Scaling the Heights

May 1, 2007
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Scaling the Heights
BY Kate Bertrand Connolly

Brand strategy changes the way people drink water.
Many creative streams feed Caroline Kibler’s imagination. A self-professed foodie and design-magazine junkie, Kibler draws on a range of style, design and sensory cues in her work as brand manager at Evian North America, a business unit of Groupe Danone.
Since joining Evian in January 2006, Kibler has piloted the launch of the Evian Detox Spa, a temporary, promotional “pop-up spa” in Manhattan; and, in July 2007, the U.S. launch of the Palace™ Bottle, targeting fine dining establishments (and rolling out globally later this summer).
The Palace Bottle was developed after Kibler and her team conducted research with restaurateurs, servers and diners, discovering that, within the fine dining market, bottled water brands compete largely on the basis of innovative packaging.
Kibler’s sleek Palace Bottle meets that criterion head on. Its contemporary silhouette is a nod to the source of Evian water, and its simplicity evokes a fundamental brand attribute: purity. Evian worked with branding and package design firm Raison Pure to develop the design.
“Our intent with this package was to reinvent and break the codes of the category using the things that make Evian unique,” says Kibler. “It re-establishes Evian’s prominence in fine dining and provides a truly premium experience. We are expecting it to have a huge impact on the Evian brand.”
Key to that objective are the accessories developed to assist the restaurant server. The Palace Pourer, for example, is a stylized spout that fits the mouth of the bottle and prevents splashing as the water is poured. The device was inspired by the serving pitchers of the 18th century and, in an elegant flourish, sculpts the water stream as it flows into a glass.
Coupled with the Palace Bottle, the pourer creates a “ceremony” out of ordering and decanting a bottle of water. “We believe this will revolutionize the water service experience,” Kibler says.
In the pink
Because Evian is distributed through so many different channels—in restaurants, but also in hotels, spas, grocery chains, convenience stores and mass market retail formats like Target and Wal-Mart—Kibler and her colleagues face a variety of packaging challenges across the brand portfolio.
Within the past year, Evian has redesigned the label on its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to maintain brand visibility. The new design highlights a visual of the Alps, a key point of differentiation, and includes a heavy dose of Evian pink, the brand’s equity color.
“We’re always focused on improving our packaging, especially for retail distribution,” says Kibler.
Recent structural improvements include the addition of ergonomic grooves to the sides of Evian 330-milliliter bottles. The change makes it easier to hold the container and, according to Kibler, improves consumers’ brand experiences.
Such developments enhance specific usage occasions, an important part of Evian’s strategy because there are simply so many environments in which consumers enjoy the brand: at a club or spa; the gym or beach; at work or home; and so on.
“The right package is critical to how we position the product. It’s central to the marketing mix, affecting usage occasions, the type of consumers who’ll buy the product, how much they’ll pay for it, whether retailers will showcase it in-store and if celebrities will want to be seen drinking it,” Kibler says. “I see packaging taking on a larger and larger role as consumers continue to have more options and feel empowered to demand packaging forms that fit their every usage occasion. We’re always focused on the next innovation.”

Name: Caroline Kibler
Age: 31
Title: Brand manager, innovation and non-traditional marketing
Years in current job: A year and a half
Ultimate branded package: Our own—Evian Natural Spring Water.
What’s on your nightstand: Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell; and Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, by restaurateur Danny Meyer.

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