Ayers, who joined the company last June, has revamped the company's social media with a focus on creating unique content, including a fan co-creation campaign that led to the release of its Pomelo Pink Lemonade flavor.
"We really have a loyal fan base that has been drinking SYNERGY for many, many years, and are just really excited by everything that we do, whether it's a giveaway or a promotion or a regular post from GT. People are really excited and really respect the brand and that's where our flavor co-creation campaign came from. We see a lot of comments about people asking for specific flavors or asking to combine different flavors, and so where that campaign really [came from]."
GT's Living Foods hosted a campaign last year where consumers shared their flavor ideas for the next flavor of SYNGERY kombucha, with fans then voting on the top three flavors, which included Tropical Colada, Berry Hibiscus, and the winner, Pomelo Pink Lemonade, Ayers said.
A college freshman majoring in food science created the winning flavor that blends pomelo, yuzu, and jasmine flavors, which is currently exclusive to Sprouts, he added. In addition to enjoying the flavor combinations that came in, Ayers was impressed with how consumers were able to mimic the branding and the product names in their submissions.
“It wasn't just the flavor. It was the naming conventions in which people were gravitating towards and a lot of them were using a lot of the similar SNYERGY brand words like mystic mango or golden pineapple or guava goddess like they were repurposing some of our traditional naming conventions.”
How GT’s Living Foods hopes to leverage social media in the future
GT's Living Foods is "going to really continue to watch what's coming up, what people are commenting on our social media, and take that into consideration for new innovation," Ayers said.
GT’s Living Foods connected with consumers for the SYNGERGY 7 Gut Health Challenge social media campaign, which ran earlier this month, Ayers said. The challenge asked consumers to drink a SYNERGY kombucha and share what they experience on TikTok and Instagram, he said. While consumers often associate kombucha with gut-health benefits, they were encouraged to share all the benefits that they experienced, gut-related or otherwise, he added.
“There's still a lot of confusion around what gut health is. A lot of people just think it's good digestion, but that's just one part of it, which is why we wanted to do the challenge and not give people strict guidelines to talk about digestion or talk about bloating. It's like, here’s all the benefits you may experience.”
In addition to finding new ways to connect with fans, Ayers is taking a more practical approach to influencer marketing, focusing on individuals that actually believe in the brand and product.
“The influencer market is very oversaturated and has lost a lot of credibility since it had its first big wave, especially for CPG brands. When I look at influencers, I think the most important part of it is that they're actually a customer of ours. I only work with people who believe in our product and believe in what we're doing and our actual fans. A lot of companies just pay people to hold their product and say nice things on social, and I make sure that the people that are promoting our product truly believe in our product.”