Private Equity and Edtech - what do they have in common and why they need to be built for anti-scale?
by Naveen February 7, 2023
It sounds crazy that Bisleri’s history goes back more than 50 years – it required a visionary founder to build a brand for India, around bottled water at a time the cost-conscious market preferred carrying water bottles rather than pay money to buy water (which sounded like a crazy thing to do).
1. Bisleri was an Italian brand that had entered India and was struggling to sell bottled water to Indians – the market was comfortable carrying their own bottles of water. Mr. Ramesh Chauhan, who was bottling and selling Thums Up, Gold Spot, and Limca decided to buy the brand as there was no soft drink company was complete without soda. The name was used and 2 variants of Bisleri Soda was launched, carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water.
2. The hardest part for Bisleri was they had to create a market where there was none. It took Mr. Chauan a good part of 25 years to build the brand and establish a market with heavy investments on advertising and ad campaigns
3. Mr. Chauhan in the early 90s decided to sell the soft drink bottling to Coke and focus his efforts on building the Bisleri brand. As a result of this sale, he had to discontinue bottling carbonated water too.
4. Bottled water was always thought of as for the elite. This changed in the mid 90s when a 500ml bottle was introduced for Rs 5 – this resulted in a huge 400% growth of sales for the brand.
5. Any growth in the sales, saw the brand owners invest in a mix of innovative packaging, R&D in the form of new variants and smart options for the consumer built around price points. Bisleri especially won the trust of their consumers by constant innovation around tamper-proof seals for the bottle which was one of the biggest challenges for the bottled water market.
6. In the early 2000s, there were multiple reports stating Kinley (Coke’s brand) had overtaken Bisleri in terms of market share
7. One of the most interesting aspects of this category (bottled water) is there are more than 2500 players (unorganized and unknown names) all selling the same product at the same price, which makes it extremely challenging to scale and garner market share.
8. Over the next 10 years, Bisleri continued to invest in flavors and variants alongside investing heavily in advertising. The words ‘Stay Safe’ and ‘Stay Protected’ are two such campaigns that are synonymous with Bisleri.
9. There have been multiple suitors alongside serious interest placed for acquiring the brand, but Mr. Chauhan has been steadfast around not acting on any. In fact, his daughter Jayanthi Chauhan has taken over the operations to scale the brand both in India and internationally.
10. Today the brand operates with a turnover north of 2000 Cr and with more than 350 distributors focussing on the brand, Bisleri is on its way to create a 1Bn$ Turnover brand in the next few years.
Some of Bisleri’s brand campaigns:Disclosure:
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