By Anais Dewitte
Dear Sodaholic reader, today I wanted to talk about a brand that means a lot to me: Jones Soda Co.
Jones Soda Co is a Canadian brand which was created in 1996 and immediately positioned itself as a young eccentric company playing in the New Age Beverage category. It is clearly positioned as an alternative to the traditional soda brands by placing the customers at the core of their brand DNA. In terms of products features, their 6 classical flavours of soda are: Strawberry Lime, Orange&Cream, Cream Soda, Green Apple, Berry Lemonade and Root Beer. This mix is also quite original even if we’ll see later on that it’s not the most original part of the company. They offer some even more unique tastes such as Blue Bubblegum, Fufu berry and Poutine soda (brand new for our Canadian friends). The brand portfolio is made of a pure soda line, a zero line and a natural line. They’ve tried all sorts of ephemeral products such as Chocolate Fudge, D’Peach Mode or Sugar Free Ginger Ale.
Before looking at the special brand’s community let’s talk about the brand history and storyline. At the beginning the founder, Peter Van Stolk was only a distributor of beverages. In 1994, he decided that he wanted to build his own brand starting with bottled water named WAZU. Jones Soda Co was born two years later. Since the very beginning, Van Stolk was attached to the emotional part of his product saying that “the world doesn’t need another soda”. To prove his uniqueness on the market, he has created an unconventional marketing strategy selling his bottle with a very distinctive and personal packaging such as flames and distributing it in non-conventional locations: snowboarding shops, tattoos & piercing shops. Still in 2016, you can’t find Jones Soda everywhere even if they are working on building a greater distribution network. Fortunately, you can buy Jones Soda online.
In 1999, Peter Van Stolk went even further by offering the customers the possibility to customise their bottles with their own pictures directly from their website. Their logo for this service is “Your photos, your soda, your brand”. The photo on the bottles are submitted by the customers. Moreover they can also submit quotes that appear on each bottle.
I think that the company Jones Soda Co was a pioneer because personalisation was quite rare at the time, at least in the soda industry. Indeed, the share a coke campaign was released in Australia in 2012 and worldwide in 2014. So this is a clear competitive advantage for them, a
s there is a genuine brand consistency in delivering a one of a kind service.
As you understood, the brand has its own tone and unique personality. For example when you go on their website you have the possibility to buy some products and instead of describing the flavours here’s what they say about how to consume it: “We strongly encourage you to engage your tongue-sense to fully experience the flavor of the an arch of colors formed in the sky caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere”. I just couldn’t rephrase that because it is so singular for a brand to communicate in this way that I didn’t want to undermine the message’s strenght.
They also have a strong emotional impact by describing themselves as the “little guy” of soda and appearing as passionate people: it gives them a more human dimension than the big corporations and people can more relate to it.
In their adds they show how much Jones Soda is about relationships, sharing and living the moments of our life with this brand (Click here to watch).
And indeed, the Jones Soda community is gathered around the brand’s website. Indeed, consumers participate in the process of product innovation and improvement because regularly, they are asked to rate the products and suggest new flavours. They even give ideas for the advertisement campaigns. You may think that the act of sharing pictures on a website is not enough to form a community. However, they can all communicate their personal experience with the brand and also with the other consumers through commenting pictures of the others but also by voting to select the best shared pictures that will appear on the bottles. So everyone has its word in the decision process. Jones Soda also uses an interactive map where customers can see if there are any members of the community around them so they have the possibility to meet.
If you want to connect with them or just learn more about it I strongly recommend you visit their website: https://www.jonessoda.com