Lessons Learned from Soft Drinks

It’s the drink we love, we hate, and we love to hate. You guessed it –it’s soda– but the same things can be said about your brand. Are you a rockstar stand-out with a killer value proposition and heart touching mission, or are you a more of a wannabe who may be trying a little bit too hard to win over the masses? We all know where we want to be on that spectrum, but our wants don’t always necessarily reflect reality. Let’s look at 5 lessons that you can learn from soda that can really help your brand make a splash.

Lesson 1 — Quench the thirst:

You don’t need a business degree to know that businesses exist for one reason: to provide a product or service. But does it go beyond that? Much like your favorite soft drink quenches your thirst on a hot summer day; as a business, your target market is looking at you to metaphorically quench their thirst for whatever their needs are.

{History} Lesson 2 — Find your niche, and stick with it:

In the spring of 1985, the Coca-Cola Company modified their now-beloved classic cola formula with the hopes of giving the long-lived soda company a fresh face (or rather taste), much to the chagrin of consumers everywhere. The stunt created so much backlash that merely 78 days after the launch of “New Coke”, as the new concoction was cleverly dubbed, Coca-Cola execs announced they’d be putting the original formula back into production. Some say New Coke was a stunt to increase sales and market share over, famed rival Pepsi®; while others believe it was just a major product faux paus. Whatever you believe, this debacle proved that new doesn’t necessarily translate to better.

Follow Coke’s precedent. Whatever your product offering is, once you find your “one thing…” you know, that thing you’re insanely good at producing or providing…stick with it! Don’t feel the need to diversify into a multitude of unrelated products, or completely overhaul your already successful product just to increase your stake in the game. Otherwise, you may find yourself in your own New Coke situation.

Lesson 3 — Be sweet:
It’s true that the purchasing power of consumers lies heavily in their wallets; however, in recent years their buying habits have by in large reflected their stance on socio-political issues. Simply put, people support businesses that share values that are similar to their own. Look at your organization’s stance on social responsibility. What is it? Does it even exist? This doesn’t mean you have to donate 100% of your profits to charity, obviously; but look at what your organization is doing to contribute to the greater good of the community you serve. Corporate social responsibility isn’t necessarily a make-or-break factor in the longevity of your brand, but a little “sweetness” can go a long way in the eyes of the modern consumer.

Lesson 4 — Be addicting:

You’re not going to want “one and done” customers, right? Of course not! When looking at your brand’s online presence, it’s important to create content through either social media posts, video content, or fun blog posts on your website *nudge, nudge* that is refreshing, crisp, and keeps your consumer base active, engaged, and thirsty for more.

Lesson 5 — Don’t. Get. Flat.:
No one likes flat soda. What makes your brand any different? Your product could be flawless, but if you leave your existing strategy untouched, eventually, your performance is going to go flat. Take a long, hard look at yourself (or your brand, rather) in the mirror and look at what is working, and what could use a little TLC. Maybe your website is less than spectacular. Maybe you’re reaching the wrong target audience, or maybe your social media presence is severely lacking. Whatever you wind up discovering, you’re going to need to determine what actionable steps you as an organization will need to take to give yourself facelift before it’s too late.

Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your brand is never easy; in fact, it can be downright painful. Much like a can of soda, when you go to shake things up from time to time and crack the seal holding everything together, you’re going to get messy; but, hopefully, you’ll wind up more refreshing than you were before.

Ready for a brand refresh?