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Selected Case

published: 28 Jun 2019

Abstract:
In the non-alcoholic beverage industry, barriers to entry are low as production is relatively easy. Although thousands of new drinks flood the market each year, the non-alcoholic segment provides fertile ground for innovative start-ups. In a mass-market dominated by big players, branding is key. Martin Donald Murray created waterdropR a small cube made up of natural aromas, superfood extracts and vitamins that is added to water, to provide a healthy drinking option. He builds the business on a lean budget, but knows that branding will determine the success of his innovation. Since the cubes can easily be sold online, Martin tests the brand on the Austrian market through trial and error. The fact that packaging is 100% recyclable and eliminates plastic bottles (cutting CO2 emissions dramatically) adds an environmentally-friendly dimension. The case follows Martin from the ‘lightbulb moment’ (on a flight with limited drinks options) to the point where his small team is readying to launch what he believes will be a game-changer in the non-alcoholic beverage industry: a microdrink that makes drinking water more appealing.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1) Brand identity and positioning for start-ups: How to… a) Build a strong brand identity with limited resources. b) Leverage market trends and customer intelligence as a start-up. c) Position the brand in the market compared to competitors. 2) The importance of sustainability in today’s world a) Could sustainability be a key point of differentiation in the beverage industry? b) What should a sustainable product look like? c) Should the brand positioning just focus on this aspect? 3) Digital marketing and branding: How to… a) Build a brand across channels with a small budget. b) Create content that is engaging for key target segments. c) Leverage word-of-mouth and community marketing using social media, gamification and mobile strategies. 4) Customer-centric strategies: How to… a) Challenge incumbents by leveraging agile and customer-centric strategies. b) Leverage consumer insights and research for new product ideas at low cost. c) Integrate seamless omni-channel strategies in the early stages of a start-up. 5) Entrepreneurship challenges a) Brand or product – which is more important? b) Where should start-ups invest their resources? c) What advantages (or disadvantages) do start-ups have over incumbents when entering an established industry? 6) International brand extension: a) How to grow brands internationally with limited resources b) How much ‘brand deviation’ can one afford?

Keywords:
Microdrink, Food and Beverage, Digital Disruption, Sutainability, Lean Management, Agile, Entrepreneurship, Brand Identity, Digital Marketing, Digital Branding, Customer Centricity, Health


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