Brand Review: Robinson’s

Born at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in 1935, the Robinson’s company has provided generations of children and adults with fruit squash and juices. For decades the company dominated the squash market, but now supermarkets have developed similar products for extremely low prices. We wanted to find out how the public perceived the Robinson’s brand and whether they thought their products still had an edge over those offered by their competitors.

Customer experience

Everyone in the panel knew about the brand and the products they sell, with several members even admitting that they were not aware of any specific competing brands. Many people were also aware of the brand’s long-standing relationship with the Wimbledon tournament, which they thought constituted much of the brand identity. Robinson’s products featured in some people’s childhood memories, who claimed they had been raised on the products and were now giving them to their own children.

‘It’s the benchmark for quality squash products and the first and maybe the only brand that comes to mind in that market’(Jamie, 27, Solihull)

‘It’s an iconic brand, a family brand and a brand that I trust’ (Tanya, 36, Norwich)

‘It’s all I’ve ever used since I was a child, it’s all my nan ever used and all my dad ever used’ (Tanya, 26, Willenhall)

‘Robinson’s has been around longer than me and I’ve been totally aware of it since my childhood’ (Darren, 43, Camborne)

For our panel, Robinson’s fruit juices had rocketed to the top spot in the market on account of their deliciously distinct flavour. Regular juices just couldn’t tickle tastebuds in quite the same way!

‘Their Fruit Shoot has been highly successful – one of the hits of the decade’ (Jon, 69, Dumfries)

‘I’ve occasionally bought supermarkets own brand and the kids always can tell the difference between that and Robinson’s’ (Christine, 50, Crewe)

Moreover, customers felt the company produced a wide range of products, from their traditional Lemon and Barley and Orange drinks to the new Robinson’s Squashed products. Robinson’s provided refreshment for customers whether they were at home, at work or on-the-go.

‘I like the Squashed pouches because their sustainable’ (Tom, 26, Croydon)

How can Robinson’s improve their market offering?

Yet, whilst the majority of the panel championed the brand, there were several members of the panel who had their reservations about the Robinson’s products. These respondents were concerned about the amount of sugar and artificial sweeteners that were in the drinks. They discussed how the sugar in the standard drinks was replaced by equally damaging additional additives in the low sugar alternatives. Some also noted how they such sweeteners were even included in the drinks which already included sugar. Whilst this is negative feedback, these customers still liked the taste of Robinson’s. Therefore, they stated how they would willingly buy Robinson’s products if a healthier alternative was developed.

‘Robinson’s could entice me back by removing artificial sweeteners’ (Elizabeth, 32, Sherborne)

Furthermore, even advocates of the brand gave ideas for ways that Robinson’s could improve their market position. Some people thought that the squash concentrate was weaker in comparison to supermarket brands, even in the double concentrate range. As a result, they claimed that the juice often ran out quickly because they had to put more juice in to achieve a great flavour. Thus, they suggested that Robinson’s develop stronger or more concentrated drinks.

‘They seem almost diluted, so the drinks don’t go as far’ (Ruth, 35, Basingstoke)

In addition, people wanted Robinson’s to create a greater variety of flavours, including ‘fun’ and experimental flavours that would appeal to children such as, ice cream soda and cherry.

Interestingly, many members of the panel felt that there was a significant lack of advertising for the brand. Particularly outside of the Wimbledon tournament. Certainly, the Robinson’s brand is well known and established, but they could benefit from more prominent promotional campaigns.

‘I don’t know much about what the brand stands for, so maybe they could do a little bit more advertising’ (Jennifer, 33, Manchester)

‘They could be more active outside of the Wimbledon week, as I can’t recall any other marketing campaigns’ (Rupert, 42, London)

Similarly, people had the perception from previous advertising campaigns that children were the main target audience for Robinson’s products. Some adults felt this was unjustified given that they love Robinson’s products as much as kids!

‘It’s a bit too child focused and family orientated, so to improve they could create and market more products that appeal directly to adults’ (Tom, 25, Birmingham)

One customer suggested that Robinson’s should aim to increase their community involvement. As Kellogs and Walkers have done previously, he proposed that Robinson’s introduce a scheme where they sponsor schools and local sports clubs and provide them with equipment.

Lastly, the panel of course mentioned the premium price of Robinson’s products compared with supermarket brands. Some people were motivated by prices. They claimed that they would only invest in a Robinson’s product when it was on an offer, even if they did prefer the flavour. Yet, the majority of the panel were prepared to pay that little bit extra for the taste they know and love.

‘They’ve always been a bit more expensive, but you get what you pay for. The quality is really good and they’ve got a good range of flavours’ (Phillip, 26, Wallsend)