Jamba Juice Shakes Up Brand


Jamba Juice keeps on spreading its brand mojo in new places, now including American schools and the supermarket tea aisle.

“Whatever it is that defines you, Jamba Juice wants to be part of helping you live a healthier and more wholesome life,” Julie Washington, SVP and recently named chief brand officer of the California-based smoothie chain, told brandchannel. “We’re trying to make sure everyone knows the wealth and breadth of Jamba’s food and beverage offerings.”

Jamba, which has an endorsement deal with tennis pro Venus Williams, has been in expansion mode beyond its smoothie menu for some time now, including introducing oatmeal and flatbreads, expanding into South Korea and the Philippines, diversifying into coconut water and CPG goods for stores. Lately, its gambits have included acquiring Talbott Teas and testing an in-school-outlet concept, in addition to new fresh-squeezed juice blends.

“Two years ago, our biggest competition probably could have been considered McDonald’s, because they were getting into smoothies,” said Washington, who was Jamba’s general manager of consumer products before moving earlier this year to the new branding post. “Today, people talk about Starbucks,” she added, as Jamba’s main rival because the company began selling its recently acquired Evolution juice line in its coffee stores and in a standalone store in Bellevue, Wash., last week.[more]

There’s a lot for Washington and her colleagues to keep track of, for sure. And now that Jamba has achieved good results from its test of 30 kiosks in elementary and secondary schools, the company plans a “major push in the schools,” CEO James White told CNBC recently, expecting to go into 400 to 500 more U.S. schools by the end of this year.

It’s no surprise that Jamba is having to staff up to people its multifaceted expansion, even as it works to shake off a $9.8 million loss in the 4th quarter. As part of that, the company pledged via a National Hiring Day on Monday to hire 2,500 people for temporary jobs at its stores in 20 cities as part of the Obama administration’s 2012 Summer Jobs+ effort. White told the cable news channel that some of those people “will join us on a permanent basis.”

A brand this active surely will have something for them to do.