Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pure water’

or dreadful delays would be another title which is not quite as disparaging of our current website. There’s little wrong with a static website – particularly if people manage to find the reasonably prominent ‘visit our founder’s blog’ link where they can then access this particular oracle. Equally, there’s a lot more it could do if we integrated this blog and other online content within the site, all accessed from a central url.

We chose wordpress as the site platform some time ago and I then worked on quite a tight brief with an exceptionally talented young student from Sussex Down’s College who I met during last year’s Aquapax viral media programme. NB. You can google search this year’s submissions on you tube – type ‘within the last month’ to see this year’s clips – they’re typically fun and one in particular has already attracted as many views as last year’s winner took a whole year to achieve!

In any event, my chosen (he volunteered actually) student’s competence to deliver the site was never in doubt, but I guess with hindsight, he always had too much on his plate, where the fact our website was to be a reference site for him (rather than a commercial project) meant we were obliged to wait…

Here we are 12 months down the road (sounds ludicrous now I see it in type) and he’s politely baled out, leaving us with an unforeseen (and unbudgeted for) dilemma…  So I’ve dusted off the original brief (which pretty much stands) and sent it off to a seemingly talented freelance wordpress developer in Brighton.

Now we wait again to see if she can fit us in, when she might fit us in and what she might charge for completing the task.  Teaching myself CSS might be another way forward, but there are too many other draws on my time right now, so that’s an unlikely solution! 

awarded to Just Drinking Water for AQUAPAX

Did I mention our A5 postcard (available in the ‘downloads’ section above) we send out to communicate what Aquapax is and why it’s a good idea has been shortlisted for ‘the green awards’ in the best direct response category? Sadly I can’t make the award dinner in town, but I’ve written to ask if we can sponsor the water to showcase Aquapax to those who haven’t yet seen it.

That’s my outlook calendar calling me in the background to get back to work… I’ll up-date when we have a solution 🙂

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The media’s full of ‘LFW’ and quite right too – it’s something London’s managed to retain on the international kudos stakes and no matter how hard our bankers seemingly try to screw up the nation’s reputation, creativity continues to flourish!

We had a number of requests for sponsorship support this year which is encouraging in a way considering the folk who must have come to know us through our limited Estethica alliance over the past couple of years.

This year’s ‘beautiful people’ sipping our wonderful water were the guests at the Nolcha Fashion Lounge at the Trafalgar Hotel, held in association with Bel Esprit, Gina Conway AVEDA and AMAKA, all co-ordinated through my lovely friend Lucy at the independent and supreme quality label Tammam. This was one of two events with Gina Conway AVEDA – but the brand is a favourite of mine…

We also assisted the extremely well patronised Ecoluxe Show held at One Aldwych and opened by Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez along with an entourage of journalists… The Ecoluxe event showcased some of the worlds foremost and celebrated ethical designers, hence the celebrity vistors who tend to know their stuff… 

And at an altogether more sedate pace we’ve again worked with our good friends Sam and Valerio over at Gallery Fumi in Tabernacle Street and at their private space on Hoxton Square.

There were other visitors sampling Aquapax at some of the more discrete shows in town, but if I write about those, they’d lose some of their intimacy next year… 😉

Read Full Post »

Reading Seth’s blog earlier on the endless search for wow, his closing paragraph (quoted including his punctuation) makes a lot of sense to me… “In the race between ‘who’ and ‘how many’, who usually wins – if action is your goal. Find the right people, those that are willing to listen to what you have to say, and ignore the masses that are just going to race on, unchanged.”

As a challenger brand, we are completely focussed on who, and for the time being at least, we largely ignore the how many; as independents, there’s little prospect and indeed little point in us going flat-out to spend money we don’t have to convince people to try AQUAPAX if they prefer flavoured / carbonated beverages, or if they really don’t have any feeling for the purity and integrity of our product and what it stands for. If you’re cool with plastic then why would we want to give you a free AQUAPAX?

The essence of what Seth wrote is to do with branding and brand identification / acceptance by the market, yet at another level, Seth is wrong. Marketing is just one facet of business and while it’s the one we consider most important, a recent investment of $22M by Siva Group for 50% of a Norwegian water brand shows that smoke and mirrors (wow by any other name) still applies if you’re trying to seduce an investment manager within a $3Bn portfolio and seemingly little grasp of reality.

The brand in question bought retail market share at the expense of margin (and at real cost) with a ‘me too’ product under increasing ecological scrutiny, yet the investment community sees the mass distribution achieved and believes this will translate into long-term sustainable (presumably profitable?) market share.

With a low value product like water, I question how a production base in Norway can translate into a globally competitive and profitable business for a mid range brand, but that’s really not our problem… the investment managers who made the call probably have their own plans to sell on to some other gullible fund manager when the time is right for them.

We can’t consider the specifics of ‘precisely how’ as we follow our path – the one Seth and others in touch with the zeitgeist advocate as correct. We’re turning over every stone and moving in the right direction, in the UK, France and in Holland. AQUAPAX (our award-winning natural mineral water, that’s packaged in paper cartons and which is so pure it’s even suitable for babies) is the change we want everyone to experience. While we are proud of AQUAPAX appearing as the mineral water of choice in 5 star resorts on the Maldives and the Caribbean, we’re also intrigued that we haven’t yet had the umpteen million dollar offer for our shares!

It is pleasing though, that we keep on touching folk who care enough about what we’re doing, to pass on our message through their own free will and belief that it’s right and that our time has come. We also have some larger scale distribution up our sleeves to soon make it a little easier for you to refresh on the move without feeling guilty. I wonder how investment managers define all that within their ‘wow based’ business plans?

Read Full Post »

There’s a degree of hypocrisy among many well meaning folk with fundamentally good intentions but closed minds. They hear or read a little about something and become disciples of the cause, without really understanding anything about the process or ‘thing’ they’re advocating.

Everything is fundamentally recyclable or capable of re-use for some purpose other than which it was originally created, and at the risk of being called a heretic, being recyclable is not ‘the holy grail’ when making a product choice. The order for thinking people who really want to minimise their planetary impact should be (a.) do I need to consume this? (b.) is this the most sustainable option? (c.) am I compromising my personal tastes or quality standards? (d.) do I have the means to afford my choice?

Embracing product sustainability as opposed to base level recyclability is the next step we need to teach the masses, which is quite a technically challenging communication to execute.

Most folk don’t want detail; they’re happy to know a little about something and to close their minds to any ignorance. That is human nature, so we shouldn’t knock it, but I do so appreciate consumers who take the time to ask why, and who more importantly, open their minds to listen to the answer.

To bring today’s piece around to bottled water (as you’re expecting me to); portable packaged water is a unique product within a media driven customer psyche. The ‘moral’ decision for ‘planet conscious’ consumers is whether to ever buy into this product category at all. Bear witness the small Australian town of Bundanoon’s recent headline grabbing bottled water ban, which I’ve previously blogged on.

Considering the alternatives are either fattening, contain sugars, additives or alcohol, most thinking people will accept the necessary evil of a pure beverage as a distress solution when there is no tap accessible. That doesn’t oblige consumption; it simply allows choice for when one doesn’t choose to hydrate with any of the aforementioned alternatives.

As customer focussed businesses, retailers and caterers are obliged to service customer needs, so they cannot be criticised too severely for stocking this product category, however, their commitment to CSR should be challenged…

A well thought out CSR policy must drive a sustainable procurement approach – one where satisfying customer needs in an ecologically sensitive way, without compromising product quality, is appropriately weighted on the ‘decision scorecard’ being used.

A parochial approach to bottled water so often leads to customer choice being restricted to whichever bottled water is packaged closest to where it’s being consumed, irrespective of its quality or true ecological impact. This geographic weighting ignores the genuine attributes of products which often come from further away, yet are proven to ‘cost less’ on any correctly weighted ecologically motivated score card.

Think inside the box – we’re only custodians of this maginificent planet, and it really does make sense! 🙂

Read Full Post »

yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

As always, there’s been a lot going on in Aquapax world over the past few weeks. It’s the silly season of shows at weekends and store samplings mid week, so taking a holiday has been the furthest thing from my mind, despite jovial e-mails from folk who read my blog wondering when I’m back.

We had a really successful 3 day Hatfield House Country Show this year, where the good fortune of being positioned next to Miles (the curry sauce man) certainly raised our sampling customer numbers. There was a special atmosphere in the Food Hall, as a few of us took turns at broadcasting the Ashes criscket score to visitors (and one another), causing spontaneous nervous laughter and the occassional ripple of applause. A particularly uplifting moment of the show was when an off duty representative of a well known supermarket engaged with me on why I created Aquapax, leading to an exchange of cards towards the end of the conversation… (watch this space)

The bank holiday weekend just gone was less illustrious, as we took a last minute stand in the Food Hall at the Stoneleigh Park Festival. The event has so much potential, but alas the Food Hall wasn’t laid out terribly well… Life is what we make of it, and in this instance, the time we had as ‘traders’ allowed us to get to know one another socially. The ‘Dunkirk spirit’ kicked in and the ‘celebrity chefs’ coordinated by the professionals at ‘chefs on stage’  were generous in their support of all the trade at the show, encouraging the public to engage and sample our wares. There are a lot worse ways to spend a bank holiday weekend and I’m grateful for the spontaneous social time ‘Neil waterguy’ spent with ‘Curry Sauce John’ & ‘Chocolate Heaven Lucy’.

Speaking of chefs, I met a wonderful Chef called Claire Harbron and get on with her like a lost friend. We’ve got a great alliance going with her and her fellow professionals at the dalston kitchen. They create the iconic ‘dk’ lunch boxes seen at the best photo shoots and outdoor events across town, where it’s a fantastic accolade they’ve chosen Aquapax as their water in the box! Kind of sums up their quality proposition really, which shouldn’t be any surprises for anyone who’s tried Aquapax.

Got a lot more web work to do in the coming weeks with my webtech friend Ian. We’ve discovered a typo on our French site (read carefully) and we also need to create a page for our new Dutch distribution alliance. Also want to plan the site development as the revolution is growing now and I really want to communicate that growth to keep our new recruits smilling. In the meanwhile, here’s something else to keep you smiling – our latest internet advertisement ‘the guillotine’ It’s all go in water world… 🙂

Read Full Post »

Even this far down the road, I still meet a number of people who don’t get the Aquapax proposition and who sadly won’t allow however many seconds it would take to look at our pack design and fathom it out.

official Aquapax logo

official Aquapax logo

The proposition could be perceived as too complicated I suppose, so I keep on trying to simplify my pitch description to capture the essence of what Aquapax is in however many milli seconds people give me.
Current soundbites embrace: “It’s one of the purest mineral water’s in the world – even suitable for infants!” or “It’s pure mineral water sealed airtight and protected from light which keeps it tasting fresh!” or “It’s premium quality natural mineral water in the lowest carbon impact package option on the planet!” or “It’s pure portable water in a leach free re-usable package!” or “I’m an environmentalist and hate plastic – this is my answer to the scourge of plastic bottled water!” or “We won best bottled water of 2008 and it’s not even in a bottle!” or “It’s natural mineral water in a carton, so it stays colder for longer and you can re-fill it when it’s empty!”… there’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea.
While all the soundbites are true, as a brutally honest lady told me earlier today, they’re clearly not breaking through at the level of the masses, where sensational news or celebrity association or selling through years of advertising propaganda are what’s actually piercing the public’s earplugged consciousness. (she didn’t say the bit about ear plugged consciousness – that was me trying to paint a picture of an ignoramous.)
I clearly need to spend some time pondering how to get our marketing message simplified further, to help the mainstream get it.  I don’t honestly believe our premium quality natural mineral water in a paper carton will ever appeal to the entire mainstream, but if anyone has any enlightenment to share, I’m open minded and I promise to give you as much time as you need to convince me – within reason… 🙂

Read Full Post »

I spent last week ‘on the road’ and probably listened to too much news in the process. The one ‘story’ that got me was the very small Australian town which decided to ban bottled water and seemingly managed to captivate the attention of the world media in the process.

The concept of banning something is quite fundamental and despite the subject matter being almost irrelevant in the context of human rights, I have to challenge the motivation of the small town’s folk (possibly their small minds?) for taking such a strong stance on something without seemingly thinking it through properly.

The act of banning a pure portable beverage means anyone planning a trip through that small town and finding themselves thirsty, means their choice when visiting a store before ‘hitting the road again’ is confined to flavoured, fattening or alchoholic beverages; all of which have measurably higher carbon footprints that the supposedly evil bottle of water they have discriminated against.

In a free society, the folk who live in this particular small Australian town should somewhere have found the wisdom to challenge or at least question themselves and their motives. A personal decision by individuals to not buy products as a statement is ok by me. Resorting to an over the top draconian motion which restricts the personal taste preferences of everyone living in or driving through their town seems ill considered – or could it be that the publicity sensation they have created is what it’s really all about…

To think, they could have broadened their minds to consider Aquapax mineral water as a genuinely low carbon alternative to the already pretty low carbon product it’s replacing, but I guess that might be crediting this particular small town’s folk with more than they deserve.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »