The health-crazed nation may be spending less money on soda nowadays, but its still craving fizzy drinks.
Cue soda’s bubbly, healthier, replacement: sparkling water.
For consumers who are all about natural, minimally processed products, sparkling water appears to be the billion-dollar answer to our decade-long addiction to sugary soda. Sparkling water sales have spiked in the past few years. Between 2009 and 2014, the volume of carbonated bottled water sold in the U.S. has increased by 56.4 percent.
But even more interesting is that these sparkling water brands are not new kids on the block. Many of the major players have been around for decades, and are enjoying the renewed success of the category with some great marketing plays and refreshing strategies for millennial health-conscious consumers.
Now the Number 1 brand of flavored bottled water and a quarter of the market share, La Croix’s rise happened without any traditional advertising.
An industry expert told Business Insider that millennials are “suspicious” of traditional advertising methods and that LaCroix played right into the millennial craving for authenticity and discovery with pure social media marketing, paying influential bloggers and fitness icons rather than airing commercials. Inc. says “LaCroix doesn’t spend big on TV spots or advertising campaigns. Instead, the brand has put itself smack dab in the middle of where its target audience is.” Instagram is one of those places where LaCroix’s neon colored cans have a popular and shared presence.
The Seattle-based beverage company TalkingRain is an iconic brand in the Northwest United States, but owes its national success to its line of Sparkling ICE drinks that has been part of their portfolio for 20 years. One of the first beverage companies in the U.S. to eliminate high fructose corn syrup, now has one of the fastest growing beverage brands in the country, TalkingRain’s Sparkling ICE.
CEO Kevin Klock noted that after funding an ambitious marketing program to “create a better brand experience” sales jumped from $10 million to $350 million.
Klock stated that their Sparkling ICE brands stay closely connected to their customers to maintain their company’s promise to deliver a refreshing taste. They even work with existing customers to develop their new flavors (often a two-year process). That’s a real commitment to consumer engagement.
Polar Beverages (one of my personal favorites), founded in 1882, revamped their image and boosted sales when they figured out that millennials wanted flavored soda alternatives.
They released a wider variety of flavors and changed their product’s generic green packaging to brighter, flashier, colors.