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How Bisleri made ₹7,000 Cr from clean water? ✨
Insights into building billion dollar commodity business.
1993: ThumsUp sold to Coca Cola for 186 Cr 🥤
2022: Bisleri to be sold to Tata for ~ ₹7,000 Cr ✨
The story how Bisleri made clean water valuable ⬇️
Quick context 🗓
Tata Group hinted that it may acquire the Bisleri for ₹6,000 to ₹7,000 Cr. Interestingly, the brand was bought originally by it's current owner, Ramesh Chauhan, for ₹4 Lakh. He is the same man behind both ThumsUp & Bisleri, apart from GoldSpot & Maaza.
How big is bottled water market? 📈
Over ~20,000 Cr & Bisleri owns upto 32% of this market. This story goes to the bottom of it.
Here's how Bisleri made it big ⬇️
First, understanding what it's selling 🧠
When Bisleri was introduced to Indian's, it was never sold as "water" but "clean water". Then came into the picture "Added minerals" & "300% added oxygen" & so on. It constantly has pivoted into marketing pitch by status quo.
Second, cracking the early adopter 💡
When it started as a B2B play, it helped Bisleri move volumes without much marketing. Focusing on corporate clients & build trust. Consumer side of business came in later when money to invest into marketing came from cash flow.
Third, the logistics piece 🚚
Most logistics player wanted to carry high value liquids, such as soda. Bisleri owners understood this insight early on & made sure they own the logistics in-house to solve for long term incentives.
Fourth, pricing elasticity 💰
Bisleri was always the luxury product at the start & it had to go to common people, asap. To get to this, Bisleri kicked off a ₹5 bottle (500ml) which shot off growth by 400%. Plus, it adopted location based pricing - meaning - you will get different price point at the airport / railway station / restaurants. The prices were highly co-related with ease of access to clean water.
Fifth, first mover advantage 🥇
Bisleri was the first brand to introduce clean, mineral bottled water product to the Indian market. It made sure it used this positioning to become a noun "bottled water = Bisleri" similar to "Xerox = photocopy". Ask yourself, how many times you order a Bisleri even when you are buying any random bottled water?
Sixth, class apart distribution 🏬
Be it the 15 manufacturing plants strategically located to solve for faster last mile distribution or owning the fleet & solving for demand predictions, Bisleri does it the best & has been beating the competitions over the last few decades.
Lastly, boringly predictable quality ✅
Drink a Bisleri in Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai or Delhi. It will taste the exact same, every freaking time. It takes insane efforts to get to such predictable quality standard. Bisleri does it every freaking day. It's built the right trust with users.
That was the billion dollar Bisleri story✨
Building a commodity business is hard. Most internet products struggle to find the right product fit & scale their distribution. The decision framework to solve this problem is to understand the points of parity, differentiation & weakness compared to competition & then understand what matters to the ideal customers. We go in-depth into building distribution for highly competitive product categories in the GrowthX Experience. Join the tribe & you’ll thank me later.
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