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The best new products solve really big problems. In the last few months, we've zeroed in on one gigantosaur, sustainability, and the puzzle of consumer adoption.
We chose an industry, beverages, that generates oceans of waste in the form of bottles and cans. Can we help the beverage industry see the pathway to a sustainable future?
In this newsletter and on LinkedIn, we'll be sharing our work to create a new sustainable beverage brand using our heat-testing methodology. Are you ready for a new way to drink? We are, too. Bottoms up!

PRETEND YOU'RE A BEVERAGE COMPANY

If you are a big beverage company, with a supply chain optimized for the production of bottles, you are facing a number of strategic challenges. There is a growing war on single-use plastics, and it’s starting to show up in your tax bill. Gen Z, who ought to be your future, is soda-averse. And pretty much everyone of any generation has a reusable water bottle.
If you are a small beverage company, you are probably licking your chops. There is an awful lot of room for innovation.
Whether you’re a big or small company, it’s a good time to understand what consumers really want when it comes to the next frontier of beverages.

THE DRINKABLE FUTURE

At S9, we believe the drinkable future can be delicious AND require fewer bottles and less shipping. Why? Fewer bottles and less shipping are already happening in categories like cleaning products because people care about sustainability.
Blueland and Grove Collaborative, for example, ship concentrated cleaning solutions that are mixed with water at home. As for pushing the flavor frontier, how about Coca-Cola launching flavors that taste like your dream or as if they were born in the metaverse?
What kind of beverage product is bottle-free and tasty? A tablet. A flavor-packed cube that dissolves in water or some other liquid to enhance the drinking experience.
We are not, of course, the first people to come up with the idea of a tablet or capsule as the basis for a beverage. There’s sports drinks like Nuun and Osmo. And something called Fizzies was apparently bigger than Kool-Aid for a time.
Making a version of a tablet beverage that addresses a certain level of sophistication is difficultothers have tried and failed. But someone needs to figure out how a tablet product can speak to someone with a wide-ranging palate. With that goal in mind, we are going to call this product Palet, at least as a working title.
Is the world ready for Palet? Is there demand for an upscale tablet-based beverage that allows for flavor experiences while reducing your environmental impact? Let’s find out.

CAN YOU TEST STRATEGY?

Can you test strategy? Conventional wisdom says noit’s too hard to mimic real-life conditions. Instead, you might do some surveys, and maybe run a pilot with hand-picked customers. At the end of the day, though, you just need to execute well, and the brilliance of the strategy will be realized. Right?
Wrong. At Spark, we test strategy.  Because it turns out that that big assumptionyou can’t access real-life conditionsis wrong. We are reinventing market research by using advertising to test big moves like new products or rebrands with existing or new audiences. The result: real-life data from real-life audiences.
Curious? Let us show you what we mean. Follow us on LinkedIn as we use our "heat-testing" process to find product-market fit for Palet, a sustainable new beverage concept.

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