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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The Foundations of Branding

The foundations of your brand is your logo, your messaging, website, imagery and promotional materials. Keeping a consistent brand is critically necessary when it comes to building brand equity. Brand equity adds value to your company based on the core values you promote, and comes in the form of perceived quality. Never underestimate branding. And,…

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Why It’s Important To Have A Brand Promise

A brand promise is an extension of a company’s positioning. It is a value or experience which a company’s customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with that particular brand. It’s extremely important since consumers wish for companies to deliver on the brand promise consistently, time and again. They desire enhanced experiences,…

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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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What is Clear Space?

Clear space refers to a specific amount of are a logo is defined to have on all sides (in a brand standards manual or house style guide), no matter where the logo is applied. The reason for clear space is to ensure the logo maximizes visibility and impact. There is no set rule for defining…

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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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4 Things to Consider When Embarking on a Rebrand

Define your brand’s core identity? In other words, what is your purpose, your mission, your vision? Who do you serve? And, more importantly, why? Do an internal audit. What is working for your brand? What needs to change? Market research. What does your competition look like? What do they do well? What can you offer…

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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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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…