PureIt - HCD Based Marketing Plan for a Low Cost Water Purifier

This project was completed for the 2014 Unilever Talent Hunt Business Plan Competition.It was the winner in the PureIt brand category and one of the six finalist ideas submitted to the senior management team of Unilever Pakistan. The project was also featured by Acumen

The Scope of the Project

To devise a 360 degree marketing plan for PureIt, a water purification system catered for low income families from Karachi and Lahore

The Status of Potable Water in Pakistan

Approximately 15.9 million people in Pakistan do not have access to safe drinking water. With more than 200,000 children dying due to water borne diseases annually, there is an urgent need for a hassle free, cheap and safe option for accessing potable water

A Viable Solution - PureIt Excella

PureIt is an affordable solution that, if marketed effectively, can provide potable water to vulnerable communities in the country. The water purifier does not require electricity or gas to operate, and provides safe, drinkable water at a cost of Rs 1 (US $ 0.01) per litre.

The PureIt Water Purification Kit
The PureIt Water Purification Kit

Current Status of PureIt in the Consumer Market in Pakistan

To date, PureIt has been unable to gain traction in the Pakistani
market. The following are the two major reasons for this:

  1. The lack of incentives for customers to shift from the status quo of using traditional methods like boiling water to buying a water purifier.

  2. Trust in the workability of PureIt as an efficient water purifier.

Unilever’s current modus operandi for marketing and selling Pureit is not effective. Sales representatives known as Pureit Water Experts(PWEs) are responsible for listing the potential advantages of PureIt to customers at supermarkets. There is a need for establishing a personalized connection with the target market, since a structural shift of opinion about the workability and advantages of a water purification system needs to be cultivated.

Benchmarking Pureit’s Current Implementation in Pakistan with India

In India,PureIt is one of Unilever’s most successful products. Hindustan Unilever digitized the distribution networks of Pureit via a well maintained online delivery and service portal. The adaption of the product was entirely community driven, and endorsements from the health authorities eased Pureit’s acceptance amongst the consumers.

In comparison, interaction between the product and the customer is missing in Pakistan. The Pureit website is outdated and low in User Experience (UX), while the customer service leaves much to be desired.

Output From the Design Thinking Exercises

The team decided to implemented human centered design (HCD) methodologies to develop the marketing plan for PureIt. A major reason for this was the fact that a successful adoption of the product required a much deeper understanding of the end users, and any solution had to be community driven.

The team engaged in multiple ethnographic studies, interviews and framework mapping exercises in order to understand how best to market the product within urban low income families in Lahore and Karachi. The following was the major output from the design thinking exercise.

Target Customer Analysis

The following was a persona of the typical PureIt customer.

The PureIt Customer Persona
The PureIt Customer Persona

As highlighted by the persona, the basic consumer need was of a cheap, hassle-free and time saving method for obtaining healthy water.

Value Proposition Chart

The following chart mapped out the value proposition that PureIt should be addressing for the customers

The Value Proposition for PureIt
The Value Proposition for PureIt

The Basic Insights Behind The Marketing Plan

The community in the target group(TG) is the main catalyst for our marketing campaign. We need a more intrinsic, personalized interaction with our TG, hence we need to use internal stakeholders i.e. existing PureIt customers chosen as Pureit ambassadors, and Unilever employees in the communities chosen as Pureit agents. Also, there should be endorsements from doctors and local health officials on the workability of the product.

The Central Idea of the Marketing Strategy

The central idea of the marketing strategy was the Share Water, Create Happiness Campaign. Under the campaign, the following two activities were recommended:

  • The Purepoints referral program. A continuous incentivising program which aimed to encourage the adoption of the product. Since customers in Pakistan were more aware about other Unilever products generally, the idea was to offer them discounts on other popular household Unilever products via regular usage of PureIt as well as by referring new customers to use the product.The insight behind this program was that the customers would be more influenced after watching their neighbours, relatives, friends etc. use the product, rather than being convinced about the usability of the product from mere sales representatives.
Diagrammatic Representation of Purepoint System
Diagrammatic Representation of Purepoint System
  • The “Saaf Paani, Saaf Samajh” ( Clean Water, Clean Community) Campaign. Access to potable water is a serious issue for communities in Pakistan. It was therefore recommended to launch a community service initiative, under which cleanliness drives were launched in local communities. These drives were augmented by endorsements from local doctors on both,the urgent need of ensuring that family members drink clean water, and also on the workability of PureIt.

The Recommended Distribution Network

The following was the recommended distribution network for PureIt under the marketing plan

PureIt Distribution Network
PureIt Distribution Network

The Updated Business Model Canvas for PureIt

Under the revamped marketing strategy, the business model for PureIt was redesigned to be as the following:

Business Model of PureIt
Business Model of PureIt

The Next Steps

The marketing plan won in the PureIt category, and was one of the 6 final plans presented to Unilever’s senior management team.

Additional Links

PureIt Marketing Plan

Unilever Talent Hunt Final Presentation