Who owns your Brand?
The answer may seem obvious, YOU do of course.
But do you really?
30 years ago today, one of the world’s leading brands made its worst mistake ever, and I want to share these learnings with you today because it can be the difference between the making of – or breaking of – your business.
You’ll recall the fierce cola wars of the 80s; Coca-Cola was number one at the time, but Pepsi was gaining ground on Coke’s precious market share.
In an attempt to protect this, Coca-Cola announced it was changing its secret flavour formula, dubbed as ‘New Coke’ by the public.
The giant had invested in market research and pollsters were confident it’d be a hit, but it was a disaster which Coke was totally blind to.
Only 13% of soda drinkers liked the new Coke.
Fans were angry (note, not upset) at Coke’s promise of a smoother, sweeter taste, which turned loyal customers sour.
“I think the new Coke is too sweet, I like the old Coke better,” said a woman.
The backlash grew at such a rate, with grassroot campaigns being launched across America to force Coca-Cola to bring back the original Coke.
Competitors Pepsi quickly (and cleverly) responded with an advert featuring a girl asking: “Somebody out there tell me why Coke did it? Why did Coke change?”.
The reaction was so severe that Coca-Cola was eventually forced to hold a press conference to admit their mistake, and to officially announce the return of the ‘old’ Coke.
Simple Lessons we can all learn this week, whether you’re a one-man band or a corporate giant:
(1). When making a change to your product or service, we all know that Market Research is vital, but don’t just focus on the functionality, and NEVER underestimate the emotional attachment customers place on your brand.
(2). Don’t get caught up Naval-Gazing on your competition. Yes, keep an eye on what they’re up to, but don’t get obsessed with focusing all your attention on them because this can result in you making changes for the wrong reasons.
(3). Make sure you’re always true to yourself, your customers, your brand and your product.And this shouldn’t stop with you, it should permeate throughout your entire team and business from your culture and values right down to job descriptions and training.
(4). Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you learn from them that’s key.
Next time you’re thinking of a change to your products or services, remember this example, and the importance of emotional attachment your customers may hold about your brand, to avoid fizzling out.
The Scalability Coach | Britain’s Top 10 Adviser 2018 | Author of #1 bestseller I don’t work Fridays | Ex-CEO of a PLC