A product of Mount Everest Mineral Water (MEW), a Tata enterprise, the Himalayan mineral water brand was launched in its new, and a very creative version in 2008 amidst huge fanfare so that it is able to match the tastes of the urban youth and health conscious customers in Urban Indian and around the world. This brand of mineral water is endowed with the very essential and vital minerals. They have tried to position it on the basis that it has been packed directly from the natural resource itself and is totally untouched and unprocessed, with a very unique taste.
“This launch would be our first transformative step in actualising our vision of creating ‘next generation’ beverages with water on the platform of wellness, starting with natural mineral water. In future, we would be straddling the entire consumer pyramid with breakthrough, functional and nutritionally enhanced offerings, making this an exhilarating journey — in our quest to make water truly the elixir of life,” said Pradeep Poddar, managing director and CEO, Mount Everest Mineral Water.
This relaunch of the brand being done by TATA after acquiring it from Balsara group who launched it in 2007, is a step to get into the beverage industry to achieve its vision of entering the beverage industry and taken on the might on Coca Cola, Pepsi and other world known brands that are in the mineral water brand category throughout the world.
Now I would like to discuss this product on following aspects, so as to explain how the various concepts of marketing have been applied by the company for making this brand a success and there by achieve the various objectives as have been decided by the company.
The aspects that will be discussed are as under: -
1. Strategic Planning
5. 4 P’s of marketing
Now all these aspects will be discussed one by one with the help of this brand: -
This move of TATA tea if looked at with strategic point of view was a very good move that by acquiring a 32 percent stake in Mount Everest Mineral Water it had become the largest shareholder and thereby it indirectly got all the rights to control all the operative and management decisions. By acquiring this already existing brand in the market TATA got an easy entry into this bottled water industry, of which mineral water bottle industry is still only a 10 percent of the overall industry, but with time it is expected to grow at a very fast pace.
Strategically it was a good move because it also gave a direction to the vision of TATA tea to enter into the global beverage market, a path to walk upon and then achieve that vision with the help of that decision of theirs.
And Himalayan could truly fulfill this objective as it was only one of the few brands throughout the world which were bottled at source and that gave the brand its strong intrinsic heritage. Besides a certificate of purity from nature, Himalayan is internationally accredited by the US FDA, the European Union, the health ministries of Japan and France, and Institut de Fresenius Germany. An IS / ISO 9001-2000 certified company with an HACCP compliant bottling plant, Himalayan is the only internationally accepted natural mineral water from India.
The competitors it has in India are Evian manufactured by Danone and Perrier by Nestle but the Himalayan is priced at 1/4th rate of the products so it is the cheapest and most advertised mineral water available in the country.
Also the market of bottled water throughout the world is expected to be around $ 65.9 billion by 2012 (Resource: Global Industry Analysts, Inc.) so it shows that there is a huge potential for any new entrant to enter into the market as has been envisioned by TATA in this case. Also the potential for bottled water market in India is also huge and the market is around 1000 crore in size and was expected to reach 4000 to 5000 crore rupees out of this 33 percent market is of the bottled mineral water (Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_882075_15.html By Dr. Shikha Suman's). So based on this data it is very much clear that TATA has made a step in the right strategic direction.
Now their strategic orientation has been proven once more by the Joint Venture that they have formed with Pepsi to help distribute their natural mineral water brand Himalayan through the vast and major distribution network of Pepsi throughout the world and this strategic initiative shows and proves the level of strategic expertise that TATA’s have.
The segments first of all have defined on the basis if the type of bottled water category and on this basis this category has been divided into two parts: -
Natural Mineral Water category: - the water is packaged from the source and no processing is done
Ordinary Bottles water category: - It is processes in the using the chemicals and then packed in bottles for selling.
Himalayan is the market leader in the mineral water category in India, and before being acquired by TATA the segments being focused by it included: Institutional customers and the International Markets.
But after its acquisition TATA’s had plans to target the consumer markets and in that market also, they specifically wanted to target those people who want to have safe and totally natural mineral water and were ready to pay a price higher than the others for it. This forms the part of behavioral segmentation process where the customers are segmented on the basis of the benefits they seek.
Then there were people who had Himalayan water because they want to be categorized as fashionable in their social circle. Then there were segments on the basis of sizes: -One litre bottle, 500 ml bottle, and pet bottles of the size of 10 to 20 litres also which are used by institutional markets.
The consumer for this product could mainly be in the age group of 20-35 years, and most of the customer who are health conscious may be the customers for this product along with the educated people who give more value to hygeine.
The target market for the product included the following segments: -
Institutional customer segment: which included hotels, airlines and other organized players like theatres, caterers, clubs, corporates, etc. who want to provide their customers with the safe and natural mineral water to have which has been brought directly from the source without any chemical treatment.
Then the Consumer segment: this included that class of people who were willing to pay a higher price to have completely natural water to drink both nationally and internationally.
Then they were using the variety of on ground events in key markets at upmarket bars, restaurants and upmarket malls to reach their target markets.
The company concentrated on metro markets where it thinks a focused approach in affluent pockets and select outlets, which allowed it to reap significant benefits.
“We are now planning to leverage upmarket spas and beauty stores and even select upmarket bookstores to connect with our target audience,” added Sankaranarayanan. (Source: By Priyanka Dasgupta Brahma & Yassir A Pitalwalla Jul 07 2009 , Mumbai, Financial Chronicle)
But they have plans to gradually reach out to bigger mass market who will be willing to shell out Rs 25 for bottled natural mineral water.
Thus while choosing their targeting strategy they have chosen to go ahead with the product specialization targeting strategy.
Though Himalayan brand of mineral water was trying to position itself in the market as a brand that provides you with the most natural of the mineral water that you can get in the market but after the association of the name of TATA with the product, this positioning got an additional boost as the name TATA in India is a brand that is associated with Trust so this indirectly is lending that attribute to the Himalayan brand of mineral water also.
Himalayan natural mineral water’s simple, yet striking bottle design was a creation of Rediffusion DY&R, and has been actualised by SIPA, Italy. This simple packaging also strengthened the positioning by conveying a message through a message on the package’s label itself.
Even the television commercials that were used strengthened the same positioning with the statement in the ad using the statement: “ Go Back to the nature with untouched, unprocessed pristine water from the Himalayas that took 20 years gathering nature’s good ness for you. Himalayan Natural mineral water.” The ad ends with the new bottle design being displayed along with the slogan “Live Natural” and the name of TATA appearing at the bottom saying “A TATA product”.
Another strength of Himalayan is the brand name. Himalayan offers instant imagery of the Himalayas and brings in the visuals of Cool, Pure, Indian and Natural imagery.
This message is strengthened through the statement on the label: -“I spent my youth never questioning destiny that led me from the top of the Sivalik range of the foothills of the Himalayas. Nor the decades I spent gathering the natural goodness of minerals like sodium, calcium and potassium. Where I come from, destiny is a good thing. And now that yours has led you to me, don’t hesitate to drink up.”
Differentiation was done using the bottle design and visual design to differentiate using the label color and graphics and the pink colour being used on the label was the most appealing to the prospects of the brand that attracted the prospects a lot. The USP of Himalayan Natural water is that it is naturally pure and has a distinct taste derived from the source of origin.
This strong positioning is being conveyed using the attribute/benefit positioning.
4 P’s of marketing mix
Beginning with the first P i.e. Product, the product itself in this case was a very strong part of the whole marketing mix which had given the company an edge over the competitors till now atleast in the institutional business because of its very unique positioning.
The various features of the product are as follows: -
1. Himalayan natural mineral water was available in six pack sizes namely, 2 ltr, 1.5 ltr, 1 ltr, 750 ml, 500 ml, and 200 ml.
2. Himalayan natural mineral water’s simple, yet striking bottle design was a creation of Rediffusion DY&R, and had been actualized by SIPA, Italy. This packaging formed a very important part of the product decision.
3. The water was sourced from a large pristine and protected acquifer and it still is, which flows well below the earth’s surface. The water is collected in the catchment area and travels through rocks, clay and soil, thereby collecting the minerals available therein and then it is bottled. This process takes over a period of 20 years. The acquifer has a recharge capacity of 1bn litres every year.
4. The group plans to introduce functional and enhanced water variants of Himalayan to ensure that it remains geared up for competition at all market segments.
The brand mythology was captured eloquently on every bottle of Himalayan natural mineral water, narrating the story of water crafted with a careless disregard for time — one that nature has spent years to perfect. This journey personifies the brand and seeks to make the consumer one with its source — the Himalayas — with its inherent and pristine goodness that sets it apart from ordinary water. ‘Live Natural’ aptly captures this brand credo.
The 750ml bottles were priced at Rs.25 at multiplexes and Rs.18 at retail markets and a 1 litre bottle is still priced at Rs. 25 a litre for the retail market.
The pricing of Himalayan though was higher than the other normal bottled water which come at a price of Rs. 10-15 but its price was very much competitive against the competitors of natural mineral water brands like Evian manufactured by Danone and Perrier by Nestle as it was priced at 1/4th rate of these products so it is the cheapest and most advertised mineral water available in the country.
But when prices are compared to the other normal bottled water brands then the pricing strategy of Himalayan comes out to be “premium pricing” strategy.
The plant located at its Dhaula Kuan factory premises in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. The company has plans for future to expand its retail distribution network by appointing consignee and distributors agents in various parts of the country.
But the initial distribution plans began with using the existing distribution network of Tata Tea in reaching out to the Indian consumers. The brand tried to leverage the intense distribution strength of Tata Tea. The new look Himalayan entered almost 19500 Tata Tea retail outlets as well as modern retail stores in Mumbai followed by other regions in the next few months in a short span of time because of the strength of distribution network of TATA tea.
The Tata group’s beverages business started rapidly expanding the distribution of its natural mineral water brand ‘Himalayan’. It aimed to make the predominantly institutional-focused brand into a retail brand of choice. The distribution network decided by the company for retail penetration come under ‘A’ category retail outlets, modern retail (malls), hypermarts chemists and high-end neighbourhood grocery shops
The company started expanding its distribution network with starting distribution to the top six metros and cities such as Pune, Goa and Kochi, which attract a fair bit of international tourist traffic. In cities such as Mumbai, they increased their distribution in relevant areas by almost four times.
The pre-existing distribution network being used by the company includes distributing the product through: 5 Star Hotels: The Taj, The Oberoi, Marriott, InterContinental, Airlines: Jet Airways, Multiplexes: Adlabs, Embassies etc., Fine-dine restaurants: Zodiac Grill, China Gate, Golden Dragon, Indiana Jones among others.
To achieve their actual vision of making Himalayan a global brand with a global reach TATA beverages division has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Pepsi co. for handling the marketing, sales and distribution of Pepsi Co throughout the world. This would give the brand Himalayan a global reach through an expert in the distribution of liquids beverage company, thereby enabling the brand to achieve its vision of having global footprint in the global beverage industry.
After the relaunch the brand promotion began with the running of a television campaign across the country in which the Himalayan brand has taken the tagline "Live Natural" highlighting the main strength of the brand. This promotional campaign was designed by Rediffusion DYR which had helped design the bottle and design a Rs One crore promotional campaign including a number of advertisements by the agency.
a) The brand is promoted by highlighting the fact that it is untouched and unprocessed, with a unique taste acquired over 20 years of percolation, as it makes its way to the underground aquifer located in Himalayas
b) The brand mythology was captured eloquently on every bottle of Himalayan natural mineral water, narrating the story of water crafted with a careless disregard for time — one that nature has spent years to perfect. This journey personifies the brand and seeks to make the consumer one with its source — the Himalayas — with its inherent and pristine goodness that sets it apart from ordinary water.
c) ‘Live Natural’ aptly captures this brands credo
Thus on the whole it seems to me that TATA was very successful in getting the brand re-launched in India and it seems that it will fulfill both its dreams of becoming a major player in the natural mineral water segment and throughout the world.
It still remains to be seen that whether TATA will be able to get into the global market and be a player that can redefine the natural mineral bottled water segment of the overall bottled water industry.