In this episode, we meet Benjamin Witte from Recess.
Recess is a relaxation drink. Recess is spearheading the category, like how RedBull started the energy drink category.
In this episode, we discussed category creation, evolving from digitally native to retail, the DTC & omnichannel flywheel, and the trade-offs with DTC and retail.
Adaptogens and CBD are functional ingredients not to be confused with the relaxation category.
Many brands are focused on the ingredients, whereas Recess is focused on the broader category and, marketing the lifestyle choice and connecting with people emotionally.
Recess aims to be what Redbull is for energy drinks for the relaxation drink category. Five years ago, it was a bet on relaxation. And now the category is growing rapidly. New entrants are good for business and market the category as a whole.
The beverage industry is primarily focused on awareness marketing
New category marketing requires investment in awareness to educate the market
Recess used Facebook and Instagram to drive awareness and distribution (at a time when that was less common).
Starting online helps you validate your product before investing further vs. building for retail, failing, and having to retool
Beverage is unique, and there is no other category that gets as much distribution. It has to be available everywhere.
The one-two punch is telling the story well online and then being available everywhere. Doing that in a single geography makes a brand seem bigger than it is.
Recess is one of the top 5 fastest growing beverage brands on Amazon. Ben believes Amazon can be an engine for most consumer brands. If you can make it profitable, there is a massive scale. Any investment there helps grow the larger business
Amazon’s a flywheel because when people see the product in stores, they want to order it online. In that sense, being in a store is also great marketing.
This year is Recess’ first big year in retail, and went to all the major chains. On a small scale, they are testing sampling, field marketing, and events.
Regarding merchandising, Recess has a platform approach. Its beverages are in the functional beverage set, its powders are in the supplements set, and its mocktails are in the alcohol alternative set.
Recess is able to maintain its online business because of its high price point. It’s $2.99/can vs $.30/can for a La Croix. It also becomes a daily habit for people, and people subscribe to it, so the LTV is very high. Finally ranking high organically on Amazon brings the blended CAC down.
To Ben, Omnichannel is the combination of online and offline distribution branding and distribution.
Please let us know your thoughts about the episode!