As coffee culture heats up in China, an Australia-based dairy company was looking for novel ways to engage a growing segment of baristas and aficionados. Initially, they partnered with The Silk Initiative to redesign brand packaging, but this led to insights useful across a range of research and development areas.


To engage baristas, we went right to the source. Through first-hand and online focus group discussions, TSI identified not only current trends in the coffee space, but where it is headed over the next several years. By tapping the market’s most engaged community – those that use dairy products everyday – we were able to fast track development. What resulted was a three package mock-up that we then tested in stores throughout Shanghai. These package tests helped confirm focus group interview insights through semiotic analysis.


What we found was that colour and other semiotics are critical to impressions of a product. This goes down to a highly granular level, including the shade of greens on packaging and the use of symbols versus text. For baristas in China’s urban areas, coffee is both a passion and an art form. We’re not talking about mass-produced,

over-roasted drip coffee here. When precision, experience, and reputation are on the line, every element to help gain a competitive advantage should be taken into consideration.

Engaging Real KOLs for Winning Insights


Number 9, Lane 584 Middle Huaihai Rd, Huangpu District, Shanghai. PRC
Tel: (+86) 21 53098757

North America

Tom Sommers
Tel: (+1) 513 607 8136

Hong Kong
Washington, D.C.
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