Yakult shows how breaking with tradition can attract new consumer segments

Long-established brands like Yakult have demonstrated how to win consumer attention by being open-minded during product development, accommodative to changing consumer trends and bold enough to take risks in breaking brand tradition, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report ‘Success Case Study: Everyday Yakult Probiotic Dairy Drink’ draws attention to how open-mindedness has paid off for an established probiotic drink brand Yakult in Japan. Generally, food and drink products that are good for digestion and gut health are appealing to Japanese consumers; 66% of them find these products very or somewhat appealing. However, the main users of Yakult drinks are over 60, and the brand has been looking to expand its customer range. Therefore, the brand needed to develop a new product that appeals to young consumers, particularly in the age group of 30s to 50s.

Mitsue Konishi, Consumer Markets Analyst at GlobalData, said: “In late 2015, the brand launched Everyday Yakult with new attributes, such as a high-vitamin and zero-fat formulation, a new pack design, and selective distribution in convenience stores only. Particularly employing a new packaging and selecting convenience stores as its only distribution channel was bold decisions for the brand.”

Yakult has been featuring its iconic curved shaped bottles for decades, but Everyday Yakult uses a tall and slightly bigger size bottle than the original, which has broken the brand tradition. Also, the company was previously reluctant to distribute its products via convenience stores because it had traditionally been prejudiced against the business models of convenience stores.

However, its open-minded approach on the Everyday Yakult has made the product cater to multiple consumers trends in the country, including health and wellness, and convenience, and has paid off by making the product successfully appeal as well as accessible to the target audience.

Konishi added: “Developing a product by identifying the target audience’s needs and lifestyles fuels success. It is essential to research the target audience’s lifestyles, and select the right distribution channel for the product to maximise its ability to reach them. Firms also need to be open-minded in product development and willing to consider breaking brand traditions, such as packaging design and promotional style, to appeal to a new audience.”

Information based on GlobalData’s report: Success Case Study: Everyday Yakult Probiotic Dairy Drink

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