When La Kaffa moved to terminate Loob Holding’s as the master franchisee of Chatime in Malaysia, the company’s CEO Bryan Loo and his team knew that the next thing they needed to do was to create a new brand, and they needed to do it fast.
But it’s not as simple as plucking a name from the air. Not only does the new name have to signify a fresh start for the company, the Loob team wanted a name that’s international-friendly and able to stir conversations in the market.
Over 300 names were pondered over, and eventually, Loo and his team decided on a name that they believe represent the original spirit of the brand best: Tealive.
“It’s because we’ve been telling the world that “tea is our life”. We’ve come to a point where we can say tea is who we are, tea is what we stand for, and hence, Tealive,” Loo said in an interview with SAYS.
Loo also said that “Tealive” stood out because like “Chatime”, the name can be pronounced in a few different ways.
“You can call it “tea live” (pronounced like “leaf”), you can call it “tea live” (“life”), and most importantly, you can also see it as “tea alive”,” he said.
“So that’s the underlying meaning of our new brand. We’re telling people that we’re moving on. We’re telling them that we’re not only alive after everything that’s happened, but we’ve managed to pull through, we’re stronger than ever, and we’re not afraid of changes.”
While there is much work to be done to prepare for Tealive’s official launch next month, Loob intends to make the transition from Chatime to Tealive as effortless as possible for their customers. For example, the Thirstea cards.
Loo assures loyalty customers that the Chatime Thirstea cards will be accepted at new Tealive outlets, with the prepaid and loyalty points still intact.
“At the same time, starting from 1 March, we will be swapping the old Thirstea cards with new ones, branded under Tealive,” Loo said, adding that they expect to take two months to complete the swap.
As for the menu, Chatime fans can rest assured that their favourite drinks will still be made available. In fact, the menu will remain largely similar, with small tweaks and quality upgrades to the variety of drinks and toppings.
You can expect to see Chatime’s best-selling drinks to maintain its spots in Tealive’s menu boards, while the least popular ones will no longer be included. Plus, you might see some new items too!
Loo disclosed that one of the new drinks he’s most excited about is the “very fragrant” Signature Brown Sugar Milk Tea. Customers can also expect to see some significant upgrades to the drinks, such as the addition of pulp to the fruit-inspired drinks, chia seeds, and even pearls with green beans in them.
“We’ve always strived to think out-of-the-box over the years, but we were bound by a lot of constraints (by Chatime). Now that we have more freedom with our own brand, you’ll be seeing crazier and more exciting innovation and partnerships in the near future,” he added.
What will Tealive focus on next?
Moving forward, the company aims to focus on delivering and continuing their vision to modernise and cultivate tea-drinking culture among Malaysians and soon, to the world. “The company is dedicating most of its efforts into delivering a great job with the new brand. We aim to train our people better, to deliver better products, better quality, and better customer service,” Loo explained.
Loob is also looking into expanding regionally later this year with the new brand, with even broader plans to evolve Tealife beyond tea and beverages.
“This year, we will continue to pursue our expansion plans to deliver 250 outlets by 2018. Regional expansion has always been in the picture, and we plan to start doing so by the third quarter,” Loo said, adding that the company currently has its eye on Vietnam.
Loo also believes that Tealive has the potential to be expanded into a broader scope of products.
“We don’t want to limit ourselves to just drinks in the future. Tealife could be embedded in various lifestyle products, like Tealive furniture or Tealive clothing. That’s our vision for the brand,” he said.
This article was originally written by Samantha Khor for SAYS.