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Fiji Water Case Study - Marketing Analysis

Essay by   •  March 4, 2017  •  Case Study  •  3,589 Words (15 Pages)  •  2,715 Views

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FIJI WATER & CSR

MKTG4100A – Nick Price Owens

Nauman Javid

Zaarin Bushra

Joshua Seetoh

Sheryl Lee

Zhang Yi Chaun

Executive Summary

FIJI Water LLC. is an emerging water bottling company that’s headquartered in Los Angeles, USA, operating its bottling plant in the Fiji Islands. Through David Gilmour’s idea of bottling Fiji natural artesian water and marketing it globally as a unique product, the company has seen substantial growth since its inception in 1996. The company has been so largely successful in the water bottling market because of its unique product concept. With water bottled directly from an Artesian aquifer containing tropical rainwater, filtered for 450 years through volcanic rock and located in a remote Mountain that’s separated from any polluting sources by 1,500 kilometres of ocean, the water is exceptionally pure and retains a distinct taste. However, this competitive advantage of the company has also led it to face great criticism from environmentalists and conversationalists. Due to the drastic carbon footprint the company is emitting from its operations, which is primarily due to it being in a remote location, it launched a campaign in 2008 to battle these environmental criticisms: “Every drop is green.” Through the unrealistic claims made through this campaign, the company has faced an abundance of greenwashing claims. With its bottling plant in Fiji, and its main market being the United States, which is a near 9,000 miles away, it isn’t feasible for the company to achieve its claim of being carbon negative. If this campaign prolongs, the company will suffer from a decrease in its brand reputation, along with lawsuits for greenwashing. Based on this, it’s suggested that FIJI Water launch a campaign that provides a more realistic and honest message: “Continuing to Green.” While it doesn’t deliver a bold message like the former campaign, it allows the company to avoid greenwashing claims and position itself as a company that is aware of its impact on the environment and is working towards mitigating the carbon footprint it leaves. By doing this, the company can continue engaging in the CSR initiatives it has already announced to the public, while avoiding the severe threats from making false accusations or not living up to its promises. This campaign will take effect immediately and will require an aggressive initial marketing communications push to ensure the public is aware of the new message the company is attempting to convey. Through engagements in public relations, advertisements and sales promotions, FIJI Water will be able to save itself from a downfall and work towards expanding its product globally to attractive markets.

Situational Analysis:

FIJI Water LLC. is an emerging water bottling company that’s headquartered in Los Angeles, USA, operating its bottling plant in the Fiji Islands. Through David Gilmour’s idea of bottling Fiji natural artesian water and marketing it globally as a unique product, the company has seen substantial growth since its inception in 1996. After performing a SWOT analysis on the company, it provides a clear indication of why the company has been so successful and what it should expect to encounter in the future. FIJI’s marketing staff has implemented numerous strategies to bring the brand to life – from emphasizing the exotic offering of the water in its promotions, the brand has been able to position itself as an affordable luxury brand in the beverage industry. The reason FIJI Water has been able to differentiate itself from competitors is because of its unique product concept. With water bottled directly from an Artesian aquifer containing tropical rainwater, filtered for 450 years through volcanic rock and located in a remote Mountain that’s separated from any polluting sources by 1,500 kilometres of ocean, the water is exceptionally pure and retains a distinct taste. With these unique attributes contributing to FIJI Water’s success, they have also brought about numerous pitfalls. Due to the remoteness of the site from the city’s capital, where the main port is located, FIJI has been prone to high transportation costs. Coupled with the fact that the United States is FIJI’s main market, the distribution to that market is not only costly, but greatly hazardous to the environment. This is a primary reason for why the product is sold at such a premium price because lower price points wouldn’t allow the company to make a profit. Due to the great distance the company’s products travel for distribution, they leave a large carbon footprint by doing so, which has led environmentalists and conversationalists to target the company and the bottled water market for their impact on the environment. From the negative publicity faced by FIJI from these CSR related criticisms, FIJI Water launched a “carbon negative” PR campaign that was promoted through a PR pitch of: “Every drop is green”. To back up this campaign, FIJI Water joined two different carbon disclosure companies and made various claims of how it was going to offset its total footprint by 120%. Rather than support of FIJI Water’s carbon negative campaign, environmentalists and conversationalists were not convinced. They immediately accused the company of greenwashing – they believed the claims weren’t realistic and knew it was just another PR stunt to remove the negative exposure facing the company. Ever since, FIJI Water has been criticized and targeted by various movements in America, UK and other countries for its greenwashing engagement. With this negative publicity surrounding the company, FIJI Water must live up to its promises concerning CSR to avoid damaging the entire FIJI brand.

Problem Statement:

With FIJI Water making claims of going carbon negative and releasing its PR campaign of “every drop is green”, the company has faced large amounts of criticism for greenwashing. With this negative publicity surrounding the company, it must remain aware and cautious of what it engages in and how it presents itself to the public. Being closely observed by environmentalists and conversationalists around the world, FIJI Water needs to follow suit with the claims it has already made and ensure it doesn’t jeopardize its brand through any mistakes.

Alternatives to Consider:

Based on the main problem of greenwashing claims made to FIJI Water, it must engage in a marketing communication strategy that will allow the company to gain environmental credibility.

To choose which strategy to implement, FIJI Water must consider the following decision criteria:

  1. Execution: Can the idea be implemented in an effective and efficient manner
  2. Time: The time that will be taken, both in terms of total time invested and the overall duration
  3. Loss: What else will be lost if this choice is made (eg. reducing ability to meet goals)
  4. Price: The money that will be spent in implementing this idea
  5. Brand reputation: How will the FIJI brand be perceived by their main target market in United States and environmentalists and conversationalists around the world

The options that FIJI Water can pursue to gain environmental credibility include:

  1. Continue the current “Every Drop is Green” campaign that will require the company to live up to its claim of leaving a negative carbon footprint (120% reduction)
  2. Seize International operations in the United States and other distant countries by selling locally in Fiji and surrounding countries within proximity (eg. New Zealand, Australia, Japan)
  3. Discontinue the “Every Drop is Green” campaign and deploy a more realistic one that’s still focused on minimizing its carbon footprint (eg. “Continuing to Green”)

All the alternatives listed above are limited to potential Marketing Communication actions FIJI Water can take, and are not based on other strategies pertaining to International expansion, product development, operational improvements, etc.

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