GIVN water

Bottled Water Splash Telegraphs Sea Change

March 1st, 2016 Posted by brand marketing, Brand preference, Food Trend, Insight, storytelling 0 comments on “Bottled Water Splash Telegraphs Sea Change”

What’s next for category marking ‘hot’ on sales trajectory?

Unless you’ve been marooned on a deserted island, all eyes in the food and beverage business have been focused on the irreversible march to preference for healthier, fresher, less processed, simple ingredient products. Now it’s the criteria driving purchase decisions.

And nowhere can we see this cultural shift better in real terms better than bottled water. Mintel’s latest category report showcases the migration away from sugary beverages and carbonated soft drinks. U.S. bottled water sales topped $15 billion, posting category volume growth of 6.4% in 2015. Mintel says its on track to grow another 35% by 2020.

Texture around the behavior…

The report indicates 39% of consumers say purchasing bottled water products is worth the cost. While 53% of bottled water users claim they prefer the premium priced options.

A call to premium water brands: among consumers overall, 51% are unfamiliar with premium water options – so there’s still work to be done!

What’s behind this?

The motivation for healthy, pure, safe hydration seen in these numbers represents a loop closing between the desire for simpler, trusted solutions and a move towards higher quality beverages – options that mirror the consumer’s ambition for a better quality lifestyle.

Thus, the future might be even rosier for more natural spring water brands vs. distilled products.

Directional to retailers and brand stewards…

According to Mintel, 29% of consumers believe bottled water should contain minerals – an equal number also want energy enhancers. And 43% think the ideal product should also include vitamins.

Coming now: premium water with an emotional benefit – GIVN™

On the innovation front, relevance to consumer desires for higher purpose in the food and beverages they prefer couldn’t be more explicit in a newcomer to the premium water segment: GIVN water.

GIVN presents itself as the first bottled water “infused with good karma.” The reason? For every bottle a consumer drinks, the company provides clean water for an entire day to another person who desperately needs it.

The premium positioned and packaged spring water brand delivers this benefit at no price premium to the consumer. Thus, the promise is essentially – sip and save a human. Unlike many brands that only tip a percent of sales to a cause, GIVN’s day of hydration effort is track-able and relatable to consumers who long for tangible evidence of what cause benefit means beyond promises and vague distributions of cash.

Further, GIVN’s use of an Eco-Pure bottle that’s designed to degrade about as fast as newspapers in landfills addresses “consumers’ increasing concerns about the environmental effects of bottled water.”

The founders, John Houseal and partner Liz Skalia, elected to enter a high-turn, high velocity commodity category for the very reason that volume achieves the mission. And therein lies the magic that sits underneath the promise: With 66% of the world’s population now having trouble getting clean water, GIVN’s program is meaningful and immediate.

The value proposition brings a new story to bottled water. One that is laced with emotion and transcends the inherent limitations of more common talk about water sources, hydration, minerals, pH levels and other table-stake characteristics of premium brands.

It’s a powerful differentiator in a commodity category.

Emergent believes bottled water has become a bit of an icon now in the consumer’s interest and desire for real, authentic and healthier products. Look for increasing investment in this aisle of the store.

We also see GIVN as a prime example of the importance of Higher Purpose, a core principle in Emergent’s Validation Marketing™ model.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for  higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

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