing when it came to fulfilling projects and their needs.
“Design is very important to us. Having that lack all of a sudden made it quite significant,” – Mai Shi, Marketing and PR Lead at Kung Fu Tea
Despite the lack of a working team, the need for a fresh set of eyes became just as important as working hands. The only way this was possible was to outsource, but not with the standard agencies or freelancing marketplaces. As a leader in marketing, finding the right people for the job was a serious task that couldn’t be forgotten. Mai shares its significance by explaining that “having somebody who really understands the design process and our brand identity is crucial to us and me in my work.” This meant having skill sets that you can’t just expect out of one internal creative team member.
Kung Fu Tea came with a unique set of objectives to accomplish. Where other clients use Designity as their only creative solution, a company of this size called for two solutions. Beyond needing to fulfill the role of just one designer, there was also an underlying need to develop their own type of creative department. While hiring their own expansive in-house department was an option, it wasn’t a cheap one and certainly not one you could easily trial and error with. Designity’s 2-week trial is what initially attracted the company to the idea of using the solution as an add-on to their existing team.
“Besides having a fresh outside look from different people, the trial was a big factor to start working with Designity. It gave me and the team more confidence,” – Mai
The trial assured her marketing team was able to experience the possibilities with confidence in the quality and collaborative relationship. Although not the only working team, Designity became the better-fitting option to expand the brand’s horizon.
Months with Designity
Aside from the digital world the industry works hard to keep up with, packaging is another integral focus for food and beverage brands. With a growing menu of new offerings, the determination from every member to keep up is key. Creative Director, Lisa C. was particularly known for her confidence in working with package design, one of the first projects in Kung Fu Tea’s pipeline. Naturally, the brand’s hip and young spirit was an extra perk every creative director can enjoy working with. However, when it came to presenting new, innovative ideas, providing enough options was essential to determining which best fit. And for Kung Fu Tea, exploring all the possibilities was at the top of their list.
Lisa made sure to approach the company’s projects with a method that inspired new avenues to new ideas. “I first have an intense conversation with the client about their needs, expectations, goals, and timeline. When going into concepting, I implement these, but also present alternative variations based on my experience in the field,” she explains. This ensures that no idea gets left behind and no creativity goes to waste. After getting accustomed to the new collaborative relationship, Mai points out that having a creative director was indeed a great asset to Kung Fu Tea.
With today’s competitive landscape, finding fresh inspiration and content to share is a common struggle. Even with the most talented in-house teams, many companies find themselves desperate for a fresh set of eyes. This was especially true for Mai, who came to Designity “to get a fresh look from someone who has an outside view.” This particularly references the ability to gather new ideas that the internal team would otherwise not have come up with on their own.
Because of the collaboration’s seamless communication, projects and decisions were able to move just as fast as the ideas. With this particular unique situation, finding the balance between the opinions of both teams became somewhat of a challenge, but that was nothing Lisa couldn’t solve. Once projects were completed with Designity, they were handed to Kung Fu Tea’s internal team, who would tie up any loose ends before their launch. This was all done by keeping in close contact with their main designer, Paul, who kept in touch with Lisa on decisions. With weekly video calls scheduled and the open minds of both teams, there was nothing in their way.
Creativity is no linear journey and certainly isn’t something easily perfected. With the collaborative effort between Designity and Kung Fu Tea’s in-house team, reaching desired outcomes was significantly easier. Without the powerful duo, Mai shares that they would have hired another in-house designer or collaborated with freelancers, however, she also shares that both options would have been more time-consuming. “It is great to have this combination between our in-house designer who has all the insights into our company, and Designity, who gives us fresh ideas with a view from the outside,” says Mai. Although their marketing team already had working hands, the addition of Designity was able to assist in producing more content, more efficiently.
“In my opinion, Designity is a match for all natures of business and businesses of all sizes and needs. Especially if you have any sort of time pressure to get things started as soon as possible, the collaboration with Designity makes it very easy and simple. And of course, the trial adds an extra level of security.” – Mai Shi, Marketing and PR Lead at Kung Fu Tea
It’s not every day that companies utilize unique combinations of creative resources, but the results are far worth all the planning. Kung Fu Tea’s experience is just an example of how Designity isn’t just a solution for companies that don’t have any creative team at all, but even for those that do. Whether solo or as an addition, having multiple backups for every creative project ensures that a company never runs out of content. And in today’s competitive world, running out of content isn’t an option, but Designity is.