Stuck at a Crossroad? Three Pathways to a New Target Market

As consumer trends are constantly evolving, it’s important (now more than ever) for franchisors to ensure their business is evolving too. If you want your company to stay afloat, creative innovation and authenticity are key to connecting with your core audience and reaching new fans.

If you’re looking to attract a new target market, consider these three simple strategies to start:

Adapt your product

Remember, you’re not reinventing the wheel here—you’re modifying it. Therefore, if you want to stay true to your brand, don’t stray too far away from who you are and what you provide. Instead, take a deep dive into your principle products and services to see if they can be adjusted. If you want to attract a new group of consumers, try adapting one of the product lines so it’s more suitable for the demographic you’re trying to reach.

At Kona Ice, we recently debuted the Kona Krafted line, which is a unique twist on the classic shaved ice. The gourmet line features more than 20 mocktail, coffee and sour-flavored concoctions such as Blackberry Mojito, Caramel Macchiato and Mango Jalapeño. By honing in on our shaved-ice product and adapting our flavoring, our family-friendly brand now better attracts an adult demographic. Plus, our franchise partners can use the product to bring Kona Ice into new adult-centered events, including more concerts and festivals.

Unveil something new

This seems obvious, but it’s a strategy that is often overlooked or over-complicated. To further emphasize adaptation, rolling out a new product or service can be a simple brand initiative that piggybacks off of a staple item. Consider which products or service can be creatively transitioned into something that will open a door to a new group of consumers or allow the brand to expand into a fresh territory.

One iconic feature at Kona Ice is the Kona Entertainment Vehicle (a.k.a. KEV), a Hawaiian-themed truck and our primary source of transportation. While these shaved-ice trucks scream fun and excitement, we know the size isn’t ideal for every outdoor event or meeting. Thus, we took the truck and shrunk it down—way down into The Mini. With The Mini, our franchisees are able to offer the same entertaining and colorful experience in more venues and offer their services to an audience indoors. The alternative model not only allows Kona Ice to operate year-round in every market, its also allows us to reach a new group of consumers, including meeting planners and trade show coordinators.

Make community connections

Since adapting products or unveiling new services requires significant time and resources, you can also focus efforts on your connections with the community. Seek out local events that align with your brand’s personality and participate in seminars, festivals, conferences and conventions that will help showcase your company. It’s imperative to establish meaningful relationships with nearby businesses, schools and nonprofit groups, as these community groups can facilitate word of mouth referrals and potential partnerships.

At Kona Ice, community is at the core of everything we do. Across the board, our franchisees partner with schools, youth sports leagues, and other various local organizations in their neighborhoods to donate a portion of sales from events. Community giveback is such an important aspect of Kona Corporate, and the overwhelming majority of our franchise owners join the brand wanting to make a difference. They see the value in forming community partnerships, and have grown their businesses and created opportunities because of these efforts.

Breaking through to any consumer, whether it’s a loyal fan or newcomer, requires consistent effort. In the end, if you have a clear understanding of your brand, the marketing strategies don’t have to be over-complicated. Remember, taking an introspective approach when you want to reach a new target market can spark creative product ideas, and a strong community connection can carry you a long way.

Tony Lamb is the founder, president and CEO of Kona Ice. A true community ally renowned for facilitating endless fundraising options, Kona Ice has given more than $50 million back to neighborhood schools, organizations and teams since its inception in 2007. The brand’s iconic truck offers customers a one-of-a-kind experience, featuring the opportunity to create their own shaved ice on the self-serve Flavorwave™. Currently, there are more than 1,000 franchise units and over 500 ancillary units in 48 states.  

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