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By Moses Kaketo
The battle for survival and the domination of energy drink’s market in Uganda is intensifying. There are more than seven energy drinks brands on the market each fighting for a share of the market.
Recently, Pepsi Uganda launched a new energy drink brand-Sting. Reading from Sting’s packaging and pricing, the product is designed to take on market leaders-Rock Boom, a product manufactured by rivals Harris International, the makers of Riham Cola.
Energy drinks on the Ugandan market are classified into two-low end brands [Sting and Rock Boom] and high-end brands [Bullet, Monster, Red Bull etc].
Launched a few months ago, Rock Boom has taken the market by storm. This success is said to have provoked Pepsi Uganda to launch a rival product-Sting. The question remains whether Sting will be able to take on Rock Boom?
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Sting goes for the same price as Rock Boom. However, availability and clear marketing remains a key issue for the former. A survey carried out by Newz Post revealed that Sting is missing in leading supermarkets and local shops. On the other hand, Rock Boom is readily available across the country.
Sting was brought on the market secretly and launched later. That aside, the product has not been given sufficient marketing support. Perhaps this explains why the market has not been responsive.
New products normally go through an adaptation process-such products need a lot of marketing supports inform of personal selling, sales promotion, and sampling among others, which seems to be missing with Sting.
So, what went wrong?
Pepsi Uganda has always excelled at launching new products, including Mountain Dew, Mirinda Green Apple, Mirinda Fruity among others. Sources at Pepsi attribute the current crisis to the fact that many of the experienced senior managers, including the CEO Simon Lugoloobi were sacked while the new CEO, Paddy Muramira is for now slow on decision making.
It is clear Pepsi Uganda has failed to clearly position Sting. What is so unique with Sting that will allure a customer who has been drinking Rock Boom or the other existing energy drinks to switch to Sting?
Merely, saying ‘‘a new energy drink is on the market’’ is not enough to entice a customer to switch from his favorite energy drink.
Rock Boom has been positioned as a sex vitality drink. This explains why more men are seen taking it. The positioning seems to have worked out. Rock Boom sales have been growing and are now a market leader.
Riham Cola has also set aside huge marketing budget for her products including Rock Boom. Her brands have been getting maximum visibility and noise from the right media targeting her market, including: radios, TV, billboards etc. And the market has rewarded them.
Market intelligence reports indicate Pepsi Uganda is undergoing a difficult time-restructuring, loan repayment and besides her sales have dropped significantly.
A senior Pepsi Uganda staff told Newz Post that all is not well at Pepsi Uganda.
‘‘Last year, Pepsi Uganda posted a profit of Ugx. 55 million. A figure that is way below what the company posted in 2013 and 2014- US$3M’’ said the source.
According to analysts, the Ugx. 55m is a slap in the face of shareholders given the huge resources they have invested in the company.
As a result of this, the beverage firm may not have the money to spend on marketing to boost her new brands including Sting and Nivana Mineral water.
With the unending restructuring at Pepsi Uganda, financial hardship, it is evident Pepsi Uganda needs time before they can take on new projects and brands. For now, Harris International or Rock Boom is not likely not feel the pressure from Sting.