Bisleri Marketing Strategy

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Bisleri - Marketing Strategy
Sanjib Dutta
"Old cola rivals Coke and Pepsi are discovering there is more money in water than coloured water. Things are warming up in the Rs 10 billion bottled-drinking water market and competitors, including Parle's Ramesh Chauhanjace the threat of a whitewash." - Business Today, September 16, 2001.

The case talks about the various marketing strategies adopted by Parle Bisleri Ltd. to arrest the sliding market share of its branded water brand-Bisleri. Bisleri mineral water was the market leader in the early 1990s. The brand started losing its share due to increased competition and the entry of multinationals such as Coke and Pepsi into the market. Bisleri tried to regain its share by repositioning its brand. The case discusses in detail the ad campaigns and other marketing strategies used by Bisleri to reposition the brand. 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 percent. 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 bn in 2000 to Rs 10 bn 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 percent 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 percent, while Parle Agro's 2 Bailley had 20 percent. The remaining 20 percent was shared by regional players. In 1998, the branded mineral water market had grown to a 424 mn litre business, valued at Rs 4 bn. 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 bn. 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).

1 Bisleri owes its name to founder Felice Bisleri, an Italian entrepreneur. In 1967, Bisleri set up a plant in Mumbai for bottling and marketing mineral water, which failed. In 1969, Bisleri was sold out to Parle Exports which was later renamed as Parle Bisleri Ltd. 2 Prakash Chauhan, brother of Ramesh Chauhan, the CEO of Parle Bisleri, owned Parle Agro. The premium segment was the least crowded with just four brands: French transnational -...
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