#Interview Chandni Kohli Dhall on how the carbonated drinking water brand has paved its way into pop culture through social media

Perrier India

In conversation with Social Samosa, PERRIER India’s Chandni Kohli Dhall puts the spotlight on the brand’s strategic play for India – marketing, communication & distribution strategy.

For its latest campaign, Perrier collaborated with Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, famous for blurring the lines between fine and contemporary arts. The brand has been active on social media and claims to hold about 85% of the carbonated water segment.

We spoke to Chandni Kohli Dhall, Chief Marketing Officer, Hindustan Liquids Private Limited – Perrier, India to know more about the nature of the association, marketing strategy for the Indian consumer base, social media gameplay, the carbonated drinking segment, and more.

Edited Excerpts:

What was the insight that led to collaboration with Takashi Murakami? How does it fit into the Indian context?

Every year, Perrier celebrates its relationship with the arts by announcing campaigns with artists from all over the world. The brand has collaborated with artists like Andy Warhol, Juan Travieso, Salvador Dalí, Bernard Villemot, Raymond Savignac, Carlu, Jean-Gabriel Domergue, and many more.

Associating and supporting artists from all forms gives Perrier an edge to attract consumers from a particular niche. PERRIER X MURAKAMI is a global campaign and in India, we are looking at targeting people who like to collect art or limited edition items.

How is the brand communication different in India vis-a-vis its international counterparts?

The brand communication globally is to raise awareness, position it as a fun and go-to drink that can be used in day-to-day life. Targeting the right audiences, identifying relevant channels to educate consumers about the product benefits is what we are doing in India currently. Though, what is different is that Perrier, India pages have an Indian touch which gives it a beautiful traditional look and more suited for the Indian audience.

What are the elements that you imbibe in your content for Indian audiences?

In India, the root of the strategy stays the same but we integrate our communication using Indian influencers, showcasing recipes that have local Indian ingredients, and go well with the weather in the country.

Recently with our digital campaign, #ThePerrierConfluence Perrier featured influencers from different walks of life like Vicky Ratnani – Celebrity Chef, Nikhil Chopra – Former Cricketer, RizwanAmlani – Owner of Dope Coffee, etc., highlighted the versatility of Perrier to reach out to its consumers. This campaign showcased the idea of making your own Perrier-infused drinks.

Please shed some light on Perrier India’s social media strategy- content hooks that are devised to keep the consumer updated and what is the kind of social tidbit Perrier harps on?

Perrier India focuses on content that relates to the Indian audiences and leverages influencers that are followed and loved by the Indian audiences in particular as we want them to take qualitative actions.

Collaborations both globally and locally create a diversified content that holds for engagement. Through these collaborations, our aim remains to promote solely promote the brand and the product but the experiences which are liked by our consumers and tangible actionable results are derived out of it.

Apart from that, our plan is to keep consumers updated with the knowledge of the brand, art, culture, which represent the interests of the brand. We are fostering our relationships with our partners and their audiences as well by creating exclusive content that helps both parties to meet end goals.

As per Perrier’s niche TG, our focus is reaching out to our target audience directly. Hence our media mix is majorly digital wherein we can selectively cater to our TG via influencer marketing, select campaigns, and contests.

Also Read: Interview Our focus is on making relatable, easy to understand & quirky campaigns: Sandeep KS, Redmi India

How is Perrier approaching the pandemic phase? What are the tactics that you adopted to keep your consumers in the loop in this time of crisis?

Our primary plan was to have a range of ground activations that were to take place in bars and clubs. But due to the current situation, since the onset of the pandemic, we plan to grow the distribution channel through the new age delivery apps and e-commerce platforms.

As bars and clubs are not fully functioning we have been promoting the availability of Perrier in all leading retail stores pan India like Food Hall, 24×7, Natures Basket, Amazon, and etc. Perrier also has a presence in all major airports in India as Hindustan Liquids has secured an exclusive contract with TFS in the carbonated water category.

We want to encourage people to stay indoors and follow safety protocols. And that is why with Perrier Anytime we are focusing on the market and position Perrier as a beverage that can be consumed 24×7 and continuously inspiring people to make extraordinary drinks at home by using Perrier and simple/ local ingredients. Easy-to-make recipes are shared at frequent intervals for one to try new variants of cocktails/ mocktails and keep exploring the versatility of the beverage.

When the pandemic hit initially, many brands relooked their marketing and communication strategy. How was it for Perrier India?

Since the pandemic began, we changed our route of marketing and went completely digital in our narrative. We strategically changed our approach to devising a consumingly creative and engaging communications strategy to further strengthen brand awareness in India.

The market is expected to reach INR 403 bn by the end of 2023, from its current value of INR 160 bn, expanding at an annual compound growth rate of 20.75% from 2018.

Thus, using the social media platforms we have been continuously educating our consumers especially those in tier II and III cities about the benefits of carbonated water.

Your thought on leveraging big ticketing events like IPL to build a stronger connection back home and why didn’t Perrier get the hand on it?

Big-ticket events are absolutely a win-win and IPL is one of those. IPL has a great fan-following in India but on a granular level, its audiences do not align with that of Perrier’s niche.

Though, since 1978 Perrier is the ‘official-partner’ of Roland Garros (or The French Open) tournament and has a strong commitment to French tennis.

What are the consumer trends that you foresee?

In the last 3 years, there has been a huge growth in terms of new brands entering the water market industry and types of water scouting India. India also has huge potential since it has a very large whiskey culture and the mixology culture is growing rapidly with the number of bars and restaurants that are ever-increasing.

But currently, the industry is extremely volatile, most of the hotels, restaurants, and cafes are going through a tough time. Bars are also shut hence we are highly dependent on e-commerce and retail in the upcoming season.

In addition to this, recently we have been witnessing two trends and that is:

  • people now prefer to order bulk packs for entertainment and consumption at home
  • the work-from-home culture has pushed people to become self-sufficient. New chefs, artists, fitness enthusiasts have been blooming in every other household. To build on this new consumer trend, #ThePerrierConfluence – an exclusive mixology campaign by Perrier, India inspired people to make their own immunity booster drink, fancy mocktail, a perfect summer drink, and many more types of drinks using Perrier.

We will soon also be launching other flavored variations too for the Indian market.

What does the ‘Road to Recovery’ look like?  

Keeping in mind the current situation the sales channels have shifted from HoReCa to majorly on e-commerce and retail. We have definitely seen an increase in sales through retail and e-commerce during the lockdown.

Perrier is definitely a healthy alternative drink in comparison to CSD’s and other artificially flavored drinks available in the market. Health has become a priority for most consumers and hence they are shifting their choices from sugary or artificially sweetened beverages to naturally carbonated water. This is definitely a huge advantage for the brand.