Coca Cola Under-Leverage it’s Great Brand Image

Coca Cola Under-Leverage it’s Great Brand Image

That’s the opinion of Al Ries.

If you don’t know the man, he is the one who along with Jack Trout coined the term “positioning” and authored the famous book, “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”.

Al Ries was in Singapore recently to attend the Global Brand Forum and he answered an interesting question from Marketing magazine:

In your opinion which brand has a great brand image but is not doing anything to leverage it and why?

Al Ries’ answer was not unexpected.

Coca-Cola it is world’s most valuable brand yet it never plays up on its heritage as the original, authentic cola. Every couple of years they change the slogan. The latest concept ‘The Coke side of life” to me is a meaningless concept. Coca Cola should own an idea called “The Real Thing”, connoting the authenticity of the product. Incidentally, Coca Cola share of the soft-drink business in the US has been declining about 1% yearly in the last four or five years.

I’m always in the opinion that marketers should own a key word or key phrase in the target audience mind. Mercedes-Benz is all about “prestige”. Volvo means “safety”. Nike advocates “doing”. American Express reminds us “don’t leave home without it”.

Coca Cola has a gem in it’s 1970 slogan “It’s the Real Thing” yet it abandoned it within a year. I have discussed in my earlier post When Is A Change Of Advertisments Good? that

You breathe and live your product and services, you will notice even if a speck of dust drops on it. Your target audience, however, is nowhere near that level of intimacy with your products. They are not as aware of your brand, corporate identity, product features and benefits as you are. My suspicion is, they are starting to take notice of you just as you are beginning to get sick of your own marketing messages.

Fortunately, when Singapore Airline ditched Batey Ads For TWBA, it did not hear the calls of dissidents to ditch the famous “Singapore Girl” branding.

It will be interesting to see if Coca Cola will emulate companies like Burger King – who resurrect it’s 1976 slogan “Have it Your Way” in 2004.

3 Replies to “Coca Cola Under-Leverage it’s Great Brand Image”

  1. Products that used the same slogan for MANY years were successful. I could never understand way they stopped. “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” and “Look Mom. No cavities” are two that quickly come to mind. They were easy to remimeber and they created a great niche for their products.

  2. In my opinion, we need to change the proposition based on the times and trends. That’s after all to be quite trendy and fresh.
    But doing so one needs to recapture the original charm and not undo it. That’s what happened with coke, “the real thing” was superb; it’s challenge to match that magic. Good post!

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