Wednesday, December 14

Interview with Ms. Charmeroy

Fabienne Charmeroy
Marketing Director at Nestlé Waters

- What are/were you doing at Nestlé Waters?
I was Marketing Director at Nestlé waters and member of CEO, managing a team of 30 people : product managers, survey department, consumer service, thermal resorts.

- What are/were your main responsibilities?
To be in charge of the brand manangement of brands such as Perrier, Contrex, Vittel, Hepar. I also way responsible for the respect of the profit and loss accounts.
Development and launches of successful products was also a part of my job : Vittel sport's cap, P'tit Vittel, Quezac.

- What are for you the emotions that can be used by a product manager for branding plain bottled water?
Many emotions, water is the element, without it we cannot survive. Emotions and product reality should be linked to express youth, vitality, beauty, well-being, purity, feast...

- What are the added-values in order to perform as a plain water brand?
As for every brand, brand positioning is essential, it is the heart of a brand added-value. Once it is well defined and that you have checked it is relevant, you need to work on each element of the marketing mix to provide value. Porter is always in your mind....

- What associations can create long durable brand awareness and knowledge?
If the brand positioning is clear and relevant like for Contrex, you need to be consistent about the message itself but you can be inspired by what is happening. Have a look to the new Contrex tv ad...

- What would be your advice to a young product manager on the water brand market?
My advice would be to keep what is working and try to change what should be. But not only on water brand market....

Monday, December 12

Possible Trends?

The Secret of Water

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher, made an astonishing discovery about water. This revolutionary discovery may possibly lead to a new consciousness of water
Dr. Emoto developed a technique using a very powerful microscope to photograph crystals of frozen water samples. The crystals from different areas changed depending on the environment. He also discovered that human vibration energy, thoughts, words and music affect the molecular structure of water.

Emoto taped paper strips saying "You make me sick," "You are a fool" and "I love you," "Thank you" on bottles of tap water and then photographed the frozen water. He found that  "Thank you" and "I love you," caused the tap water to form beautiful crystals. While bottles with "You make me sick," or "You are a fool,"  strips caused ugly, distorted crystals or no crystals at all. According to Dr. Emoto, we can cause tap water to form beautiful frozen water crystals simply by praying for the water, by sending it positive thoughts, or by exposing it to beautiful music.

"Love and gratitude" create the most beautiful crystals.

"You Make Me Sick"


"Inspired by the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know and Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book Hidden Messages in Water, Aquamantra utilizes the theories of quantum mechanics, whereby positive thoughts are shown to influence the molecular structure of water, to make their water more refreshing for body, mind, and soul. Each bottle of Aquamantra premium Natural Spring Water features unique art work from local California artists and the mantra I am Loved, I am Grateful, I am Healthy, or I am Lucky to infuse the water with positive energies."


Tuesday, December 6

151 liters of water per year

Guess what is the first spending of French people in their food budget: bottled water.
Each year, they drink 151,1 liters of mineral and spring water.

In the eighties, the five most consumed food products were: potatoes, fresh vegetables, wine, bread and milk. 
Now, it is mineral and sping waters, fresh vegetables, potatoes, bread and milk. 

It seems that bottled water gained a lot of ground

Because we care about recycling ...

... we thought it was important for you to know a bit about the life of a bottle of water :

This short film represents the story of a bottle from its creation to the recycle process

After watching this video, if you have extra time, don't hesitate to calculate your ecological footprint :

Tuesday, November 29

Tell me how you feel, I'll give you wat(er) you need

What emotions drive us when purchasing a bottle of water?

It's no secret that emotions influence people's decisions about what, when and how they buy. Emotions are powerful motivators. It is important for brands to creatively associate a positive emotion and positive attitude with their product.

Emotions drive our purchase all the time. Imagine yourself in a supermarket around 11.30 am when you’re getting hungry, you will see those nice chocolate bars and buy it. That’s the point.

Consumers are driven by the image water brands provide them. Water brands must have a clear positioning in order to adapt their communication to their target. Let’s take the example of Contrex. They used to communicate only in an informational way: no emotion. The message was: “Contrex helps you eliminate”. It was promoted by thin women but it was so naïve than the public turned the ad into derision. Recently, they have decided to target active young women and totally changed their promotion and based everything on fun, dynamism. They changed the message into an emotional slogan “On mincirait mieux si c’était plus fun” (“we’d lose weight easily if it was more fun”) in order to have an impact on women’s behavior.  (*To know more about Contrex, feel free to click on the tab above!). 

On the opposite, seniors will feel attracted by traditional values: we all remember about Cristaline’s ad directing Guy Roux, the best endorser to bring this image to consumers!

However, people drink water because we all have to do it (if not, we’ll die, right?!) but the goal here is to add value to the water so that people can feel the benefit of drinking bottled water. It can be about the taste (value of happiness), it can be about the intrinsic benefits (well-being, slimness) or also about purity, nature (healthy).

Emotions consumers feels about water is also linked to the commercial and how the brand communicate. Evian always put babies in their ads: it’s not random. Their ads calls out consumer’s emotions around sensitiveness. People see babies on roller, we all think it’s cute.

Volvic will linked consumer’s emotions with nature, well-being, freedom. When we see their commercials, we can feel the nature, we can have a deep breath and dive into a volcano.

Still water brands have to create emotions in the consumers’ minds to create an image people will identify themselves into and this image is the thing they have to build everything around.

A funny commercial for Montavit mineral water

Enjoy it ! We loved the punchline !

Identifying Consumers' Underlying Motivations

What Motivates Consumers To Buy Bottled Water?

Motivations play an important role in consumer behavior. They are subconscious and can be triggered by marketing message. Motivation can be security or safety, convenience, basic need like thirst, and so on. The best way to use emotion in marketing strategy is to look at motivators that experience consumers.

When bottled water was first introduced to the market consumers laughed at the concept. Paying for water in a bottle while they could drink it from the tap almost for free did not make sense to them. However, the marketing message changed their way of thinking by making the issue personal. This message developed a caution about drinking tap water among consumers. Consumers became aware of impurities of tap water. They began purchasing bottled water not for their convenience but for their health. By drinking bottled water they felt safe and protected.

Thus, the emotion of fear of tap water impurities moved consumers into action. The major motivators when purchasing water were health benefits and personal safety,  and since consumers wanted to feel safe they began buying bottled water.

Nowadays, despite tough economic times, people are still spending money on bottled water. Although over the course of time the primary motivator became convenience and only then health benefits, according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom.

The study, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, is based on interviews with 23 users of the Munrow Sports Centre on the campus of University of Birmingham. The majority of participants drank on average 0.5 to 3.5 liters per week. Two participants drank more than 10 liters per week, and two said they never drank bottled water.
Although most study participants said they drink bottled water because they believe it's safer than tap water, they were unsure exactly what these benefits were. Despite the health benefits, the most commonly given reason for purchasing bottled water was convenience. Even those who did not believe that bottled water was safer than tap water said that they purchased bottled water when they were out.

Many people also said they buy bottled water because it tastes better. "I can definitely taste the difference between like a Fiji water and an Evian," one woman said. "I think tap water kind of tastes like sewer," said another.

Sunday, November 27

Still water & associations

To better understand customer expectations, we need to focus on the associations they are making with the product. First of all, water is associated to purity and nature. By consuming it, a consumer feels peaceful and calm. In many advertisement, brand managers are using the image of naturality in order to make believe consumers that by drinking the brand they will bring back a part of nature in their life. For example, Evian is traditionally the leader in water used in marternity.

Additionally, in a polluted world, consumers need to be reassured about the quality of water they drink. The brand feelings associated are safety and comfort. Moreover, since sources are known for their different benefits, they are synonymous of health and by extrapolation, longevity. Evian is a youth's source for our body, Taillefine helps to recharge your body in essential minerals or Thonon is contrinuting for the well-being of everyone. Furthermore, if water is health, consumer will feel better and proud of choosing a high quality water with natural benefits.

Besides, since water is a mass market product and consumed all the day, consumers loyalty is high. Thanks to evocation and feeling it can provoke, they feel sentimental and affectionate about brand. Many advertisements are based on well-being, vitality and sport such as Vittel previous slogan, '' Vittel, vitality is in it'' (Vittel, la vitalité est en elle). This is the main reason why brand are sponsoring sport activities. Furthermore, another aspect is the water's association with beauty: one glass of water just after waking up detoxifies your body. In fact, thanks to their purity and natural image, many water brands develop a range of cosmetic product.

Even if water's sector is not as fun as flavored beverages, consumers has to feel amused and excited. For instance, Contrex changes consumer's perception of it product's actual usage thanks to its new viral advertisement. In this transformational advertisement, women are doing sport in order to lose weight but mainly to continue to see a man doing a striptease.

Finally, some brands are positionning as a high quality and price policy. Even if water is a mass product, quality, purity and scarcity image of brands are elements that position a brand. However, since the product is basic, the brand's positioning leads to social approval. People will recognize themselves on a certain positioning and will attribute certain brand to other consumers. For example, choosing a brand such as Evian may signal a high importance of social approval.

How to differenciate water?

First, brands can put forward the taste and the origin of water: mineral water and spring water. Both come from natural ground deposit and both cannot contain any chemical additive, which differentiate them from tap water. The natural mineral water is pure, it must guarantee a stable mineral composition and can present particular minerals (rich in calcium, magnesium, …) wheares the spring water, under a same brand, are sometimes gathered with variable minerals compared to natural mineral water that is issued from a single source.

For example, the natural character of Volvic that originates from the water's volcanic source and is reflective of the spark of the volcano or also Evian, recognized for its pedigree, coming from the Alps and its purity.

Brands can also base their differentiation on the packaging: the bottle shape, color/ codes and functionality really do matter. For instance, Evian does special designed bottles every year for Christmas or Contrex’s bottle shape looks like a thin woman.

Bottled water brands can differentiate with advertising, story-telling: highlighting theuniqueness of the water. Sponsorships can be used also for additional exposure and significant opportunities for distinct marketing, for example when Volvic hired Zinédine Zidane, the most famous French football player for their ads on TV.

Companies, to brand mineral waters can also base their marketing strategy on health qualities. This is the case of Contrex, that sells a “healthy product” that will help women to get thinner: their motto “Contrex, Mon Partenaire Minceur” means “Contrex, My Slimness Partner”. The company centers on the bottle as a partner, the bottle you will always have with you to help you stay in great shape.

Finally, they can differentiate with their price. Indeed, private labels such as Carrefour water brand charges lower prices than other brands market.

Bottled waters have different ways to differentiate and line up their marketing strategies. Whether they choose to insist on their taste, price or any other criterion, they have to differentiate to cope with the high competition of the French market.

How to improve your customer experience by working on “Touchpoints”

Before starting any market or brand analysis, it could be useful to understand the technical word “touchpoint”. What is a touch point in fact?
Touchpoints are here to help you capitalizing every opportunity to interact with customers. In other words, touchpoints could be described as interfaces which help potential customers to “interact” with the brand. Touchpoints include human exchanges such as speaking to them face-to-face, by phone and high-tech interactions such as… websites. Another kind of touch points are Public Relations and most commonly, advertising e.g print and TV ads, flyers...As a brand, all opportunities to interact with a customer are valuable touchpoints. These opportunities represent a chance to win over a new customer who will talk around his social circle and spread a positive image of your brand. Touchpoints are also very useful in order to differentiate your brand than the other competitors.

Apply this notion to the bottled water market is really interesting because water remains water. It is useful when we are thirsty but then… What is the point to buy this brand X instead of this brand Y? Everything is the point. All water brands possessed different positioning and want to share a particular and unique environment with you.

If we take the example of these two still water brands: Evian and Volvic. They both have an original and particular way to communicate and more to interact with their customers.

The importance of a website and a presence in Social Network

The website of Evian is one of the first elements which help the brand to interact with their customers and potential customers. History of the brand, other information and the elaboration of services composed this interface. Among these services, customers can contact the brand and customize their own bottle for every specific occasion in their life (myevian).

The website of Volvic insists about its positioning regarding the production and the distribution for a sustainable world. Volvic created real interactions with their customers by proposing a visit of the Volvic Source. The main goal of this visit is to discover the origin of the water Volvic, all the process to extract it, bottling and annex services such as leisurely walks around Volvic location.
Sources: Official website of Evian ; Official website of Volvic ; Volvic Source Tour

Public Relations

What could be more attractive t
han a public event organized by a brand just for fun ?

Recently Evian sponsored a Dancemob with the famous dancer and choregrapher Blanca Li for the Day of Dance in Paris Le Grand Palais. This was the first Day of Dance in France which led to discover all form of dances all over the world as a ludique experience.

The Packaging is speaking
The packaging of a bottle is a key touchpoint to interact with your customers. Evian’s packagings are particularly relevant for that. Seven bottles sizes to suit your lifestyle. Every shape, size, conception is thought to respond customers’needs.

Volvic confirms its positioning of respecting the environment with a new kind of packaging : The first bottle of vegetal origin and 100% recyclable.


Evian organizes every year the “Evian Master” an international Tournament of feminine Golf. It’s another way to interact with their customers.
Volvic is the sponsor of Local events such as The Cross Volvic Elite near Clermont-Ferrand.
They also signed sports partnerships especially in the world of Rugby. They create a special drink for the Rugby World Cup in association with the brand “Quinze” and they also signed with the Rugby Club ASM Clermont d’Auvergnes since 2007.

After this analysis, what could be more important than improving your customer experience?
The more brands succeed on identifying their touchpoints the more they become closer to customer’needs. As a result brands can optimize experience and build a strong identity for their customers who will stay loyal ones.

Nature of water and purchase behaviours

It does not seem to be a risk to buy still water. Consumers suppose that it has a good quality because of regulations and quality control prior it is consumed, and the risk of pollution and/or intoxication because of the consumption of bottled water is pretty low. Thus, the risk in the performance of the product is low.

The involvement of the customer while doing the purchase of still water is low, and could be rational and/or emotional. It does not spend much time, though energy and other resourcesduring the purchase process.

90 % of the French consume mineral water. In France, there are 110 brands consumers can choose. This love affair with water started with Louis XIV when a court physician prescribed mineral water for his gout.

One of the reasons for the French craze for bottled water demand is a safety quest, a certain mistrust of tap water, without mentioning pollution problems in some areas. Then bottled water is more necessary than ever. Water is the food product that offers the greatest number of opportunities to be consumed in a day : at table, in the office, in the streets, in the bars... It is one of the least elaborate (most natural) food market where the messages to the consumer are clear and positive ie, sports, health, youth.

According to SOFRES/CI water polls, the proportion of regular water drinkers is 63%, down 3 points since 1999. But, after seeing a decline in recent years the overall bottled water environment in France increased by 2 percent in total volume terms in 2010. A survey says that 28 % of the French people say they never drink tap water. 64% say they drink bottled water at least once a week and 44 % many times a day. 50 % of the consumers say they drink both. These ‘mixed” drinkers say they drink 55 % of tap water and 45 % of bottled water.

It is estimated that, on average, each Frenchman drinks 110 litres of bottled water per year. The French can be suspicious about tap water and prefer still to sparkling water.

In a globally competitive market, water manufacturers promote their brands by targeting niche consumers and using unique selling points such as the bottling source and taste. Frequently used categories to differentiate water brands include carbonated or non-carbonated water, spring and mineral water as well as distilled enhanced, filtered and oxygenated waters. These attributes play a significant role when it comes to branding water, and they help companies to differentiate between the benefits of one type of brand over the other.

As the still water is a relative low price good, the size of pocket is low. It could be consider as a product with low price that is bought out of habit, without much thought.

Introduction: Market Overview

The following blog will focus on the bottled still water market in France. We have chosen Evian, Contrex and Cristaline in order to conduct our brand audit. Firstly, we will focus on the overall French bottled market. Secondly, we will discuss Evian’s, Contrex’s and Cristaline’s customer insights and how these brands have managed to change consumers’ attitudes toward bottled water over the course of the past decade. Finally, we will analyze the competition within the market of the three above mentioned competitors and draw a conclusion. Areas of interest include marketing, communication and differentiation strategies of key competitors in the market. 

Bottled Water Market: Global Overview

Almost 70% of the earth is covered with water. However, only less than 1% is ready for human consumption without being processed first. Some of the most common types of bottled drinking water are: still mineral water, spring water, artesian, and purified water packaged in plastic or glass bottles of different size range.

Over the past decade, the global bottled water industry has become very profitable. Bottled water is one of the most popular beverages on the planet and its consumption continues to grow rapidly, even in countries where the quality of tap water is good. The bottled water industry boom began in the early 1980s and has shown significant growth since then. This boom in the consumption of bottled water has moved the product beyond the niche market and into the mainstream. Currently, companies like Evian make billions of dollars on water. 

Although, the growth has taken place globally, bottled water consumption has grown significantly in Western Europe, Asia and Northern America. This growth is the result of various factors that have contributed to the increase of demand for bottled water. Many people drink bottled water because they prefer the taste to that of tap water or perceive it to be more pure, clean. Bottled water is seen as a natural product and a significant part of a healthy lifestyle. Portability of bottled water and accessibility in stores, supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations and vending machines has also increased the demand. 

French Bottled Water Indusrty

According to Euromonitor International’s market report, “Despite the decline in recent years the overall bottled water environment in France increased by 2% in total volume terms in 2010. Manufacturers were able to change the declining trend despite many barriers, such as the fall in consumers’ buying power in France, the increasing use of water filtering systems, communication campaigns related to high quality tap water, and the increasing ecological concerns raised by bottled water. Good weather and the extended summer also helped overall sales in 2010.”

Neptune SA, which owns Cristaline, remained the leading player in the bottled water industry in France, accounting for a 21% total volume share in 2010. Neptune SA was closely followed by Groupe Danone owning Evian and Volvic, and Nestlé Waters France SAS which owns Contrex, Hépar and Vittel, each holding volume shares of around 20%. The three giants of the French bottled water industry were able to hold their position in 2010 by strongly focusing on advertising campaigns to retain customers.