Spa: building on your brand as market leader

Order a Spa Blauw in a restaurant and you will be given still water, sometimes Spa, sometimes another brand. The Spa brand has become a generic name. Spadel, the company behind Spa is the undisputed market leader in the Benelux when it comes to natural mineral water. To continue working on their brand, to continue to grow and to continue to innovate, Spa wanted to obtain new insights into the state of their brand and to find out where the opportunities are.

Spa: building on your brand as market leader


There was also another requirement. Because for mineral water, Spa is a concept, but it is less so for soft drinks. That's a different market, with different competitors. How could Spa enter this product category and build its brand and achieve growth?

A new way of monitoring brand growth

At the Marketing Insights Event 2016, Blauw gave a presentation on the philosophy of Byron Sharp. ‘How Brands Grow has the following vision: Brands grow through mental (in the mind) and physical (in the environment) presence at the moment of consumption. In other words: that your brand is present at the moment that counts. The greater the mental and physical availability, the greater your market growth. 95% of all cognitive activity in our brain is system 1: sub-conscious and emotional 

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize winner and writer of the bestseller ‘Thinking fast and slow’, has been saying for decades: people do not act rationally, but intuitively. But how do you gain insight into this type of intuitive choices by consumers? Other than the classic version, the research tools which link to this assume: actual behaviour, implicit thinking and changing purchase and need situations.

In this research we focus specifically on the mental availability of Spa. Mental availability means the mental links to a brand. Distinctive brand assets (DBAs) are essential to this. These are the 'meaningless' elements of a brand which are perceptible to the senses, such as logo, colour, pay off, font, jingle. elements that a consumer links to a brand in his mind. And these are especially important in relation to category entry points (CEP’s). These are the relevant purchase or need situations in which people might think about the brand. They are not about the why but about the tangible when, what, with whom and where). The more consumers who link relevant category entry points to the brand, the stronger the brand and the stronger the basis for market growth.

In order to clarify these CEPs and DBAs for Spa, we carried out group discussions with three target groups: heavy users, light users and non-users spread across the two categories of natural mineral water and soft drinks. As a result, Spa gained new insights into: 

  • The target group. The occasions and situations when they made use of natural mineral water and soft drinks.
  • The brand. What is the familiarity of Spa in the target group?
  • The triggers for use. What makes Spa interesting and relevant?


A tool which is practically applicable

One of the major advantages of this way of thinking and doing branding research appears to be its better practical applicability. As a business you obtain definitive tools to work with. No abstract terms and end values such as sustainability or freedom, but practical insights into actual usage.

Brand & Communications Expertise Manager Ricardo van der Valk set to work with Spa: “This branding method is much better suited to how people act, think and store information. The classic communication model of the relationship between knowledge and behaviour is now outdated, but unfortunately it is difficult to eradicate. In fact it's the other way around: behaviour-knowledge relationship. In nine out of ten cases you do something and only later consider it or attempt to explain why when you are asked about it. Companies know this, but sometimes don't want to accept it. The consequences of the insights we can uncover using this market research may have some impact on existing KPIs and therefore for the entire business. This is really exciting and as an organisation you should dare to do this. We are not claiming that this method is the new truth, but we are seeing so much evidence to support this approach.” Measuring your company's brand growth in a focused way

This research method has a fixed way of thinking as its basis, but it has no standard approach. It adopts an approach that suits your company and sector. Do you want to discover what your brand represents, how to get closer to your target group and gain an advantage in your market? If so, please contact us.