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Friday, March 26, 2010

Coke Zero: A brand promise meant to be broken?

The Brandgym blog recently discussed how hard it is to topple a leader brand in a specific segment. They compared the "men's" calorie-free cola category battle between leading brand Pepsi Max, and the runner up Coke Zero. As they describe, Pepsi Max certainly has a stronger name, great advertising, and clearly stands for the market of men's calorie free soft drinks. But there is one fatal flaw I believe makes a major difference.

Coke Zero makes the claim "Real Coke taste, zero calories." This is the central message in all of their advertising. Yet am I the only person who believes the two drinks taste nothing alike?

The brand promises to taste exactly like Coca-Cola, but one taste tells you otherwise. A brand cannot succeed if the brand promise is not met. The Coca-Cola Company would be wise to focus on Coke Zero as a unique product on its own, just like Pepsi does with Max.

With your brand, you must be what you are, or change the product to deliver that promise. Lying about your product leads to disappointment, and is not a road to success.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Social Media is the new journal of personal history


Every historic movie about an individual begins with a diary. That written record of the person's life, challenges, and perspectives. Before paper, we had cave drawings, and tales written in pottery. Somewhere in the 20th century we seemed to lose this tradition of story-telling and leaving a legacy for the next generations. Very few people saw the passing of their grandparents and great-grandparents followed by a discovery of a journal that gave more insight into who they were and what they thought about.

With the loss of that written word, I feel we lose a bit of where we came from, and who we can be. The fast-paced consumerism lifestyle prevents us from stepping back from the world and writing down our perspectives. Even when we find the time, we worry if something is politically correct to say, and we keep that thought to ourselves where it will die. Sure, some thoughts should be kept to oneself and be forgotten.

Social networks can be that written and visual history of your life, which can be shared and remembered. Let your innermost thoughts spread for everyone to enjoy and get to know you better. Show the younger generations to come that our challenges are nothing new, and that they can learn from what was done before them to make the world better. Don't fear what you post will be read by your family, embrace the fact that they can get to know you better and be part of your life.

And perhaps, one day in the future a movie will be made about you which begins with the reading of a Twitter stream. Be immortal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Follow the big guy to failure

If you run a small retail store, you need to know that you are not Walmart. Your restaurant is not McDonalds. Unless of course you are one of these, or another major national chain, you shouldn't plan your marketing like they do. Too often, when a business owner wants to attract customers, they turn to the methods they see most, television, radio, print, billboards, etc. These are all effective methods of advertising, for the right business. These are major budget-breakers if they are reaching out to people who are not potential customers.

Take some time to identify your target customers, and how many customers you can actually serve. Then market to them, not everyone.