Water wars #stratalogues

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#stratalogues water wars

A strategic provocation around packaged drinking water
category in India. There are larger findings & implications relevant for Asia on the whole. But certain special provocations for Indian brands. What Bisleri can do is a provocation both for Bisleri and its competitors.

I think this is one of the most interesting categories looking at the future. However the stand alone players are going to have a tougher time, unless they build a strong, innovative & engaging brand. The cokes & the Pepsi's of the world can establish better trading terms with the retail, because of the multi-brand/larger portfolio = larger shelf space occupation.

The category is getting further split by government contracts taking a major chunk of the volumes (in terms of public transport terminals etc;), other retail is getting split-away by the alcohol brands (because of surrogate advertising needs). Example: Kingfisher water: both a surrogate and easy to market due to existing beverage distribution system in bars & pubs and alcohol retail.

There is an interesting development in the heartlands with "loose mineral water" growing as a category. It is both good & bad for the major packaged drinking water players. While it develops the category and gives it penetration and hence building the ladder for up-gradation, it also means a certain amount of trading down on occasions. Also the vast distribution of the 2-rupee pouch in snack-food places, mess.meal centres is something that the major players need to figure out how to tap into. Penetration here via 2-rupee sachets, could actually be a boon to increase penetration and distribution for their other beverages as well.

Something to think about & plan for carefully. Note: The role of social media is heavily under-utilised in this category. Digital & mobile is going to play a huge role in this category soon :).

https://www.facebook.com/Wolfzhowl.Strat

http://stratalogues.wordpress.com/

http://in.linkedin.com/in/challapallikalyan/

@wolfzhowl

wolfzhowl.strategy@gmail.com

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  • @leonardo: Thanks for your comment. Agree with you, they do have to innovate on packaging and flavours to gain both retail & consumer relevance.

    Bisleri (like Phillips electronics in the past) has become too much part of the culture. It is too much of a 'ours' brand in the face of competition being perceived with more aspirational hues.

    But there is a brilliant pro-active living of doing flavours and not just flavours for taste. One has to understand that flavour pairing with Indian food (which its varied - splendorous, full bodied & flavourful all at once) is not compatible with all kinds of flavours. However there are some amazing H2O compatible natural ingredients in Indian culture which are both good for health, digestion etc; and compatible refreshing flavours.

    But I hope they also leverage the tactical opportunity that is immediately there, before it slips out! create purchase-dissonance with competition at the point of purchase. 'If u've asked for a Bisleri. why settles for anything else (less) is a good start before doing the inevitable (what you have also suggested innovating on occasion based packaging and flavours).

    Thanks again for contributing your opinion to my provocation and making it richer. Please do keep contributing.
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  • I would recommend Bisleri to innovate package and flavors in order to have a good reason to build a platform -that is disruptive (at consumer/awareness and shopper/buyer levels) and gives the brand a good rationale and emotional reason to own the category (at cultural and retail levels).
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  • bah! typos again :{
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Water wars #stratalogues

  1. 1. For more on the category: wolfzhowl.strategy@gmail.com VS Bisleri = Xerox of the packaged water category. In India people go @ want their documents Xerox’d (not copied). People ask for Vodka in a pub/bar (&not Smirnoff/Absolut etc; at a mass-premium level). It’s the same with Bisleri”. He average Indian “Kumar” asks for Bisleri (not mineral water or kinley or Aquafina). A already disadvantaged Bisleri (with Coke & Pepsi having better trading power with the retailer due to multiple-power-products) should at once cease this opportunity before it slips away (mark my words it is slipping, already a few consumers I have noticed have started asking for Kinely’s or Aquafina etc;). This “leveraging being Xerox of the category” cannot happen through emotional/thematic communication around the purity of water or owning water itself like a Fevicol owns “sticking”. It needs a sharp tactical campaign, like “Bisleri pucha hai toh Bisleri hi lena – baaki sab kuch kyun” )if you’ve asked for a Bisleri, ensure you get the pure bisleri – why compromise & settle for something else). Bisleri the hallmark of purity in India since XYZ. Water is fast acquiring life-style hues even in the heartlands. The way a consumer shows around or asks in a special tone for a foreign sounding “AquaFIna” or “Kinli (in UP) or Kinelli (In AP) speaks for this. Consolidation of core & innovations are going to drive this category from now on: Indianising ingredients, product extensions not just on user occasions (travel), but also on “attitudes toward packaged drinking water” is the next round. Pro-active living is going to drive urban profits in the future. #stratalogues Thirst Wars

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