Imagine you are walking down the street and see a group of people trying to get volunteers for a taste testing. In the cups before them they have two identical-looking colas. They ask you to try both cups and pick which one you prefer. You will then need to try and identify which is Coke and which is Pepsi.
Do you think you would be able to tell the difference? Do you think you would actually pick the flavor you usually drink (in other words, if you usually drink Coke, would you actually select that one as your favorite)?
Shockingly, many people don’t. A number of different experiments have shown that many people are unable to correctly identify which cola is which. Even more surprisingly, in double blind taste tests, Pepsi often wins. It was this phenomenon that led to Pepsi steadily encroaching upon Coca-Cola’s lead in the market in the 1970s and 1980s. In an effort to win back customers, Coca-Cola introduced the debacle that was New Coke. The new formula was quickly rejected by consumers, and the company worked to gain back the trust of their loyal customers.
Coca-Cola managed to transition out of their problematic campaign and back to their original formula, but this left them in an interesting position. They still used the original formula, which customers said they wanted, but this formula was the one that often lost to Pepsi in taste tests. In the twenty years since this fiasco, Coca-Cola still manages to lead the market and has been holding steady.
According to what many people view as the unwritten rules of marketing, this should not be happening. Coke has two major points working against it.
Coke’s formula is often deemed inferior by the consumer base in taste tests.
The company completely alienated much of its loyal consumer base when it introduced New Coke without adequate market research.
Yet somehow Coca-Cola remains ahead.
Understanding why this happened and what companies today can learn from it can help you revolutionize your advertising campaigns.
Coca-Cola’s advertising works to develop a certain mentality in us. When we see the brand’s familiar script logo, we connect to the company’s rich history. We see small children walking up to drugstore counters to buy a Coke. We also connect with the company’s familiar advertising icons (its polar bears, for example) that are often featured in various advertising campaigns. Of course, Coca-Cola’s friendship ads help us feel connected to other Coke drinkers around the globe, as well.
The key here is the brand. Coca-Cola is now an iconic brand. It has become such a staple in our culture that in some regions, the word ‘Coke’ is used to mean any soft drink.
So what are you doing to develop your brand? Creating and maintaining a strong brand should be at the center of all your marketing. Customers make decisions based on the subconscious associations they develop between a company’s brand and its intangibles, including its quality, reliability, and history. Successful marketing helps to encourage positive associations in consumers’ minds.
Thinking about the entire customer experience
Taste tests often show that Pepsi is the preferred brand, especially considering it is slightly sweeter. While this might be better for short-term tastes, many people drink soft drinks in vast quantities. They don’t just drink a sip or two. They drink large bottles. Given the entire customer experience, it’s easier to see why the slightly sweeter brand seems to be less preferred in the long run.
Branding and considering the entire customer experience have both had an enormous impact on Coca-Cola’s ability to hold onto its lead over Pepsi, despite taste tests and marketing troubles. When you keep these criteria in mind for your company, you’ll also be able to boost your success. So grab a soft drink, sit down, and work with us to begin determining how you can better market your company. 410-574-0780.
Baseball has been an important part of our cultural fabric for more than a century. It makes sense, therefore, that baseball has many lessons it can teach us about managing a business. One of those lessons has to do with managing reputations.
Over the years, baseball has survived scandals and strikes that could have easily crippled it: the 1919 Chicago White Sox throwing the World Series; the strike-shortened 1994 season, when there was no World Series at all; the steroid scandals of more recent times. While the sport hasn’t escaped completely unscathed, it does remain a popular pastime for many who enjoy playing and watching it throughout the summer and fall.
Fortunately, most of us will never have to deal with issues as powerful as those that have hit baseball throughout its history. Even so, managing a company reputation in the digital area can be a very tough responsibility.
Customers can spread information, positive and negative, about your company instantaneously. While it might seem tempting to just bury your head in the sand and hope such criticism goes away, you can’t afford to just ignore what is said about you online. Fortunately, the lessons from baseball tell us that people generally tend to overlook occasional slip-ups or poor experiences if the overall impression of the company is one of value.
The primary step in relationship management should always be to offer customers outstanding value and products. Here are three additional steps you can take to build and maintain an overall positive reputation.
Just as baseball has discovered over its long and storied history, managing a reputation can be a difficult proposition. But doing so is essential to the continued growth and viability of any organization. Reputation affects marketing success and whether or not people are interested in what you have to sell.
Fortunately, reputation is not always cut and dried. People are often willing to overlook particular problems in favor of value and an overall positive experience. Following the above advice should make it easy for your company to do just that.
The language you use in your marketing materials has more of an effect than you may realize. In fact, something as simple as your choice of pronouns can end up having an influence on your potential customers and the likelihood of them purchasing your products.
The value of the first person
In general, customers respond better to marketing materials, especially websites, that use the first person. This might include buttons that say “create my account” instead of “open an account,” or “start my free trial” instead of “start your free trial.” Making this simple transition can provide a noticeable jump in conversion rates and higher click-throughs. Potential customers will spend more time on your website, learning about your company and what you have to offer. Even if they don’t buy during their initial visit, they’ll begin to feel familiar and connected with your brand, and therefore more likely to return to you when they are ready to buy.
Why do first person pronouns matter?
It all comes down to the power of psychology. Using first person pronouns helps potential customers feel as though they already “belong” — that your company truly cares. That’s something many companies struggle with when trying to reach customers online. It’s much easier to develop close relationships when interacting with customers in person. However, switching to first-person pronouns on your website can help to produce this same kind of connection with customers whose only interactions with your brand take place online.
Making the switch
Effectively incorporating first person pronouns as a part of your call to action must be paired with quality marketing materials. You cannot simply switch your pronouns and expect to see a change if your copy still requires a considerable amount of work. Focus first on developing quality advertising, whether on your website, in social media, or on a traditional advertising platform. Once you have the ad itself set, rather than wrap up your message with a standard call to action, make the switch to the first person and prepare to be amazed at the influence such a simple change can have.
Developing a quality call to action can play an important part in finding new customers and encouraging those who see the advertisements to convert. Incorporating first-person pronouns in that call to action can have a profound effect on your bottom line. If you’re interested in learning more about these different advertising techniques, give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you get started growing and finding new customers.
Situation- You tell Verizon Wireless that you were billed over 525 dollars for data download that you didn’t order and didn’t want from Orange in France. Verizon Wireless tells you how sorry they are and they will back date your bill and fix your problem. They tell you this for weeks and then stick you with the bill anyway. They give you $10 off. There is no way to appeal, no way to change it.
To a computer, yes, the roaming charges are accurate.
But I thought Verizon Wireless customer service was staffed by people serving customers.
I explained to the customer service person on July 20 what happened.
I traveled to France with my family on vacation. I called Verizon before I left to make sure that the 4 phones we were traveling with could make phone calls and messaging. I told them we did not need internet.
After taking pictures on my smart phone I wanted to download the pictures to my laptop. I was hooked up to a local hub for internet for both. I accidentally turned on hotspot tether on my phone which proceeded to send 26GB of email to my laptop before I could stop it. This happened in about 2 minutes. I heard my phone beeping and later realized that those were text messages telling me about download thresholds. The customer service person told me they could back date my bill and increase my plan for the month so i would not incure a 525 bill! I really don’t care about your explanation, I want somebody at Verizon Wireless to reduce my bill on this. $120 discount over the course of a year doesn’t approach the hassle and time this has cost me.
If this can’t be resolved in the next 5 days in a prompt manner I will take this to people that can change this.
I will be contacting the Attorney General of Maryland and my congressman. This is not fair the way I am being treated as a customer.