In a write-up for the reality show Big Brother in an African media outlet, a small nugget of marketing advice slipped out: The great thing about the brand is its consistency. No matter where in the world you purchase a Coca-Cola, it always tastes the same.
Maintaining a consistent brand image is something that we talk about here with some frequency. One of the key tenants of brand marketing is making sure that your company’s identity is perfectly consistent in every channel, every appearance, and every media form. For Coca-Cola, a brand which has remained consistently successful for many decades, the concept of re-inventing their brand is probably a ludicrous thought. The 1980’s gave us a perfect example of this with the “new coke,” “classic coke” fiasco (and competitor Pepsi Cola’s “Crystal Pepsi”). While its true that these are examples of bad flavors more than bad branding, the concept makes an adequate metaphor.
When is it a good idea to alter your brand? More often than not, brand reinvention is a last ditch effort from a struggling company. The general public today would look at GAP clothing and MySpace.com as good examples of drastic image changes in the face of dwindling profits. It is in these cases that the power of brand consistency is truly visible, for better or worse.
When GAP changed their company logo and branding, the world reacted with skepticism and dismissal. The new GAP was seen as a joke; an example of marketing run amok. Meanwhile, the old brand was “iconic,” “classic,” and “fondly remembered.” The public disliked New GAP – they clamored for Classic GAP. Consistent branding, when done well, will become so ingrained with the company that it can never be separated. In time, this turns into nostalgia, which develops life-long loyalty.
It remains to be seen if MySpace’s rebranding will herald a return to the unpopular social media channel. For now, Facebook will remain the Coca-Cola to MySpace’s Moxie, and we all know why. It always tastes the same.
Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.