The SodaStream Revolution


By 1928, the carbonated drinks were enjoyed by the British Royal Family to the extent that SodaStream Tonic Water was sent to Australia during a visit by the Queen’s mother to the country. SodaStream received a Queen’s Award to Industry in 1980 and with television advertising, the slogan ‘Get busy with the fizzy’ was born.

Chief Marketing Officer, Ilan Nacasch, was happy to share more important moments of how SodaStream became established as a huge player in home carbonation systems. “In 1985, Cadbury Schweppes PLC purchases SodaStream and helps to develop a stronger positioning in the highly competitive soft drinks market. The range of flavors is extended to include many Schweppes flavors in addition to the popular SodaStream tastes. Exporting worldwide continues with the German market proving successful. Up to 40 per cent of British households owned a SodaStream in the ‘80s.

“After a few years of decline, in 2007, Fortissimo Capital Fund, a private equity fund with $200 million under management, acquires controlling interest in the Soda-Club Group. Daniel Birnbaum is appointed CEO and the turnaround begins.”

Ilan Nacasch connected with SodaStream in March 2012, after working for 15 years with Procter & Gamble. “At first, I did not know about SodaStream until I met with Daniel,” he says. “I was simply blown away by his vision and the potential of the company. We have just scratched the surface of the category.” SodaStream has also continued to expand its operations worldwide while repositioning its market towards environmental, convenience and health benefits.

New models are being introduced, with more colours, better design, and enhanced functionality. SodaStream introduced the Revolution soda maker with one-touch button carbonation and then SodaStream Source was designed in partnership with leading designer Yves Béhar and launched during Milano Design Week. The Source is an “object of desire” soda maker that combines beauty and function and SodaStream has now made it to the UK CoolBrands list.

Contrary to the belief that this booming home carbonation systems company would only be in direct competition with other producers offering similar services, SodaStream is actually playing in the leagues against the “big soda” companies. Ilan’s goal has been to truly move from product building to brand building. “We have done a tremendous job to create and own a new category, and explain very rationally to consumers why they should use SodaStream vs. continuing to buy big soda. But we have yet to create a desirable brand equity and image to convert the “hardcore users” and reach our household penetration goals. This will be done by creating a desirable lifestyle image with beautifully designed products that combine style and functionality like the new Source. It will take relentless innovation to enhance the consumer’s holistic experience and the outstanding quality of marketing executions to rocket the brand perception to a whole new level.

“Being able to enjoy the bubbles without the bottles is the key experiential benefit we want to establish in consumer’s mind, well summoned by our new tag line, “Set the bubbles free.” Also, bringing more choices and variety of healthier, better-for-you flavors so you can make your own delicious soft drinks is a key competitive edge we want to strengthen. We have now more than 100 flavors available, and our flavors taste as good as worldwide leading brands in consumer testing, with only 1/3 of the calories!” announces Ilan. Forget having to buy and accommodate bottles to get your favourite cola or soda flavour. The recently announced co-branding deal between SodaStream and Kraft Foods has now brought the Kraft Foods flavors of Crystal Light, Country Time and Kool-Aid into the SodaStream flavor collection.

SodaStream supplies the consumer with many environmentally friendly options limiting excessive packaging. Ilan is very passionate about the environment and continues to affirm why more people should switch to SodaStream: “What a waste for the environment,” he says, “considering that every day about 1 billion bottles and cans are being thrown in the environment, in our landfills, parks and rivers, and only about a quarter is recycled. Using SodaStream can save up to 2,000 bottles a year for an average family.” He maintains that recycling is not the answer. “Recycling is overrated, first because less than 30 per cent of plastic waste is recycled, and second because we ignore all the energy, fuel and carbon footprint impact used for the manufacturing, transportation, disposal and recycling of the bottles, which is five times higher than using SodaStream. Did you know that people mostly pay for packaging when purchasing from these companies?” His passion and commitment is obvious and Ilan Nacasch is doing everything in his power to spread these messages worldwide in effort to make the much needed change happen.

Although many people don’t consume carbonated beverages on a regular basis, Ilan was clear there are healthy alternatives and that the company is always evolving. “We are using the flavour essences from the leading flavour companies just like the big sodas and are mixing them together with water and sweeteners such as stevia at the plant to create a flavour concentrate. The process is tightly controlled to ensure optimal quality and consistency of products.” The consumers then carbonate the water at home, add their chosen flavours and get their own fresh, self-made favourites. Whether customers want sparkling water, soft drinks, or slightly flavoured water, SodaStream presents an alternative to traditional store bought soft drinks.

Using the SodaStream Home Carbonation System is simple and takes less than 30 seconds to turn plain tap water into ones favourite fizzy drink. Ilan explains the process. “Just fill the bottle, twist into the machine, press to reach your desired carbonation level, mix with flavour and your favourite soda is done. No more bottles, no more carrying, storing and disposing of heavy and polluting bottles. Just be your own bottler and enjoy the delicious bubbles without the bottles.” The 60L carbon dioxide cylinder needs to be changed when empty, but the exchange program at more than 7000 food retailers makes it very convenient to do so. The newly launched Revolution, an electrical carbonation machine, has a touch-button activation to automatically select desired fizz level, but most models require no battery or electricity.

Exciting developments are on the horizon for SodaStream in 2013. The patent pending SodaCaps, the first ever syrup concentrate in capsules, will be introduced eliminating the need for measuring and provide a consistent taste. The company is also developing other innovative products such as its AquaBar, a preview of which also debuted at Milan’s Salon del Mobile this past spring. The AquaBar will dispense filtered still water at cold, hot or ambient temperature as well as cold sparkling water.

Ilan was excited about the upcoming new campaign behind the launch of Source in Australia, hinting at a provocative “TV copy which I am sure will create a lot a buzz,” as well as the celebrity studded product launch party to be held in the Melbourne CBD on Monday, 5th November, in advance of the Melbourne Cup. Myer department stores will be first to showcase the Source Metal edition in November followed by its national expansion. The machine will certainly mark a new milestone in the history of SodaStream in Australia and will be priced around $169.95.

“Finally, what I love about my job is being the ‘anti-establishment’ brand – going against the status quo and challenging the myths of a whole industry to make a slightly better world every day. As a marketer looking for more than a celebration of 3 to 4 per cent growth per year, I found this a much appreciated challenge… I can work for a company that aims to grow 50 to 100 per cent year-on-year for the next few years,” says Ilan. He stands by his mantra, “Better for your health, better for your family, better for your wallet, better for the environment!”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 16, 2018, 6:41 AM AEDT