After appearing on Dragons’ Den last month, Counting Sheep Coffee wanted to keep the buzz going. So, the Canadian startup hired The Siren Group to handle PR.
Counting Sheep Coffee is designed to be consumed with dessert after dinner or before going to bed. The coffee is made with Swiss Water decaffeinated coffee and an all-natural, organic, plant-based sedative called valerian root. Valerian is used as a natural treatment for sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety.
The partners at Counting Sheep Coffee had talked about hiring a PR firm for awhile, but after Dragons’ Den, the timing was right, said Adam Cooper, chief product officer and co-founding partner. “We wanted to leverage the fact that so many people saw our product on Dragons’ Den. [Hiring The Siren Group] will help us keep the momentum going hopefully for a long time to come.”
A comprehensive slate of PR initiatives will include product publicity and placement, special event sponsorship, consumer and trade shows, such as The Fancy Food Show in New York this summer, and media relations.
Counting Sheep Coffee launched at Coffee Fest in New York in March 2013. There, partners Cooper and Deland Jessop met Joseph Fernandes, a third-generation coffee roaster. He later became a partner, bringing with him coffee industry experience and the production capabilities of his facilities in Newark, N.J.
The trade show was also the site of an initial order from Bed, Bath & Beyond, which tested Counting Sheep in five stores and has since expanded to every store in Canada, as well as a growing number of its 1,500 U.S. stores. The product comes in two blends: Forty Winks and extra-strength Lights Out!, which contains a higher dose of valerian root.
Cooper said The Siren Group was recommended to his company, and that he learned in Counting Sheep’s early days that hiring experts is the way to go. “We had struggles early on because we had a product idea, but we weren’t coffee people,” said Cooper. “We brought in [Fernandes] and since then have brought in brokers who know the retail space better than we do. It just seems like the right thing to do, to hire experts in PR, because we certainly aren’t.
“What our brand does is very unique; there is nothing else out there like it,” he added. “There are lots of teas that people drink before bed… but for the millions of coffee lovers in North America, the challenge is getting them to hear about our product and what it does,” which is where The Siren Group comes in. “We know that when we have trial, people will purchase and then re-purchase, so it’s just encouraging that initial trial,” said Cooper. “The best way to do that is to have as many people as possible know about our product.”