Category Archives: Branding

Pepsi Portrayal

The world continues to be split over which cola is better, Pepsi? or Coke? While the two brands couldn’t be any different in terms of identity they still occupy the same category and strive for consumer love and acceptance. While Pepsi stakes its claim to the pop-culture, Coke keeps it real with the throwback logo and simplistic brand message. One would be quick to say these brands are polar opposites, however if you think about how their identities are structured you’ll be quick to find that both have pop-culture appeal through different portrayals. Jay-Z said “thirty is the new twenty,” and Coke rolls on with the throwback mentality, keeping it classic, just like the Nike kicks you see hitting the pavement under young individuals and just like the sports jersey’s you see King James and KG in each night. Coke’s choice to maintain the classic appeal has granted them honors into pop-culture like a classic car sitting on 20’s, but the decision to remain traditional still makes it the cola of choice when Grandpa comes in for lunch.

Pepsi approaches the “appeal to pop-culture” through a different technique. They organize the advertising and marketing around trend culture. Back when Brit was flashing her v-card you could she her sippin Pepsi on prime time. Pepsi takes the approach of constant re-branding and staying current. While it is probably a more expensive method of capturing consumers it creates a new segment in a limited product category, offering those non-traditionalists a choice besides the classic.

The investment into staying fresh comes at a costly price. The small fortune spent to constantly face-lift the brand leads to no guarantee of increased sales or brand loyalty. The tools provided through social media allow companies such as Pepsi to listen to consumers and address feedback accordingly, but still the ultimate decision is up to the company. I noticed that Pepsi even went through the process of targeting online influencers to gather feedback and promote the new identity. Unfortunately you can find portrayals such as the one below that have the ability to totally dismantle the logo for everyone:

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Utilizing the online community certainly has advantages, but also demands a higher quality of product, branding, and consumer relations due to the accessible tools. While this one negative portrayal may seem insignificant it has the capability of spreading like wildfire across the internet and tainting the brand identity of Pepsi. Essentially it should be the taste of the product that people base their opinions on, but in the current age of marketing a significant amount of consumer perception is based on the element of branding and how a company can position and differentiate itself within a category.

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Icons of Personal Branding- Barack n’ Roll

With the election in the rear-view mirror there are an abundance of mixed emotions in the nation. However, one thing we all have in common, the desire to see the change that was preached throughout president-elect, Obama’s campaign. It was a hard fought battle by both candidates and each displayed commendable effort.

3005048653_482ea67a6f1I think that there are a few lessons for marketers and consumers that should be extracted from the proceedings of the campaign and election. The topic of personal branding is currently at the forefront of our industry. Obama showed us all what its like to create a personal brand out of the most unlikely of scenarios. Many people thought they wouldn’t see a minority president in their lifetime, if even their children would see a minority president. We all probably thought it would be more likely to see Nader in the Whitehouse. Well, we proved ourselves wrong, and the progress our country made yesterday as a whole is a milestone in our history. It would not have been possible though if Obama hadn’t exercised the most impressive and tireless acts of personal branding seen to date. We’re talking of a man who not only motivated a record number of people to exercise their civic duty, but he defied the social ascriptions of racial limitation and gained the trust of a majority of Americans to lead our country. He achieved all of this through selling his brand to Americans. He gained support, gained contributions, gained trust, and generated motivation within segments of society that have yet to impact the outcome of our leadership until now. How often in the past have you seen countless you-tube videos supporting a candidate through an expression of pop-culture? Never. Have you ever seen candidate shirts in places like urban outfitters that say things like, “Barack and Roll?” This man motivated us to chose our destiny despite what we’ve heard about the lack of influence a single vote has. Yes, maybe a single vote plays a little role in the outcome of an election, but when you motivate an entire country of singles to act as a whole you get a dominant victory and defy all odds against minority leadership. Our country is going to be a different place from here on out and its thanks to a single man who knew the American people were better than even they thought.

What do I take from this? Well, if you want to see how to motivate people, look at Barack. If you want to see how to gain support through common ideals, look at Barack. If you want advice on how to build a powerful brand, look at Barack. Eight years ago, maybe even four years ago, people would’ve thought that Barack selling himself to the American people would’ve been as likely as selling ice cream in hell, not because they were racist or disliked the man, but because they thought the country as a whole was not ready for that leap. He proved us wrong.

I also tie consumerism into this lesson we’ve learned yesterday and throughout the last twenty months. When we looked at our influence in terms of individual we lack power, but when we look at our influence in terms of contributing to a larger group we’re detrimental. If you’re passionate about something find the populous that shares your ideals and make something happen. If the populous doesn’t yet exist, lead and find your supporters. If you demand something of a brand, tell them, your influence will be heard. Take this effort for example, http://frontierfail.com/, a group of unsatisfied flyers that will be heard by the company. It doesn’t always have to be your displeasure, compliment a brand for doing the right thing or guide them in the right direction. If your looking for a brand to go more green, simply tell them with your group, or tribe, as Seth Godin would say. Our tools to increase our influence is literally at our finger tips.

Photo Cred: Bob Jagendorf


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On My Mind: Brand Simplicity

Introducing a brand through social media outlets requires the backing of an innovative and well targeted implementation. However the brand development should still appear as a work in progress, in need of some small tweaks and changes. In essence, I’m suggesting that the implementation strategy overrides the presentation.

The reason that brands should be integrating themselves into social media revolves around their concerns of what the consumers really want. If positioned in the right place they will tell you. What appears as a destruction of a brand through negative feedback is really the construction of a consumer molded brand, by the people for the people. This procession is headed by both willingness of the brand to subject itself to abuse and willingness of the consumer to constructively criticize brands in which they are interested. Like mentioned earlier, this constructive branding development only works when planners design a proper implementation. This requires involvement in the communities before introducing the brand and associating a value with consumer participation.

To sum this up; Introducing a brand to social media should signify a work in progress, welcome contributors to help build what they buy. This is a method of brand development, not marketing. The marketing is more of an automatic output through viral effects of the accumulating brand value. If people handcraft and influence the building of something they will be more likely to welcome and become loyal.

There is more on this topic at a regular read of mine: http://www.spotlightideas.co.uk/ – check the video out on perfect brands and see what you think. There is good insight here on what gets people motivated to contribute and why its necessary to “let them in” rather than simply pushing a sale.

Provide the framework, let them paint the picture:Photo Credit: Daquella manera

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Brand Evolution

Each day we live a life in which we are constantly constructing and shaping an identity. I have been intrigued to find how many people and businesses seek to portray a secondary identity within the virtual media. We have embarked on an era of self-branding. Not only is it valuable for product or service brands to segment and create accepted brands to their targets, but it has become almost a civic duty for consumers to create profiles and display a virtual, personal brand which marketers may reference. Not only are individuals fulfilling their duties as consumers through constructing digital Brand You’s, but they are also generating a digital promotional package through which they are selling themselves to employers, educational institutions, peers, and a plethora of other organizations.

How can we hold marketers accountable for inaccurately evaluating a specific segment if we aren’t active in the virtual community? Sounds similar to the complaints and arguments revolving around political influence, except in this case we have a direct line to the chief. The consumer’s new voice has been expressed through the virtual world of networking and digital activity. People build their specific brand online reflecting their defining characteristics in the flesh. Both marketers and individuals gain power and influence in this world not through monetary gains, but rather the ability to build an army of followers and listeners. For anyone who has a complaint about how brands in which they are loyal to carry out their marketing, your best better is through profile creation, tell them directly how you feel.

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