Nearly everything you encounter in life has a story to tell: be it a flight ticket, a used wallet, or even the person sitting next to you in a theater.
The same is true of the food and beverages that people consume.
Business owners in China are waking up to the fact that as disposable incomes rise, widely used terms such as "freshly made" or "locally sourced" are no longer enough to appeal to the palates of a younger generation of diners, who are increasingly drawn to personalized products.
It therefore comes as no surprise that brands are deciding to become storytellers-setting the scene and fleshing out a plot from product invention and storefront design to social marketing campaigns-all in a bid to trigger an emotional investment that resonates with customers.
So when Heytea, a milk tea brand known for its rich cheese-foam topping, introduced its first Heytea Lab in Shanghai's glitzy Grand Gateway 66 mall in June, the idea was to create a multisensory drinking and culinary experience through a string of experimental installments.
Heytea has reinvented the retail concept by introducing novel menus that are updated on a weekly basis. Apart from the regular portfolio, the newly opened Shanghai flagship store allows customers to mix cocktails with their tea drinks.