We’ve all heard that consumers are now looking more closely at brands’ missions and values before they buy from them. Well, businesses are doing the same thing when establishing partnerships, and the new collaboration between INBLOOM, the DTC wellness brand from Kate Hudson, and Bluestone Lane, an Australian premium coffee roaster, café and lifestyle brand, is testament to this new reality.
With the new partnership, Bluestone Lane is offering an exclusive menu of plant-based smoothies across all 55+ Bluestone Lane cafés across the U.S., including major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia. The menu includes a combination of new blended concoctions that tout quirky names like “Berry Brekkie,” “PB & Raspberry,” and “Keen Greens.” Customers, or “locals” as Bluestone Lane calls them, can also add nutritional “boosts” of Beauty Aura marine collagen, Immune Defense protection powder or plant-based Clean Green Protein in Chocolate or Vanilla to their drinks.
“One of the key pillars for our awareness goals is to partner with like-minded brands and businesses to get product exposure in front of a new set of customers,” explained INBLOOM Co-founder and CEO Tushar Adya in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “But as far as why Bluestone over other potential partners, we’ve had the goal of developing an omnichannel distribution strategy and we wanted to focus on getting the product in front of people so they can try it and enjoy it. We have a high level of confidence that when people try it, they want to purchase it, so that’s why we wanted to partner with a likeminded company that has on-premises café locations.”
Harnessing the Collective Power of Customer Data
To drive further education around the partnership and ultimately boost traffic online and in cafés, INBLOOM and Bluestone Lane are taking a multi-pronged marketing approach. Because both companies intend on this being a long-term partnership, the goal is to collaborate on marketing campaigns and tactics that are mutually beneficial.
For example, locals who visit the Bluestone Lane website can purchase an exclusive product bundle featuring Bluestone Lane’s premium coffee beans, a Bluestone Lane branded thermos, Kate’s favorite INBLOOM Brain Flow single serve box, and an AirWhisk frother. The brands also will be collaborating on social media to build awareness as well as tapping influencers to go into locations and try products.
However, the most significant driver for the partnership’s success will be the Bluestone Lane loyalty program, which is digitally driven and extremely engaged.
“One of the powerful opportunities that we have with this is that Bluestone Lane is very much a tech-enabled business,” explained Andrew Stone, VP of Marketing for Bluestone Lane in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’ve got 700,000 people in our email database and more than 250,000 people have downloaded our app. So with Kate’s platform, the Bluestone database and ours, we are very much a powerhouse in communicating.”
Stone added that one of the most attractive things about this partnership was “our data and our tech-enabled consumer, and that’s a huge aspect that we’re going to leverage to the fullest extent.” In fact, approximately 90% of Bluestone Lane’s orders are now done digitally, which has been “transformative” for the business — and for this collaboration. “Although we’ll have collateral to draw people in in our locations, and there will be a handful of hero stores that will have INBLOOM products to sell, digital is very much the first focus.”
Bringing Brand Values to Life
The partnership with Bluestone Lane also will help INBLOOM follow through on its mission of getting products in front of customers in a more authentic and organic way. The budding DTC brand has only been in existence for approximately 18 months, and it has relied on partnerships as a way to break into new territories, acquire new customers and develop a more comprehensive omnichannel growth strategy.
“We want to meet [our customer] at the places where she wants to see us and wants to experience us,” Adya said. “Post-workout could be one part of it, but it’s all those other touch points where we can get in front of consumers, even from a social perspective. That’s another avenue of our plan in terms of partnerships. The aspiration is to be an omnichannel distributed brand.”
The exclusive menu also helps solidify Bluestone Lane’s position in the lives of its locals, who are seeking healthful yet delicious food and beverage options. Stone believes that INBLOOM will help validate the brand’s health and wellness focus and help create a highly differentiated product offering. Plus, “having Kate [Hudson] involved as well as great leadership like Tushar‘s made us feel confident in the brand, and I know our locals will really get a lot from it. It’s evolved from clean ingredients and that whole education piece, the importance of the nutritional value in the powder, is exceptional.”
But the relevance and value of the partnership goes far beyond brand awareness and product sales. Hudson, who has also successfully launched and been the brand face of the Fabletics brand over the years, has added INBLOOM to her portfolio to showcase her dedication to health and wellness. She revealed in a statement that she started INBLOOM to “help people understand that nutrition is the foundation of wellness, the gateway to looking and feeling your best.”