[l'acqua a km zero, 2:07', you always wanted to learn how to read Italian, confess]
There's nothing more powerful than the conversation in your head. That's the first thing you need to remember when you set out to build interactions with others. Great brand creative connects you with that story -- and now it does it through the understanding of our social behavior.
It touches an emotional chord.
People choose bottled water because they feel safer, says an industry spokesman in response to a campaign designed to move people to tap water now being embraced by many regions in Italy (Emilia Romagna is my region). According to this study on the global bottle market by the Beverage Marketing Association, Italy is one of the European countries with the highest % bottled water consumption globally.
More than two years ago, Charles Fishman wrote a hard hitting article in Fast Company about bottled water. His research found that (edited to insert date):
We buy bottled water more often for the bottle - portability - than the water - quality. And we're buying the story the water brand is telling us about its origin, super powers from vitamins and minerals, and exotic brands and bottle shapes.
Any left brained business person will tell you we buy from facts. They maintain that if you only uncover the statistics and present them in a professional and orderly way, you can convince customers to open up their wallets.
Consider this (statistics from the FC article, 2007):
- We spent more on Poland Spring, Fiji Water, Evian, Aquafina, and Dasani than we spent on iPods or movie tickets -- $16 billion
- 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi
- In 2006, we each drank 28.3 gallons of bottled water -- 18 half-liter bottles a month. We drink more bottled water than milk, or coffee, or beer
- while the United States is the single biggest consumer in the world's $50 billion bottled-water market, it is the only one of the top four -- the others are Brazil, China, and Mexico--that has universally reliable tap water
- if the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000
- We pitch into landfills 38 billion water bottles a year -- in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic
- We're moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week -- a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water
In the article there are also many stories to support both side of the choice - bottled or tap water. What changes behavior though?
Is it these facts packaged as videos and charts, and nice brochures? Is it the stories of the people of Fiji or any other place where the water is sourced? Maybe you create a page on Facebook, a Twitter account, and start broadcasting information. Would that do it? Perhaps those of the mayor of Venice, who campaigns for tap water in tongue-in-cheek ads? What if your colleagues start bringing an aluminum refillable container to the office, would others follow?
Which strategy would connect best to a change in habits?
One more - in the context of all this data, and the stories that make it come to life, is water a commodity you can differentiate and sell? Or is it a precious gift?
© 2006-2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.