When a new bird needs to fly the nest

I posted ealier this year on my concerns about innocent launching a new brand called This Water (From the people at innocent). This was in fact a re-launch of innocent’s fruity water as a new brand. My worry was about innocent getting distracted by managing a new brand in a different category to their core smoothies.

So, I smiled when I saw how the This Water team describe themselves on their new website

“We’re an entrepreneurial bunch brave enough to take the innocent brand off our label.”

Picture 1

But surely its mad for a start-up strapped for cash to remove such a brilliant brand. The innocent “mother brand” would have given the new baby a better chance of survival. And the new product would have had a “halo” effect
on the innocent brand as a whole.



What innocent have done is very smart. They recognized that innocent Juicy Water was more about water than it was about fruit. And, therefore, it didn’t belong in the innocent brand. Rather than helping the product, the innocent brand was a hindrance. The brand stretch logic described above fell down on both counts:

– Mother brand helps the new product: No. In fact, the innocent brand suggested the product would be very fruity and juicy. This put off people who wanted a water. And led to people who did try it being disappointed as it was more watery than they expected!

Furthermore, as the This Water team explain: “Juicy Water never got much focus because innocent was
concentrating on their smoothies.”

– New product has halo on mother brand: No. First, innocent Juicy Water was small, and so as if often the case, the hoped for halo is a mirage. And as the product was about water, not fruit, it didn’t feed back much anyway, even for people who did try it.

This is a case where the new “bird” is better off flying the brand nest, free to have its own identity, positioning and team.

My concern in May 2007 when This Water was launched was that innocent management time would be distracted away from the core smoothie business. However, this didn’t happen, as This Water effectively became a separate business, in a separate office. Although the packs at launch had “From the innocent people” on, this has now gone altogether.

And the results? Sales have doubled since launch and the brand is now in more shops than ever

Too often, good products are force-fitted into brands where they don’t belong with the logic that its cheaper than lauching a new brand. However, as This Water seems to show, letting the new bird fly the nest may actually make you more money in the long run.