Swapping the security of a global brand for the thrill of taking your own concept to market is a daunting prospect. Once you have a commercially viable idea, which research suggests might actually appeal to you target consumer, the task is to gain cut-through in a competitive market with a brand new product and then get it onto your potential customers’ radars. Easy right?
Last year, marketer turned entrepreneur, Pollyanna Ward, decided to take the skills she had learnt working in digital and social at global FMCG brands and apply it to her own business.
Founded in August, One Click Coffee offers subscribers two 250g bags of coffee from two different roasters, alongside a free gift and a newspaper featuring interviews with coffee companies for £25 a month. The first subscription box was sent out in January, including coffee from roasters, one based in Nottingham and one London, the newspaper and a cafetière.
A passionate coffee lover herself, Ward saw a gap in the market for a subscription service that enabled coffee drinkers to try coffee from different roasters across the UK and Europe, without having to leave their home.
The decision to start One Click Coffee was informed by her experience working at confectionery giant Mondelēz. She joined the company in 2015 as digital and social media manager responsible for all the digital activity across the UK biscuit category, including Oreo and Belvita. Ward handled digital partnerships with brands such as Buzzfeed and Asos, as well as managing agency relationships and working on the development of the online creative.
Two years into the role she was approached by a former Mondelēz contact via LinkedIn about a role at Dutch dairy company Friesland Campina, a European position that felt like a natural progression. Hired as global social media strategist, Ward was part of an internal test – known as ‘The Milk-ubator’ – which was intended to try out new concepts and products.
Based in Amsterdam during the week, Ward worked on the Vifit Sport brand of gels, protein bars and shakes, selling online direct-to-consumer. She describes the company as having a small business mindset, with the backing and funding of a large FMCG. This approach gave the Vifit Sport team the freedom to try different routes to market, such as linking up with triathlon teams and partnering with the Tour de France and Tour of Britain.
“It was really interesting to go into the sporting world and take my FMCG learnings and apply them to a business where the budgets weren’t as big,” Ward explains.
“It was more about learning the targeting side of things, email campaigns and working with influencers a lot more one-on-one. So, identifying and working with them as brand ambassadors instead from a bigger FMCG perspective where you work with a PR agency and send out loads of products and see what bites. It was more about building relationships.”
When working in a larger, offline focused FMCG business like Mondelēz Ward says she was used to relying on brand uplift and offline sales studies, so she enjoyed being able to track in real time the effect of posting on Facebook or serving a Google ad on consumers.
During this time Ward would buy coffee on her travels across the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, but then discovered she couldn’t order the same coffee once she got back to the UK unless she was a business.
“I thought, I’m learning all the skills now about what an ecommerce website should look like and how many touchpoints the customer has to go through and what sort of information they are looking for,…