Themes: Marketing Mix
Period : 2001-2002
Organization : Parle Bisleri Ltd, Coca Cola, Pepsi
Countries : India
Industry : Branded Water
Reinventing Bisleri: Introduction
In the early 1990s, Parle Bisleri Ltd's (Parle Bisleri's) Bisleri1 had become synonymous with branded water and had a market share of 70%. In the late 1990s, Bisleri's market share began to erode with new players entering the market. The new players also positioned their products on the purity platform and Bisleri felt the need to differentiate itself from the crowd. In the late 1990s, Bisleri launched its Pure and Safe ad campaign to convince the consumers that it was the only pure and safe branded water in the market. However, in 2000-01, Bisleri faced another challenge.
The Cola majors, Pepsi and Coca-Cola and the confectionery giant, Nestle, also entered the branded water market in India. Pepsi and Coca-Cola had an established distribution network. Bisleri realized that with the new players also clambering on to the purity plank, it had to reposition itself to arrest its declining market share. In September 2000, Parle Bisleri launched its Play Safe ad campaign. The company tried to add a fun element to Bisleri to rejuvenate the brand. The ultimate aim was to increase Bisleri's turnover from Rs 4 billion2 in 2000 to Rs 10 billion by 2003.
Bisleri Feels The Heat
In the early 1990s, the branded mineral water industry was worth Rs 3 billion, producing around 95 million litres in 1992. Parle Bisleri's Bisleri brand launched in 1971, was the leader with 70% market share. After 1993, the branded mineral water industry saw some hectic activity. On an average, every three months, a new brand was launched and another died.
In the late 1990s, many international brands were planning to enter the branded mineral water market. According to some analysts, the main reason for the boom in branded water was the fact that people were becoming more health and hygiene conscious. Branded mineral water which sold in only 60 towns in 1993, was available in 250 towns in 1997. In 1998, Bisleri's market share came down to 60%, while Parle Agro's3 Bailley had 20%. The remaining 20% was shared by regional players.
In 1998, the branded mineral water market had grown to a 424 million litre business, valued at Rs 4 billion. There were 200 brands available in the country. In their bid to garner greater market share, many companies, including Parle Bisleri tried to make quality and the purification processes they used their unique selling proposition (USP).
In 2000, the branded water market had grown to Rs 7 billion. New players like Pepsi's Aquafina, Coca-Cola's Kinley and Nestle's Pure Life entered the market. The market was segmented into premium, popular and bulk segments (Refer Table I for the price range in different segments).
The premium segment was the least crowded with just four brands: French transnational-Danone's Evian and Ferrarelle and Nestle's Perrier and San Pellagrino. The popular segment was where most of the action was.
Bisleri, Bailley, Aquafina, and Kinley were some of the dominant brands in this segment. In the bulk segment (5, 12 & 20 litres), Bisleri was a major player with Kinley and Aquafina staying out of this segment.
As product differentiation on the basis of quality became increasingly difficult, with each company claiming that its brand was safe and pure, companies began to use packaging to differentiate their products. Bisleri introduced a tamper proof seal in the 500 ml bottle.
However, analysts felt that Bisleri's efforts to reinforce its pure and safe image with a tamper proof seal may not be all that effective as competitors also had similar tamper proof sealed bottles. They felt that it was companies with strong distribution channels that would do well in the long run. Pepsi's Aquafina was strongly placed because it had the backing of Pepsi's distribution network in the...