Britvic’s soft drink J2O has been a brand name in the soft drink market of UK selling the juicy soft drinks since the last twenty-one years. Over the last six to seven years it has extended its products from bars to pubs in the United Kingdom. The brand has established itself as the favourite drink that people want to sip between meals or take straight when thirsty and comes with a moderately affordable price and 63 calories per 250 ml bottle. For the variety in tests and the mix of blend that comes in its brands it has become one of the most favoured drinks of the British people. Good brand management goes to its marketing and processing. Even the bottling and packaging is interestingly designed in graphics and labels. The taste of the drink comes in the blend of the flavour of fruits which also increases the acceptability and the want among the people. The marketing chain operates smoothly in ensuring the availability of the product and its reach to the UK customers. With all these aspects J2O has been a drink much liked by the people of United Kingdom and Ireland.
However Britvic’s J2O has maintained the branding style over years and much needs to develop regarding the branding to get the cut above other soft drink products in the UK market. The tastes could bring in some new innovations and variations. Product can have newer variety for the calorie conscious people like the zero calorie drink launched by Coca-Cola and newer taste of some oriental fruit flavours could be brought in as a variety. The bottling and labelling though comes in regular shape is very mundane. J2O was originally launched for bars and pub-going people. People goes to the bar and pub for recreation and enjoyment hence some innovative packaging could help in the better branding of the drink.
The product J2O was introduced in the market in 1988 by the UK company Britvic giving an alternate to non-alcoholic pub goers for a tasty drink. Initially the flavour was of apple and melon because of the want of these two flavours noted among the pub-goers but over the years the flavours have expanded in their variety. The current flavours are available mostly in blends of two different fruits like orange and passion flavour, apple and blueberry flavour, mango and apple flavour, orange and pomegranate flavour and melon and apple, Glitterberry – a mixture of grape, cherry and spices (Britvic.com, 2017). The J2O bottle targeted the customers of restaurants, pubs and bars and has grown in the first four years of its inception tremendously. Now it has reached a kind of saturation point in growth in UK where every second estimated seven bottles of J2O are purchased. Today J2O is acknowledged as the best seller of the soft drink in the United Nation but there is much room for development in its branding. According to R. S. Russell and B. W. Taylor (2008), there is requirement to launch a finished product with ideas that is creative enabling the product to win an appeal as a brand to the customers.
Brand Awareness – Britvic constantly advertises for its brand through the television and the brand ambassador Mojo advertises about the different flavours in a quite novel way. The cockney Alpaca named Mojo shares his wisdom nuggets with every brand and encourages the pub goers to find out their own mojos or favourite J2O drinks. Consumers are aware of the brand not only because of Mojo but because it gives them a non-alcoholic choice in the pubs and restaurants. Literally the branding has more to do. It can indulge in some CSR activities other than giving its pearls of wisdom. Real involvement with the society will add to the credibility of its brand and enhance its reliability as a drink. Since currently its customer base is in the UK and Ireland, it can concentrate in these regions for the CSR or choose some developing countries where a part of its revenue can generate the much needed social awareness. It is important for the brand to create a brand manifesto says Zia Werbes in the Forbes Magazine, (2017)
Brand positioning – The brand is mainly favourable among the pub-goers and the restaurateurs. It is in fact the most favourite drink of the UK pub goers but has miles to go as an all-time drink or a soft drink of all occasion and expand beyond the regions of United Kingdom as a global drink and truly establish itself as an international brand. Though J2O is now positioned as an international brand it still does the maximum sales at Great Britain and Ireland and has not been able to capture market as its sister product 7up in the rest of the world. The taste of the fruit blends with the low sugar to taste recipe needs to be canvassed more. At the same time the innovation should go on to give taste of tropical fruits like litchis, kiwi, pineapple, and black berries etc. which are tasty and can en-cash on low sugar content. Sabine Probstal , (2013) says that it is ultimately innovation which determines the lasting of a product in the mind of the customer.
Gaining from secondary brand association - J2O could tie up with Pepsi 7up, a product of the same companies to channelize its presence across the globe. The association could bring a robust change in the uplift of the product from its national market to the world market as 7up, being a global player has a robust marketing strategy which it uses in every country in a customised manner to reach the plethora of target customer and has become successful. Awareness needs to spread as also marketing and availability of the product at the global context. As according to Phillip Kotler, (2013) the endowing of products and services with the power of a brand is called branding. As of now presence of the product is only felt in the pubs of the Great Britain and Ireland. Initiatives like funding the young engineers from the developing countries or using recycled bottles, working for sustainable farming and using renewable energy in the production plant like 7up can give the drink an edge. Along with that needs the canvassing at the sports grounds and cine halls and this should ideally be without restriction as the drink is without alcohol base.
Brand elements – The brand elements of the J2O product comes in its variety of tastes of the fruit flavour mixes which it has developed over time. The initial mono flavoured options now come in a mix of double flavours but the innovation could be more in the mixing of the flavours.
The bottling and packaging is ordinary like any drink that is internationally marketed and has wide room for innovation. For example the mono flavoured drinks can come in bottles with the shape of the fruit they taste and the multi –flavoured drink can utilise something for example the shape of Mojo – the Alpaca ambassador that creates the brand awareness among the customers (Britvic.com). This could bring in some variety in the liking and affinity of the customers as most of them are pub goers and would surely like some frolic and entertainment while taking their drink. According to the American Marketing Association,(2015) the brand name must be identified through the design, the packaging, the identity which makes one product distinct from the others and likeable to the consumers
The pricing is 22.7p. in U.K per 100 ml and is available in saver packs in case of bulk buying. So the price is quite moderate and nothing is needed to change the same. Though pricing it moderate it needs to have variations and innovate in the product in order to be a truly global brand and be at reach of customers even in the tropical and equatorial countries. For example a drink in India comes for INR 12 to 14 for a 275 ml bottle (Bigbasket.com). Till now the pricing is almost the same but in the two countries but with packaging and export cost it will go up if it has to reach the sub-continent of India. There may be a cut in the pricing or some earning from the re-cycling of bottles as is done by the sister brand 7up and the bottles can be used in many innovative ways. As according to Howard Slutz, (2016) authentic brand emanates from everything that a company does.
The company is already adhering to the option of cluster pricing and retail pricing which gives the customer value for their money and draws more sales. It is profiteering for the pubs and restaurants to keep the drink as they get the facilities of cluster package and retail price. Promotional prices for taking a mix of the flavours are given to the customers and this is a good tactics for propagating the taste for the different blends altogether.
Brand extensions – In 1998 J2O started with mono-flavoured fruit tastes of apple and melon because those were the most liked fruit drinks favoured by UK’s pub goers. Over the years the company has researched and found out that the customer of Great Britain and Ireland are more inclined to taste low sweet tasting flavours of fruit mixes and hence they experimented with blends of two different fruits like orange and passion flavour, apple and blueberry flavour, mango and apple flavour, orange and pomegranate flavour and melon and apple, Glitter-berry – a mixture of grape, cherry and spices (Britvic.com, 2017) However in spite of it serving as the best brand in the United Kingdom, it has not developed further to capture the global customer though it poses as an international brand.
Brand evolution - It has happened over time but it has stopped from being far reaching and once it has caught the customers of the Great Britain, it has been low on innovations keeping to the blends that have been made eight to ten years back. As stated, the globe is not in dearth of fruits and a blend of the flavour from the fruits of oriental lands could add to the piquancy of the flavour of the brand.
Product strategy and tactics – The current product strategy is to offer a mix of the flavour of fruits to the non-alcoholic pub goers and keeping the taste low in sweet content. However as discussed above this has large scope for improvement bringing in the variation of blend, keeping the calorie content much lower for the calorie conscious customer and increasing in the refreshment and nourishment aspect. According to Sabine Probstal (2013) Product innovation are important for any organisation, the innovation of the product makes the life and duration of a product expand surpassing the varying taste and needs of the customer. J2O should poise as a brand itself and not a segment of the large brand to be able to reach more customers. Somewhat the company Britvic’s strategy to pose it as one of many options from its drinks brand has become a detriment for its further growth and outreaching the global market.
Channel Strategies and tactics – The brand J2O is now a brand of the Britvic and Pepsi-Cola company. The brand has grown by its own virtue en-cashing the taste of the pub goers of the Great Britain and Ireland and has caught the sense of their liking for low sweetening drink which is non-alcohol base. Accordingly it has developed the strategy to sell its brand of soft drink and within four years of its launching it has caught the major share of Great Britain’s favourite non-alcohol pub drink. Since the inception Britvic has been promoting the brand as one of the many drink brands under its banner. Other than J2O Britvic have FruitShoot, Robinson, Tango, Teisseire and MiWaldi. The company thought of promoting the J2O as a brand with a specified taste which was perhaps one limitation for its reaching out to global customers and expanding itself in the brand promotion. In 2012 the company merged with PepsiCo but till date no gain in strategic reach has been gained for J2O through this merger except for its global branding that has happened for coming under the banner of PepsiCo. It is time J2O uses the global ambassador PepsiCo, (though major share of PepsiCo of Britvic has been laid off in 2017), to reach out to the global customers through its channels and brand sales.
Promotional strategies - The brand already uses cluster pricing and retail pricing as promotional strategies but it is largely being confined to the pub goers of the Great Britain. As Phillip Kotler(2015) says the company should not state the brand’s identity. The brand should develop to state its purpose. Though major share of Britvic has been released by PepsiCo in 2017, Britvic is still in charge of marketing and bottling PepsiCo’s drinks. The global reach of the PepsiCo brand can be used to make it penetrate to every nook and corner of the pubs world-wide. Initially a free bottle of 275 ml may come with the large bottle of 7up, Pepsi and Mountain Dew of the PepsiCo brand and then build the knowledge and taste of the global customer.
Summarising from the above we can state that the organisation must carry on more experiments with the taste and blend of the products and bring to it the zing of variety and taste to appeal to the global customers. Along with that it must en-cash the zero calorie concept and Britvic is already championing the cause of freedom from diabetes in the world. (Britvic.com, 2019) Taking this concept it must bring in more variants of low calorie sweet drink for the consumers. Fruit Fusion is a good exemplary innovation being an energy drink with a punch of fruit juice. As according to Kiber, (2007) health is one of the most important aspects of innovation in the soft drink market. Variety in taste must come from all regions of the world also enabling the loyal UK customers of the variety of taste of exotic fruits as well as becoming more appealing to the global customers. The bottling and labelling requires innovation to be more appealing and Mojo, the brand ambassador can be used innovatively for the shape of the bottle to give the drink a quirky look that will be more appealing to the pub goers. Alternatively it may take the shape of the fruit the flavour of which the packet is holding for the mono-blend flavours. The pricing strategy is competitive but the market penetration is weak as the company concentrates more on the marketing of the Pepsi brand, it should cluster the products of the J2O with the Pepsi Brand to catch the market initially. Of course this requires more capacity and the company should be bold enough to rethink its strategy to penetrate the world market which could begin at the moment with spreading in France and Brazil which are almost the home country for Britvic. It needs to evolve more in terms of calorie consciousness and refreshment and nourishment. For example cold lime tea and cocoa-nut water could be added to the brand as a tonic for those going out in the sun and it is time the brand gets out of the pub of Britain and becomes global in the approach. J2O is not much known in places other than Great Britain and Ireland. It can at least start with marketing the products at Brazil and France where the company has a strong base for its other brands and then aim at being a global drink.
It is time J2O develops as a brand in its own and not as a subsidiary of Britvic or PepsiCo. The brand has a huge potential and to view it as a part of a large house and an allied drink with too many sister product has perhaps become a limiting factor for the drink. Sales at the United Kingdom are steady but it has become years since when it has reached the saturation with the UK customers and for more than fifteen years it has remained their most favoured drink. Now is the time for the brand to break open its shell and be ready for a global make-over. Very few people outside Great Britain and Ireland are even aware of the existence of the brand. It is time that the brand catches the global market. Britvic can think of new marketing strategy for its own brand of product J2O using the allied marketing strategy and it will help the organisation to take a strategic turn to be a truly global product. The need is capacity enhancement and it should think of new ways to make the same.
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