“Above all things, be brief.” – Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge, a career politician and country’s 30th president first delivered the (now) often repeated quote in 1915 during his second inaugural address as president of the Massachusetts Senate. One hundred years later, his words ring true in a brand revamp for energy water brand Agua Enerviva, which is now presented — simply — as Agua.
It’s the latest retooling of the brand, which was launched in 2013 by former Vitaminwater executives Carol Dollard and Mike Venuti. Promoted as a low-calorie, hydrating alternative to traditional energy drinks and similarly positioned enhanced waters, Agua is formulated with guarana, electrolytes and sucralose. Available in five flavor varieties, the beverages contain 10 calories per 20 oz. bottle.
Debuting in a stock PET bottle with a black wrap label around the center, the name Agua Enerviva was a play on aguas frescas, a beverage made with water, fruit or grains, and sugar, and popular among many Hispanic consumers. The branding gave Agua Enerviva a multicultural vibe, but the beverage itself was designed for broad appeal, Dollard said.
Leading with “Natural Energy” as its primary call-out, Agua Enerviva also included a depiction of “lo calorie + electrolytes” on labels. At launch, however, Dollard and Ventui knew that both the package and positioning of the brand would need evolve.
“When we first started out with the product, we were still testing the idea and the concept,” Dollard said. “We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. So we started with a stock bottle, but we found out pretty quickly that we needed our own bottle; we needed our own look.”
In March, 2014, the brand moved into its current package, a custom-molded, slim-grip bottle that included a clear wrap-around label. The new look came with new description: Agua Enerviva was now presented as an “energy water,” with logo and wording laid horizontal on the label.
Despite some success in adding new distribution, it was clear that Agua Enerviva was a bit verbose for consumers. Moreover, Dollard and her team felt that the brand logo was too small on the bottle and that the label wasn’t adequately communicating key attributes of the beverage.
In a sweeping revamp, the brand became Agua and while still identified as an energy water, a reworking of the label gives far greater prominence to its low-calorie formulation, something that Dollard calls “one of the most important things that consumers are looking at when they pick up a beverage.”
With the logo and descriptors or “natural energy + electrolytes” now vertically positioned, the label also includes fruit imagery corresponding to each flavor variety. The addition of a “Low Calorie” call-out near the bottom of label will help offset consumers’ association of fruit and and calorie-laden beverages, Dollard said. She also noted that while Agua drinks contain 10 calories, listing a calorie count on the front of the package would be off-putting to some consumers who see any defined number above zero as a negative attribute.
With a tagline of “Energy Perfected,” Agua is in the midst of a bolder distribution play. With a current footprint that stretches from Maine to Philadelphia, Dollard said that the brand is focused on the Northeast market, with coverage primarily focused in the Tri-State area. Agua recently launched in Boston via DSD distributor Great State Beverages and will also soon gain a presence at one of the nation’s largest grocers, Kroger. The supermarket chain will carry Agua in 500 locations in the Midwest and Texas.
Key to the distribution push will be a significant sampling program in all regions where Agua is sold. Dollard noted that in Boston alone, Agua has a 20-plus person street team and van to promote trial.
The brand revamp and marketing effort follows a capital raise that Agua completed last fall. Dollard described the company, which has approximately 20 employees in its corporate office, as “well-funded” with financing coming from private investors; Agua receives no funding from venture capital firms.
Part of the new capital has also been utilized for the development of a brand extension called Agua Fruit Essence, a line of zero-calorie, unsweetened waters infused with electrolytes. Unlike the primary line, the new products are colorless and contain no caffeine. Available in five flavor varieties, Agua Fruit Essence will make its debut in the coming weeks.