What happens when you assemble a team of beverage industry veterans in the heart of one of the biggest markets in the world? You see technology and marketing merge to launch a dynamic new brand: Agua Energy Water, naturally flavored, low-calorie waters containing caffeine derived from the Guaraná berry.

After years of hands-on product development with brand staples such as Pepsi, Glacéau and Coca-Cola, Carol Dollard, founder of Agua Energy Water (www.aguaenerviva.com), decided to assemble a team made up of experts she had worked with over the years in order to create a new line of energy waters under the brand name Agua Energy Water.

Speaking from her industry experience, Dollard says, “Successful products have to deliver a taste and experience to the consumer that makes them want to come back to the brand.” The idea behind Agua Energy Water was to establish something real that drives customers to make the products a part of their lifestyle.

With that goal in mind, taste was critical — an area in which Dollard is an expert. 

“Our team went through multiple versioning to create a family of low-calorie flavors in both the Energy Water and Fruit Essence lines that deliver an outstanding profile based on our consumer feedback,” says Dollard. The Energy Waters are available in five fruit flavors, and the Fruit Essence Waters come in six.

The data and resulting product profiles have been confirmed by sales. The Agua brands are growing in the Northeast markets, from Maine to New York to Philadelphia. Dollard states, “This is the battleground. Succeed here, and you then have a foundation to build on and can succeed everywhere.”

Once the product formulation was perfected, the next element to carry out was the packaging.

“With the taste profile proven, the challenge was to make this product so attractive we could get the consumer to notice it in the critical moment of truth when they are making a buying decision,” says Dollard. 

Agua Energy Water solicited the help of multi-color packaging printer Hammer Packaging (hammerpackaging.com) to convert shrink sleeve labeling for its custom bottles. Hammer Packaging has expertise in sheet-fed offset, web offset, flexography and digital, and uses leading-edge technology to produce high-quality printed labels and package decoration for a wide variety of markets.

“Hammer brought a team of engineering and color experts to the table and helped us manage the complex decision matrix that surrounds the end result,” says Dollard. 

Shrink sleeves are a complex decorating solution. Having more space for graphics doesn’t always equate to it being meaningful. The challenge to the designer is to balance the use of space on the package and create priority zones that will capture the consumer’s attention. 

“The Agua brands have a nice balance around the package; you see the fruit, yet it doesn’t hide the product,” says Louis Iovoli, vice president at Hammer Packaging. “It’s informative but not overwhelming. You quickly know what the product is after being drawn to it by the image.”

As for the imagery and other graphics, Hammer’s team knew Agua is a growth brand and decided to offer it the opportunity to produce all its SKUs using combination printing of web offset and flexo in an extended color gamut ink set, so they can add more flavors as the brand grows. By using this approach, Hammer introduced a common color set unique to Agua that allows for new items to be introduced without having to increase costs by changing inks with every flavor. 

“We didn’t want a short-term view of the brand,” says Dollard. “We fully expect the line to expand to include new and unique flavors as the brand grows.”

“We love working with Dollard and her team,” adds Iovoli. “They do everything right, from prototyping to adjusting after the fact. This team knows what they want and have a great vision for the brand. Based on our years of converting for the beverage industry, we see this team as destined for success.”

The brand’s color requirements for the shrink sleeve labels were “vivid” and “strong,” according to Iovoli. After many versions and adjustments, the product accomplishes both requirements to draw the consumer’s eye. 

“When you look at the fruit images, you can almost taste the product even before you open the bottle,” says Iovoli. 

 The end result: A full line of Energy and Fruit Essence Waters that look unbelievable and taste great. Next time you see an Agua, don’t waste the opportunity to try one. You won’t regret the experience.