In an earlier post BevWire broke news that Glaceau’s smartwater would enter the Canadian market in Toronto and Vancouver. Glaceau probably decided that those two markets responded well to this product (and why wouldn’t they?) so with that successful entry, smartwater is now being listed nationwide and will soon be found at your local supermarket, grocery store and convenience store (and probably at a bunch of other places as well).
The 591ml size was extremely successful so now it will appear in the 1L bottle also. The company is trying to duplicate the success it has received in the US, where smartwater owns over 45% of the premium water category. With that in mind, what will the other premium water companies do? Will Fiji, Evian and the likes feel the need to offer promotions or advertise more heavily to combat smartwater’s arrival? Keep in mind that premium water is not a category where offering price promotions will help the brand. As a premium product, the more you lower prices or advertise, the more mainstream your product becomes and thus loses the luxury status. So what can a premium water brand do to maintain it’s appeal and status, especially when there is a new competitor? For now, it is too early to see how the market will respond to smartwater. Even then, lowering prices are not an option.
The solution may be advertising, or marketing strategy in general. For example, both Evian and Fiji use different marketing strategies to promote their products. Even though both water brands advertise in the mainstream media through TV and magazines, Evian tends to use sponsorship and designer glass bottles more while Fiji relies on celebrity endorsements more. The key is to have a unique selling point where no one else can duplicate, and then market it to the target audience. So Evian will likely have to publicize their sponsorships more or find more sporting events to sponsor. Fiji will likely need to get their products in the hands of more celebrities when they are out and about.
Time will tell what actually happens, but for now, head down to your 7-Eleven or Whole Foods and pick up a bottle of smartwater to refresh yourself!