May 6, 2013 Leave a comment
There are many companies that embrace driving social causes with their products, aiming to make the world a better place by donating a portion of their profits to for sustainability initiatives. Nika Water is one such company that does this, and really tries to help as much and as quickly as possible with their social mandate. Nika Water’s website details that the company donates 100% of their profits for clean water, education, and sanitation projects in developing nations. BevWire was given an opportunity to interview Jordan Mellul, VP Operations for Nika Water – and through this interview you will see that their focus is really on improving sustainability and environmental causes. Read about my insightful interview with Jordan below, ranging from Nika’s product positioning, to their marketing strategy, and their distribution strategy.
BevWire: While Nika’s unique selling proposition is a social mandate to not only be carbon neutral, but also to donate profits to help solve environmental problems in developing countries, what makes Nika better than other products?
Jordan Mellul: To be honest, we try to keep it simple at Nika Water. While our product is a reverse osmosis/UV light purified water, we really do want the focus to be on the brand and message that it carries. Our aim is to reach the mass population and appeal to the widest demographic possible. After all, Nika is set to donate our profits. By specializing, and thus limiting, our consumers, we have less of a chance of creating larger funds to donate. Compared to those that are benefiting from our efforts, we are humbled to even be able to discuss water choice in such detail.
BW: Nika Water’s website mentions that part of your strategy is to leverage marketing partnerships and social media to raise awareness of these environmental causes. As such, Nika Water has partnered with World Vision and Free the Children among other organizations. What type of inventive marketing partnerships and social media activities has Nika Water implemented?
JM: Unlike most typical and traditional water companies, Nika has always set itself apart by how we promote and share our brand’s message. We know that educating the consumer on what choosing Nika Water means is the primary goal. By marketing in the way that young, energetic juice, tea, and energy drinks go about things, we are able to show that the water category has the opportunity to be relevant and cool as well. By speaking face to face with people at street fairs, festivals, and other events, we can share our story directly. We have partnered, not only with world-class NGOs to show how social entrepreneurialism is a new way to make global change, but also clothing, accessory, and lifestyle brands that help make a difference too. Social media has been used at every level and intertwined into all of our efforts to create awareness. By holding contests, promoting other like-minded groups, and keeping open, honest conversations active with supporters, Nika does what no other bottled water does to be in touch.
BW: In terms of product availability, the website mentions that Nika can be found in natural food stores, delis, cafes among other distribution channels. Is there any particular retailers stores I can direct the readers to go if they would like to purchase Nika water? Also, what is Nika’s plan for expansion into the traditional grocery/drug/mass retailers?
JM: Currently, we are focused on building our brand in the types of places that have an independent feel and are staples of their community. With a cause-based product like ours, we seek quality accounts over simply quantity. It’s the owners and customers in these locations that connect with Nika’s entire appeal. It’s because of this, that it isn’t so easy to point people directly to where to find Nika, other than their “corner shops”. We may have plans to do open opportunities with more traditional grocery/drug/mass retailers down the road, but not until we feel we can really compete on the level that it requires.
BW: While Nika’s website has a “Shop Nika” section that allows for online purchasing, are there any plans for international expansion into Canadian retailers? If so, when would this be?
JM: Nika’s sales goals are taken territory by territory. Still in our infancy, it is important to stabilize each market that we venture into, before looking to expand. Our goals include covering the major US cities before attempting to break into the Canadian scene. However, with the support of one of our first and largest NGO partners, Free The Children, being based in Toronto and well-known across all the provinces, we’re confident that the support would be there almost immediately. In regards to the merchandise that we peripherally sell however, Canadian followers of Nika are welcome to purchase that now and wear their support!
BW: Last question, are there any plans for line extensions or product innovations?
JM: While it has always been discussed internally, there are no plans being put into action at this moment. We really want people to focus on what we do now, and build our business’ foundation, before becoming more creative and branching out. Water is simply our vehicle at the moment. It is the means to an end. If trends or experience dictated that another product would be more suitable to generate income for our NGO partners, we would definitely adapt accordingly.
Thanks so much for your time Jordan, and thank you Olive PR Solutions for arranging this!