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Manas Ranjan Hota

In recent years, unconventional or non-traditional marketing strategies have gained popularity in India. These strategies include the use of viral marketing, influencer marketing, and guerrilla marketing, among others.

Speaking to BuzzInContent.com, Manas Ranjan Hota, Co-founder and COO, DrinkPrime, stated that because the water purification market is cluttered with a number of players catering to the same user persona of a 40–50-year-old homemaker who has kids and wants to buy a ‘good’ water purifier for their home, it made sense for the brand to opt for unconventional choices.

Having operations in an industry which has been in the dormant or stale stage as no big change happened in the past two-three decades now, Hota stated that most water-purifying businesses usually cater to people who belong to a slightly-older age group, maybe someone in their 40s or 50s, who reside in Tier-II and III cities and usually trust a brand based on the celebrity that endorses it.

Starting from targeting consumers who are a slightly younger, more-vibrant audience in an urban middle-class set-up, DrinkPrime has focussed on having an approach which really stands out from the crowd, in his opinion.

“When we went to our consumers, we saw that most of them, in the age group of 25-40 years, had moved out of their homes and stepped into metro cities to meet their career needs and thus they prefer or believe on what they see and not what the celebrity endorsements depict,” he added.

Additionally, he also pointed out that unlike other water purifying companies, DrinkPrime uses a more data-oriented approach for brand building and takes forward the notion of ‘You don’t have to trust us because we are saying so but because we have technology backing us that you can see for yourself on the mobile app’.

Speaking to BuzzInContent.com, Hota also revealed that the brand had also shot a TVC which it had released on its social media handles because of its focus on doing un-conventional marketing mainly and further move on to leverage influencer marketing by roping in mom-bloggers, comic influencers, fitness ninjas, etc. for endorsements and building credibility.

In fact, DrinkPrime’s marketing in his opinion is looking at spaces where the typical target audience least expects the brand to be, as they would rather opt for a 10-second brand integration in the usual ‘Day in The Life of xxx’ videos rather than opting for a television commercial featuring celebrities.

“One of our most successful campaigns was with Anu Kargada that had registered over 924K views on the promoted video along with our website data showing a significant jump in both English and Kannada landing pages during the period of the campaign,” he said.

In his views, there is a growing trend of brands picking up on the non-traditional marketing trends and wanting to experiment with new technologies while leveraging modern mediums and strategies the non-traditional way to break the market clutter.

Therefore, while traditional advertising is becoming expensive with its effectiveness on a decline, non-traditional marketing in his views has proven to be successful in increasing customer recognition and engagement coupled with an increased brand awareness of over 50%.

Commenting as to what is the rationale behind having a digital-first marketing strategy, Hota stated that DrinkPrime uses this approach because that’s precisely where most of their target audience lives and spends n number of hours.

“Although our brand had been established since 2016, we decided to unveil our revamped logo, website layout and colour on an Instagram Live tapping on the pulse of our consumers who also ended up joining the live and interacted with us on our revamping,” he said.

Furthermore, Hota also emphasised that it is the users of DrinkPrime who are the first critiques of their ads and the brand takes into consideration their suggestions and implements them accordingly.

“Being a challenger brand, which is trying to disrupt the industry which has gone very stale and has not seen any significant change, neither from a marketing standpoint nor from a product standpoint for several decades now, being risk averse is actually a safer-bet for a brand like us because we don’t have decades of legacy behind us,” he said.

Moreover, Hota went on to add that DrinkPrime is trying to challenge the status quo that takes into consideration the feedback coming from the audience on a daily basis.

In his opinion, the brand has been taking substantial risks at times and even though some have not yielded the desired results for the brand, some really went viral.

“One of the risks that we’ve taken is to ‘not sell via fear’. If you look at the category that we operate in which is water purifiers, most of the sales happen due to the brand roping in an authority figure in the form of a celeb who is widely trusted by the audience. But we’ve taken a complete U-turn by saying that we’re here to simplify technology for you and the audience can see for themselves the purity of water through our mobile app,” he added.

Building up a strong selling point for the brand, Hota stated that the consumers of DrinkPrime are the biggest or rather the actual celebrities which is why the brand also focuses more of its efforts, money, etc. on customer or influencer-led content by ensuring that the brand only collaborates with influencers who in real-life also use DrinkPrime for a prescribed number of days before they give their nod to the collaboration.

Upon being questioned as to what made the name ‘DrinkPrime’ tick for the company, Hota stated that because the mission of the company is to provide clean, safe and healthy drinking water to its users who are the early adopters of technology, the company wanted to opt for a name which tells the users to do something and thus explore options in the verb-format.

In Hota’s opinion, the brand name- DrinkPrime is not just a name but is a call-to-action in itself.

Coincidentally, what was a win-win here was that all the co-founders of DrinkPrime were die-hard fans of the Transformers series wherein the protagonist’s name was Optimus Prime and his purpose was to save humanity.

Thus, when the brand finalised on the name- DrinkPrime, it served both purposes for the brand - in terms of setting up a venture for profitability yet being a venture for purpose in 2016.

But later on, what came as a shocker was that Logan Paul and KSI in an Instagram live on January 4, 2022 made an announcement that they had founded a beverage brand named Prime, to fill the void where great taste meets function.

While the first product launch that happened on Logan Paul x KSI’s venture was Prime Hydration, the official website was launched with the domain name as drinkprime.

Hota candidly also spoke about how John Cena, a renowned American Wrestler, got confused and followed the Bangalore-based Indian DrinkPrime, on Twitter, instead of the energy drink company owned by former YouTube rivals KSI and Logan Paul.

“In fact, DrinkPrime has always been a part of the ripple effect of Prime Hydration’s events. We’ve been tagged in multiple tweets by the founders themselves! On average, we get at least three wrong mentions every week while the hashtag #DrinkPrime is used in most tweets and posts. On the day of Prime Hydration’s launch, our website traffic increased by 50% and we saw an increase in organic search by 70%,” he added.

However, this didn’t make the Indian founders shy away from it, but rather embrace it in a whole-hearted manner and they went on to leverage their digital content splash on Twitter etc. to engage and feed off of each other’s goodwill and brand awareness.

The move, however, also brought about a slew of challenges for the water purification company as the consumers began posting negative reviews of the professional boxers backed beverage counterpart and began marking the social media handles of the Indian DrinkPrime.

In Hota’s views, the year 2022 has been great for DrinkPrime as the business grew by over 330% adding to the growth picked up in the middle of the pandemic in 2021 wherein the company clocked in a growth of 500%.

“Our organic reach across social media platforms increased by 280% and our share of brand voice reached more than 12 million users,” he added.

He also went on to state that keeping in mind the different facets of the buying journey, DrinkPrime offers its audience a different kind of content format on Instagram and YouTube ranging from leveraging short-form narratives or relatable content for building awareness to using longer testimonials or how- to videos for consumers who have shifted down the funnel and are about to make the final purchase.

“Last year, we also did a lot of radio branding as part of our collaboration with Radio City, but we didn’t buy a single ad-spot on the radio platform for direct promotion, rather we opted for a call-to-action wherein the RJ reminded the listeners to have a sip of water through ‘DrinkPrime Water Bell’ after every hour for two-months as most of the people are chronically dehydrated,” he added.

Content@BuzzInContent.com