Gong Cha's Golden Run!
With Gong Cha winning the Reader's Digest Trusted Brand Awards in the Pearl Milk Tea Category, we sit down with Cheong Zhaoyong, Brand Director of Gong Cha Singapore, and ask him what the wins means to Gong Cha Singapore
How does it feel to be recognised as a trusted brand in the pearl milk tea category?
We’re honoured to be the first bubble tea brand to win the Gold Award from the Trusted Brand Awards 2020 by Reader’s Digest for Singapore, and we’re very grateful to the respondents for recognising our effort, focus and commitment to bring the best quality bubble tea to our loyal customers.
This win is not only heartening but also serves as an encouragement for us to continue focusing on providing customers with the quintessential bubble tea drinking experience. We will do so by staying true to our roots in using only fresh, fragrant and quality-graded teas sourced specifically for Gong Cha from Taiwan.
What significance does this win play for Gong Cha?
This is a huge milestone that Gong Cha has achieved in the history of the Trusted Brands Award as this is the first year that the Pearl Milk Tea category was introduced in this prestigious award over the last 22 years of its celebration in Singapore and Asia.
Many elements contribute to the success of an organization - Trustworthiness (credibility), Quality, Value, Understanding, Innovation and Social Responsibility. These are the six success markers of Gong Cha in claiming the golden seat in this prestigious award.
Singaporean consumers not only voted Gong Cha as the most trusted brand in the Pearl Milk Tea category, they also recognized Gong Cha as genuine, reliable and having the best people who strive to ensure our customers' satisfaction as our first priority.
This award also affirms our drive to contribute to society, through our various proactive CSR campaigns to give back to our community. For example, during this trying period, we played our part to keep spirits up by giving more than 15,000 cups of bubble tea to our everyday heroes – the healthcare workers. We had the joy to share over 4,000 cups of bubble tea with our foreign worker friends in their dormitories during the Circuit Breaker period, and organised regular bubble tea giveaways to our delivery heroes. Bubble tea is an embodiment of joy in a drink, and we wish to put this joy in as many people’s hands as possible.
All these are only possible with the commitment of our management and dedicated store teams, who all made Gong Cha a trustworthy brand that Singaporeans can rely on for the go-to bubble tea in town.
As a milk tea brand, are you surprised by the amount of devotion & love some people have for the brand or even for milk tea in general?
Bubble tea today has transformed into more than just a drink - it is now defined by popular consumer culture, and offers a huge emotional appeal for many. Besides being a key element in many social interactions, bubble tea today is now an identity and lifestyle that bring joy to the community – many consumers, from students to office executives alike, can be seen bonding over the simple beverage. Students can be seen studying with a cup of bubble tea in tow while office executives are seen doing bubble tea runs during their lunch break.
So, it doesn’t strike us as a surprise that more and more consumers are increasingly becoming ‘devoted’ to this simple concoction of milk tea and tapioca pearls. Instead, we are striving to push out more innovations in our bubble tea drinking experiences to push further on the joys which customers can derive from our bubble tea, and further turn this consumption into an elevated lifestyle experience for our loyal fans.
One such example would be the recent launch of our new product category Bubble Tea Float (“BTF”), done in partnership with leading ice cream brand Haagen Dazs. The BTF consists of Gong Cha’s fragrant teas paired with Haagen Dazs’ indulgent ice cream flavours. To Gong Cha, BTF represents the next level of the bubble tea experience. While using ice cream as a drink topping option is not new to the market, BTF has gone beyond that as both teams have worked together for over a year to come up with the best pairing of various bubble tea formulas and ice cream (in line with the theme of Indulgence, Love and Happiness).
What do you wish to say to your fans?
Despite being a global brand with more than 1,370 stores worldwide, Singapore will always be a key community for Gong Cha. Despite having briefly exited the market back in 2017 when the previous franchise agreement drew to an end, the overwhelming influx of support from Singaporeans pulled us back – bigger and better. Within 6 months, Gong Cha reopened in Singapore in December 2017, with our first flagship store at SingPost Centre set up as a bubble tea café instead of the usual kiosk. Our stores in key locations (e.g. Takashimaya, Westgate) soon followed.
By January 2020, barely 2 years since re-entering the market, Gong Cha is now conveniently located in 34 strategic locations in Singapore, especially within key central and neighbourhood malls, business districts, MRT stations and even universities and hospitals.
In today’s climate of uncertainty, bubble tea plays a key role in bringing happiness and alleviating stress for many fans. Gong Cha will continue to innovate and strive further to become the source of joy for our customers and community, through rewarding bubble tea experiences and our continued CSR efforts to give back to society. Once again, we thank all customers and fans for the strong support and encouragement thus far, and owe this Trusted Brands Award to them.