Social media advances product development and design of packaged spring water

lauragirdler    October 17, 2016

As I sit, and write this blog today I am sipping on nothing but Mildmay’s finest alkaline spring water, Flow. If you haven’t experienced Flow water yet you truly are missing out. This naturally alkaline spring water is from owner’s (Nicholas Reichenbach) , own family farm in small town, Mildmay, Ontario. The water is packaged into a recyclable Tetra Pak box that is PET and BPA free. This packaging is the first of it’s kind to be used in North America. Since beginning packaging the water has become recognized across North America, and has even gained Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays as a spokes person for the brand.

Flow prides itself on having a package that is ‘as positive as their water’. In Canadian Grocer article, Canadian company gets into the Flow with spring water, Reichenbach quotes, “It appeals to conscious consumers… people who like high-quality, healthful water and really care about what they put into their body. They also equally care about minimizing their carbon footprint and minimizing their impact on the environment”.

Social media factors relating to product development and design can be broken down into four categories: speed, cost, quality, and brand impact. Speed is about engaging and identifying customers in an easier and faster manner. An example of cost as a factor is using surveys through social media as a low cost source of information. Quality is about using social media data analysis and online customer engagement to increase quality. Brand impact is the use of social media analysis to assist with the design of marketing campaigns.

Factors that Flow’s Social Media presence has on their product development and design: 

  • Speed: Flow has developed a great online presence with over 3000 likes on Facebook, and close to 5000 followers on Instagram. The company has created a popular hashtag to go with the brand, #BeInTheFlow. Flow has 27 reviews on Facebook giving them a rating of 4.9/5 stars. The company uses these reviews to connect with customers and hear their feedback.
  • Cost: Flow used social media to host a contest called #FindYourFlow, the goal was to choose a spokesperson for the brand. Through Instagram and Twitter people were invited to add a photo of themselves being in their flow. After narrowing down the contestants, individuals were asked to cast their vote through Facebook. The contest was closed after the winner, Rachelle Wintzen, was chosen. By hosting this contest Flow was able to search web-wide for an ideal spokesperson in a cost effective manner.
  • Quality: Spokesperson, Josh Donaldson, created social media contest #MindBodyFlow.  By sharing a photo of yourself ‘finding your flow’, you and three friends could win a trip to Oahu, Hawaii. This contest generate 942 posts on Instagram with the winner being a photo posted by @merel_blackbird. This contest created online customer engagement that will increase the quality of the company.
  • Brand impact: By using Josh Donaldson as a spokesperson for the brand, it has advanced what could have been a ‘small town business’ into a booming company. By having a spokesperson who is a trending subject all on their own it creates an enormous online presence for the brand which will allow for higher results when social media is analzyed.

Example of social media being used to provide higher quality product development and design for Flow:

National Post had people taste test unmarked types of water, in order to identify which cup was Flow water. The video can be found here.

In response to what some may call, ‘constructive criticism’, Reichenbach says, “It tastes like what water should taste like, absolutely nothing”. Although some of the reviews of the water were not all great, it nonetheless gives the company feedback to create a higher quality experience for it’s customers.

Lessons for Others

Flow water comes from a spring on a 25 acre farm in a town with a population of approximately 1000 people. Yet, the company has managed to intertwine social media with product development and design in such a way to create an online presence with over 8000 followers across North America. This success could not have been achieved without it ‘s hardworking spokespeople, environmentally friendly design, and social media platform.

Organization: Flow
Industry: Packaged Water
Name of Organization Contact: Nicholas Reichenbach

Authored by: Laura Girdler

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


  • National Post Flow packaged water is an allnew allCanadian H2O but how does ittaste Comments

    Rebecca Tucker –

  • Canadian Grocer

    By –

  • Marketing Magazine Comments

    Danny Kucharsky July 30, 2015 –

  • Flow Water

  • The Globe and Mail

    @globeandmail –

  • Financial Post Josh Donaldson is a significant coup for Toronto water startupFlow Comments

    Denise Deveau –