Stop Playing Everyone Else’s Game: Scale Lessons From Coca-Cola
Over 130 years ago, John Pemberton began to advertise Coca-Cola, a new ‘medicine’ intended as a substitute to morphine. In the first year, nine glasses of Coke were sold a day.
Today, if you lined up 8oz bottles filled with all of the Coke ever made, they would reach to the moon and back over 2,000 times!
Whilst it’s one of the world’s most popular drinks, its recipe is steeped in mystery; locked away in a vault, with an undisclosed number of people who know the formula.
But what if someone did get their hands on the “secret formula”, would they be able to replicate it and become just as big as Coke?
The simple answer is …. No.
The power of Coke isn’t in the taste (remember the legendary Pepsi challenge?) – it’s from the remarkable marketing efforts and focus on brand, slogans and advertising over the last 125 years.
Important Lessons We Can All Learn From This:
- Lesson 1 – Play Your Own Game, NOT Everyone Else’s.
Even if you did reproduce Coke’s exact recipe, you would still face the enormous challenge of taking it to market. Business is a game, but too many business owners that I speak to don’t know what game they’re even playing.
- Lesson 2 – The Power of Hype.
The physical vault, secrecy and myths surrounding Coke’s original recipe all cleverly create hype, and 100+ years on, people are still talking about it.
This Week Think About:
- Your differentiator and how YOU can play to win in your marketplace. What business are you in – and more importantly what business are you NOT in? What are the points of differentiation between you and your competition? What are the four things you are (or want to be) famous for?
- Your marketing and how to start creating a buzz. We’re curious creatures so look at ways of teasing your audience rather than giving all the info away at the once. Create a short message (hook) to capture people’s attention. Look at “waiting lists” and “limited time” (BUT always be authentic).
Coke’s slogan in 1990 said:
You Can’t Beat The Real Thing.
The great thing is, you don’t need to; you simply need to focus on YOUR thing.