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  • Christina Rüter

A mineral water dares to venture into cola territory

How far is it sensible and credible to extend a brand?




"Discover our dark side": Gerolsteiner Brunnen expands its brand into the cola segment.


Gerolsteiner mineral water: A NATURAL PRODUCT "ORIGINALLY PURE AND UNCOMPROMISED" says the brand positioning and introduces cola.


When we think of mineral water, we associate it with


👉 Health and well-being

👉 Naturalness

👉 Purity

👉 Strength and wellness.


When we think of cola, we associate


👉 Cheering up and energy

👉 Sweetness and flavour

👉 Leisure and enjoyment

👉 Youth and culture


To what extent do you successfully expand a brand core into additional market areas?


Gerolsteiner is a successful mineral water company:


👍 In 2023, market leadership in the branded mineral water segment was expanded to 10.2% market share.

👍 Sales of mineral water and soft drinks increased by 5.8% to 336 million euros.

👍 The brand strategy includes a focus on expanding reach among younger target groups (up to 29 years of age) with an increase of 36.5 % since 2019.

👍 According to the Nielsen retail panel, sales in the cola segment are growing by +2.4%, with turnover increasing by 10.2%.

In this respect, it is understandable that Gerolsteiner is also interested in strengthening its growth course with the cola segment.

The market research carried out revealed the following with regard to the cola launch*:

👉 Gerolsteiner Cola and Cola-Mix passed a blind test against competitors in a flavour market research.

👉 Particularly praised for: "real cola note", "pleasantly tart", "refreshing", "high-quality flavour".

👉 Consumers see good brand fit; purchase interest between 70-88%, above benchmark for new products.


We all know that market research is not always right.


To what extent do Gerolsteiner's brand values and associations fit with Coke?


The brand values "pure, unadulterated, natural" are obviously not suitable for the lifestyle-driven cola segment.


This can create cognitive dissonance among consumers and weaken the brand image.


☝ In addition, the cola market is dominated by giants. Entering this market is therefore a major challenge if you are serious about it. fritz-kulturgüter GmbH has successfully managed this, even if they still have a relatively small market share. But hashtag#FritzKola has built up a rebellious brand culture that gives consumers a clear reason to buy.


What reason do I have to buy a Gerolsteiner Cola?


Flavour is important, but not everything, especially in these lifestyle segments. Or is it simply the "take-away" business via the drinks wholesalers?


What do you think, will Gerolsteiner Coke be a brand fit and a success?

Would you buy the cola?

And is the claim "discover our dark side" appropriate in these dark times?


LinkedIn Post: 29.02.2024 by Christina Rüter














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