Coca Cola wants you to “taste the feeling”

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Coca Cola has changed their concept from “Open happiness” to “Taste the feeling” and today I was met by above ad on the biggest news site in Sweden. So what”s different you might ask? Well, this article from Adweek goes into detail but in general Coke wants to put more the focus on the product but still keep the strong emotional appeal that was started with Open Happiness. Personally, I think they do a really good job with it, but Adam Padilla from Brandfire says it best:

“Open Happiness” was successful in making consumers “feel something,” Padilla said. “But it got away from the actual product in the can, in the bottle. When you start to float too far away from your product offering, it gets too philosophical. … ‘Open Happiness’ could be said about a lot of things, when you open anything. But when you talk about ‘Taste the Feeling,’ you have very strong connectivity with a feeling with Coke, and you also have the literal aspect of tasting it—the taste of happiness.”

There is one more interesting point to be made though in a time where organic, juicing, health and exercise is all the rage. Geoff Cook from Base Design points it out:

“Coca-Cola is in one of the more unique positions that I’ve ever seen: The brand is revered, and the product is increasingly reviled,” said Cook. “Brand strategies or tactics can deflect from larger issues, but fundamentally, … there’s been a shift toward more healthful living. And until they actively change the product [to be healthier] and change the public’s perception of the product, the new branding initiatives will ring hollow.”

What do you think about Coca Cola’s new concept? And do you think it makes a difference in Coca Cola’s brand position and ultimately, sales?

Here you have 25 nicely done Coca Cola ads

Sympathetic Pricing – A New Way Into Consumer Hearts/Wallets?

2012-01-06-Sympathetic SharkThe sympathetic shark above is courtesy of muffincomics.com

I subscribe to the trendwatching.com newsletter and the latest issue talked about Sympathetic Pricing, labelled as a new wave in the overall trend to improve the conscience of businesses.  Here is the report that I summarize very briefly below.

It comes as no surprise that consumers still don’t believe that business have their best interest top of mind. According to PR firm’s COHN & WOLFE’s 2013 report just 5% of consumers in the UK and US believe big businesses are very transparent and honest.

Will this ever change? Well, a lot of companies are trying through sympathetic pricing. So what the heck is sympathetic pricing?

DEFINITION OF SYMPATHETIC PRICING | Flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value.

There are a few different kinds of sympatethic pricing:

1. PAINKILLER PRICING
Discounts that target lifestyle pain points.

Trendwatching gives the example of the impressive taxi company Uber:

In April 2014 during a 48-hour London tube strike, mobile cab app Uber offered 50% off all London trips for passengers who split their fare with another passenger. Meanwhile, in October 2013 the company offered free rides to students in Boston during a 24-hour bus strike.

There are more examples of painkiller pricing in the report.

2. COMPASSIONATE PRICING
Discounts that offer a helping hand at a difficult time.

In April 2014, online platform Pressfolios announced it would make its service available for free to journalists affected by a staff lay-off by New Jersey’s largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger. Pressfolios allows users to create an online portfolio. The out-of-work journalists received a Pressfolios Pro account with unlimited storage for three months, at no cost.

3. PURPOSEFUL PRICING
Discounts in support of a shared value or belief.

As an incentive for motorists to leave their cars at home, all Parisian public transport was free for one weekend in March 2014. The decision was made by transport chiefs in response to the dangerously high levels of pollution which had engulfed the French capital for days.

I think sympathetic pricing makes a whole a lot of sense. Business need to become more human to win consumer interest and this is a great step in the right direction. Our agile online world makes it easier for business to launch sympathetic campaigns quickly and react to world events and target consumers who are in need of a “break”.

It will be interesting to see which businesses can use sympathetic pricing to create a closer bond with their customer base.

Ryanair rebrand

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Fake ad

Yesterday I booked a trip to Bergamo (vacation) with Ryanair. I’m traveling frequently through work, but there was a long time since I flew with the controversial airline. I haven’t been able to avoid them in media though with their CEO Michael O’Leary appearing in media (mostly as a “defendant”) from time to time. Here are his “daftest” quotes according to the Guardian.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or are lucky enough never having used the airline, Ryanair are famous for cheap flights but crappy service, doubtful security measures and intricate ways to try and squeeze more money out of each customer. Earlier they didn’t seem to care a whole lot about their customers as is evident in this line from the CEO:

“I don’t give a shit if no one likes me. I’m not a cloud bunny or an aerosexual. I don’t like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry.”

Anyway, as a part of their rebranding they have revamped their website. Their previous one was coded by the devil and besides hanging at the worst possible moment at times (transactions) you felt like Dante trying to navigate through a cybernetic inferno full of challenges involving web forms.

Now it’s better, but it still costs you at least 25 euro per flight to check in a bag (15 kg) and if you don’t do it at the moment you buy the tickets it costs 30 euro per flight which feels slightly ridiculous. But then again, the flights are cheap = the whole point and reason for their existence.

Let’s hope for a good flight!

Experience First – Lessons From SOL Republic

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Design products with passion and put the experience first and you shall succeed.

Is it that easy? Well, of course not. But if you start there it seems like you improve your chances drastically.

This constant talk about user experience is not just business blabla or a trend – it’s sense. I was sent an interesting video today talking about passion and experience from a product point of view. It’s Brian Solis interviewing SOL Republic‘s co-founder Seth Combs. Watch it below:

Just listen to how passionate Combs sounds about his product and its users. Makes you want to buy it straight away.

Check out SOL Headphones on Amazon or their official website

Pepsi Brand Culture

Added this post about the Pepsi brand on the team blog at work. Pretty interesting stuff.

What Pepsi does so well is creating strong sub-brands to support the main brand. Just compare Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. Pepsi Max is ultra-aggressive, cool, lifestyle. Coke Zero has one selling point – no calories, something which the products obviously share.

I think Pepsi have been far more clever in building up the sub-brands than Coca-Cola and I think they have a lot to gain from that. Both brands will go out of their way to try to hurt their main opponent in the ads, you can see this here and in most bigger campaigns they do.

Pepsi Cola vs Coca Cola is a fascinating brand battle that will go on for ages. But when it comes to the customer I think it all boils down to taste. You’re either a Pepsi man or a Cola man.

Or maybe you want to save your teeth and stay away from both.

Brand Leadership

I bought two new books on my holiday (more about the second one,Taschen’s 1000 record covers, in a later post). Here’s about Brand Leadership.

Brand Leadership by David A.Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler is hailed as one of the best books on branding. Management guru Tom Peters describes it this way: “This is it on branding. Read it…or else.” I’ve read parts of it on flights and although I knew a lot of it already, it’s just a fantastic reminder of the beautiful areas of building a brand, brand strategy and brand leadership. You can buy it on Amazon (my preferred shop for books, although mostly Kindle)  by clicking this link: Brand Leadership: Building Assets In an Information Economy and a few cents will go to this blog.