Archive for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Tampers With its Brand Again — in a Good Cause

Coke has done it again – tampered with its brand by changing the color of it famous red cans to white for a holiday promotion with the World Wildlife Fund.

The promotion was to raise funds to bring awareness to the plight of polar bears, an endangered species. It caused a huge kerfuffle among consumers.

Many confused the holiday Coke can with the silver Diet Coke can — horrors. Coke was forced to recall more than a billion of the white cans and restock their shelves with the familiar red ones. Read More→

The Difference Between Branding and Positioning

[tweetmeme]The web has become the preferred source of information about your company.  It’s a fact.  That’s where your employees, customers and prospects are getting their information about you.   So, it’s more important than ever that your brand attributes and key messages are communicated in language that is clear, concise and compelling. Nothing less than your reputation is at stake if you get it wrong.

Name Brands

A bottle of Coca-Cola.

Image via Wikipedia

When we speak of brands a few immediately jump to mind:  Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, Google, and Facebook, for example.  Coca-Cola has been around forever and built its brand over time.  Google was launched in 1998 and quickly became the leading search engine.  It’s a noun and a verb when you “Google” something.  Facebook is a Harvard case study of how a company built a global brand in the space of six short years (by co-founders who attended Harvard).  Facebook is ubiquitous.  Does anyone need to explain what Facebook is?  The brand is crystal clear.  Nowadays, brands are built and destroyed in Internet time.

Individuals have personal brands too.  Oprah, Elvis and Sting are three entertainers with such recognizable brands all you need to hear is their first names to know who they are and the values they represent.

The word “brand” has come to have many definitions.  When you are building your brand it is important to use a common vocabulary so that you and your colleagues are working from the same script.

What is a brand?

•    A brand is what an organization wishes to be known for.  It is a pro-active strategic process to establish the direction, leadership, clarity of purpose and inspiration for the organization’s mission.  It is an inside-out process.

What is positioning?

•    Positioning is how an organization and the services it provides are perceived in the minds of its target audiences.  It is looking from the outside-in.  The challenge is to have your brand and positioning in alignment.

What is corporate identity?

Image via CrunchBase

•    Corporate identity is the visual expression of the organization’s name, logo, and tagline.

How do you define a brand, positioning and corporate identity?

Why is Coke, the #1 Brand in Economic Value, Only #12 in Mentions Online?

You’d think that Coca-Cola, long #1 on Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands List,” would achieve the same prominence on the Internet.  But, no, Coke only ranks 12th based on number of mentions online in 2009, according to an analysis by Sysmos, a company that provides business intelligence on social media.

There could be many reasons for the variation, including a lack of social media communications programs.  The variation is also seen among other top ranked Interbrand brands.  For example #2 IBM slides to #15 in online mentions.  Conversely, and perhaps not surprisingly, Google is #1 in online mentions while #7 on Interbrand’s list, which is based on financial data, international scope, and value added.  Only Microsoft achieves equality, at #3 in both the “Best Global Brands List” and with mentions online.

So, why does it matter that a company is tops in economic value but below par online?  I believe that it will begin to matter much, much more in coming years, as the Internet increasingly becomes the principal source of information about companies and everything else.  If your company is not commanding the Internet among consumers, you may no longer be dominating the marketplace.  But leading brands have it in their power to improve their online rankings.

One way is by enlisting their employees as brand advocates in corporate communications. Employees are already surfing the web and participating in social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Large companies have a golden opportunity to dominate the Internet “air waves” with their employees as their most important cheerleaders, commenting on corporate and employee blogs, and engaging in online conversations with consumers.

Getting back to Coke, the company has 3.7 million fans on Facebook, and 92,4000 employees spread across the globe.  Just think of their cumulative power to communicate key messages about Coke that zoom around the world on social networks.  I wonder if Coke has an organized program for their employees to reach out to Coke’s followers on social networks?  I read through last year’s Annual Review and didn’t see anything.  I don’t mean to pick on Coke.  I’m just using the company as an example of a missed opportunity.

Employees in all companies will welcome the opportunity to be empowered to represent their company in the blogosphere.  All it takes is trust:  trust your employees to promote your brand well in online communications.