WKD gives hospitality professionals its guide to Freshers’ Week.

“As the No.1 RTD for students, Freshers is a key period for WKD,” says Amanda Grabham, Head of Brand Marketing – Alcohol at owner SHS Drinks. “Students are shrewd enough to work out which brands and venues are the most deserving of their cash, and WKD is a real favourite. WKD is all about sharing good times with friends, and a natural fit with the student market.

“WKD is the UK’s No.1 traditional RTD and the key brand in the category. WKD is loved by students as it’s a great-tasting, fun brand: it’s the No.1 RTD on brand loyalty and is also the No.1 RTD on taste, satisfaction and cool branding. Whichever way you cut it, WKD is key for outlets looking to appeal to students.

“Our focus is around insights gained from our WKD student team, which comprises 48 students in 12 cities,” states Grabham. “The team is about building WKD awareness, driving trial of our NPD launches, and engaging with students. The team also drives footfall to events; if licensees have a student night planned, they can message WKD’s social channels or email info@wkd.co.uk and our student team will support, wherever possible, by helping raise event awareness.

“Freshers is a chance for operators to impress the new in-take in the quest for repeat trade.  The venues that deliver the best experiences usually win in the long-run as they become the regular haunts that students return to frequently.

Making the most of it

“We’re supplying two different kits to support outlets in making the most of the Freshers opportunity,” says Grabham:

The WKD Bar Team Kit contains functional POS items to help events run smoothly.

WKD’s Ice Bucket Kits make multi-serve deals easy to run and add fun for students. “Ice bucket deals are for groups of friends to share, and also alleviate pressure on the bar during busy events.”

With over 4,000 kits available, plus further support through a range of case deals to incentivise stocking, SHS Drinks is helping outlets make the most of the new term.

“Promoting themed nights is one good way to get on students’ radar. When it comes to what drinks to focus on, the RTD category is one to single-out,” explains Grabham. “RTDs are about high-energy occasions, about socialising and having fun with friends, and their core audience is 18-24 year-olds, so there’s a huge overlap with the student market.

“In the same way that students are important to WKD, WKD is important to students: students love WKD and WKD loves students.”

“Aside from stocking the right brands, the other key angle for outlets is to deliver experiences that students want to share with their friends. The student market is about immediacy and interaction: students want to have fun and they want everyone they know to know they’re having fun!

“Outlets should try to facilitate ‘instagrammable moments’ – be that with props or through the ‘theatre’ of drinks like WKD’s ever-popular sharing cocktail pitchers, or just via a fun event – as students love to share images of great nights out.

“2018 has been an impressive year for WKD with the launches of a new flavour – WKD Mango Crush – and a range of cocktails in cans – WKD MIXED.  As term starts, our 48-strong student team will drive awareness, trial and engagement with the new student intake,” Grabham concludes.