How Decades of Solid Branding Saved Coca-Cola from the Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge was a marketing campaign started in 1975. It was simply a blind taste test between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, touting that even Coca-Cola fans choose Pepsi. It was a wildly successful marketing strategy that they revisited for decades. Coca-Cola even ran their own private tastes test, through which they found Pepsi was indeed chosen over half of the time, and panicked. They briefly released New Coke in 1985, a formula more similar to Pepsi’s cola. This initiative turned out to be one of the biggest failures in established branding history. Coca-Cola consumers were wildly disappointed. Miraculously, despite Coca-Cola’s snafu, and Pepsi’s increased market share, Coca-Cola remained number one in the soda game, and still reigns today.

In 2004, Baylor College of Medicine performed a version of the Pepsi Challenge with subjects hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. The results were interesting. In blind taste tests, most people preferred Pepsi, just like the Pepsi Challenge. The Pepsi drinks lit up activity in an area of the brain known as the ventral putamen, which helps us evaluate different flavors. It would seem that Pepsi does taste better! However, when the subjects were told which beverage they were sampling before they tasted it, they decided Coca-Cola tasted better. The fMRI scans showed the sips of Coca-Cola increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is more involved in decision making. When the subjects knew they were drinking Coca-Cola, they weren’t simply evaluating flavor, they were considering memories and experiences. The study’s conclusion was that this prefrontal activity was associating the soda with the brand, in effect, overriding the taste buds. When choosing Coca-Cola, consumers are choosing the brand they know and love. Building a successful brand is more than a good product, it’s building a comprehensive experience.

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10 of the Most Recognized Logos in the World

We’ve compiled a list of the world’s most recognized logos. Yes, many of these logos have gone through some tweaks throughout the years, but for fun, we listed the year the first version of their current logo appeared. Some of these companies have even been around longer than their currently recognizable logo! It just goes…

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6 Benefits of Choosing a Local Agency

A local agency will understand the local market. Remember those global branding fails? The large corporations launching those campaigns did not understand the market they were advertising to. When working with a local agency, you won’t have any time zone differences to worry about. Everyone is on the same page, the same schedule! A local…

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Typefaces & Fonts Do More Than Transmit Words

Do the typefaces and fonts you choose for your brand materials matter? As long as it’s in a language the audience understands, they’ll get the intended message, right? Wrong. Typefaces and fonts are essentially the shapes of the letters. Shapes are multi-sensory, meaning they affect more than one of your senses and can easily elicit…

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How Good Branding Saves Your Company Money

Many businesses make the mistake of throwing money at marketing without thinking enough about their brand, as a whole. Paid media campaigns might garner attention, but they can’t necessarily retain it and convert as many customers without solid branding. A company with a consistent, strong perception amongst audiences will always outperform competitors with the same…

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What is Brand Consistency and Why is it Important?

Brand consistency means always delivering messages aligned with the core brand values in the same tone, presenting the brand’s visual language in a consistent way, and repeating the same colors throughout the cohesive brand experience. Over time, these elements become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand. Brand…

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What is Branding?

Branding is all of the ways you establish an image of your company in your customers’ eyes and minds. It’s your “what”, your “how”, and your “why”. Your description of what you offer, the colors associated with your business, your visual identity, your website, your advertising, your collateral and your social media presence—these are all…

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Advertising, Marketing, or Branding Agency?

Choosing an agency to help with your advertising, marketing, or branding needs can seem overwhelming. The agency you choose will play an important role in determining how your potential clients view your company. Which one do you need? If you imagine agencies in healthcare terms – marketing agencies are generalists (the basic needs), advertising agencies…

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5 Ways a Well-Built Brand Makes Your Company Money

When you’ve built a brand, it makes it easier for your target audiences to notice you and recognize you. Amidst all the loud marketing, a strong brand allows a customer to clearly see what your business is and why your offerings matter to them. This makes it more compelling and more likely they will patronize…