Thankyou Group is gearing up to enter a new category later this year, which co-founder, Daniel Flynn, says will be a game changer for the growing social enterprise and Australian FMCG market.
The company began as Thankyou Water in 2008, selling bottled water and giving a slice of its profits to developing international communities.
Since then, the company has rebranded to Thankyou Group and has rolled out a food line, including muesli, and launched a body care range encompassing face and body washes, sanitisers, and soap bars.
Flynn told Inside FMCG that Thankyou will launch in a new category this year and plans to make a “big mark in it”, with between 10 and 15 products to be released.
“We think this new category that we jump into will be a real game changer for us and for the whole Thankyou range,” Flynn said.
He said that while some consumers won’t be surprised at its next venture, which he is unable to give further details on, he has called it a “bold move” for the company.
“We’re doing a lot of work around product development and market testing. We realised very quickly that unless our products are as good, if not better than competitors, then we won’t last. I think the real shift that’s happened recently is that we’ve really focused on being a good product company. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us from an awareness and branding perspective, but everyday more people are finding out about us,” Flynn said.
“We exist for cause and it is all about changing the world, but we still have to sell products. These new products we’re bringing out, like our existing ones, have to stand out. We have to add value and people have got to love them.”
In 2013, Thankyou Group made headlines after a much publicised social media campaign that won over Coles supermarket to stock its food range. Over the past 12 months, Flynn says Thankyou has seen significant growth in supermarket sales. Its range has expanded from 11 to 23 products, with supermarket sales accounting for around two thirds of total sales.
Thankyou has also launched its body range at Chemmart Pharmacy, doubling sales expectations.
“We seem to be getting that in a lot of places, our products are exceeding expectations and getting really strong results. We’re looking at the sales data and we have products that are number one and number two in the whole category, like our handwash.”
Despite Thankyou Group’s social media presence, the company is yet to launch an online store, however, Flynn says it is an option the company is considering longer term.
“A lot of people think that would be the first thing we did [online] because they think digital has been such a big part of our strategy. We’ve talked about an online store many times but I think the key to any organisation’s success is around focus so we’ve had to focus on what we’re doing and not do everything. The retail space is where we’re playing in the moment, longer term that may change but we need to get that right and focus on that before we build other channels.”
Track your impact
Unique to Thankyou’s offering is its web-based app, Track Your Impact. The launch of Thankyou’s bottled water also coincided with the soft launch of Track Your Impact, which has since rolled out across all of its products.
Every Thankyou product has its own unique tracker code which users enter into the app, either online or on a smartphone. Once entered, the code connects the user with the GPS coordinates of the project the money collected from their purchase is funding.
“The concept is that this is about more than a product. There’s the physical product but then you get this experience to see where your money is actually going and the impact you’re actually making.
“If you sign up, six to 12 months later, we’ll send you a photo of a final field report so it’s a way of full circle reporting and it makes the product more than just product it comes alive and it’s more than just a claim to say ‘buy this and you’ll change the world’. Long term in the FMCG space it’s products that offer more than just the product that are going to last.”