Differentiation: Coke vs Pepsi

This battle has been raging for decades. You have all the ads, the sip tests, etc. It feels like it never stops. Friendships have been lost and family members have been left in disgust over which ever you prefer.

These two companies have been vying for your attention through TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Billboards, endorsements, and now social media. To better understand what we’re up against lets take a look at each company and break down its social media numbers and get a better understanding and how they’re trying to entice us. First let me throw some numbers at you so we know how these bitter enemies stack up against each other. From there we can begin to find some differences. For this post I’m going to focus squarely on Twitter. I feel this gives a good idea of how each company is tackling social media, and how they differ from each other GREATLY.

Coke

Twitter: 1.25 million followers

Overall Revenue for the year: $31.9 Billion

https://www.coca-colacompany.com/press-center/press-releases/coca-cola-reports-strong-results-for-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2018

Mission Statement:

Our Roadmap starts with our mission, which is enduring. It declares our purpose as a company and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions.

To refresh the world…

To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…

To create value and make a difference.

Pepsi

Twitter: 3.01 Million Followers

Overall Revenue for the year: $19.52 Billion

Mission Statement: CREATE MORE SMILES WITH EVERY SIP AND EVERY BITE

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/15/pepsico-earnings-q4-2018.html

So it looks like Coke and Pepsi obviously have many followers, and sell similar products. Lets be honest here; They’re more or less the same drink. Unless you’re that one person who makes a stink at a restaurant and complains to the server that they don’t have YOUR Coke or YOUR Pepsi products. I hope not. I digress. Coke seems to have the lead in followers and total revenue. They both have very bland generic mission statements. So lets get past numbers and corporate gobbledygook.

Let’s take a look at their Twitter feeds. I’ll pull within the first 4-5 posts, I feel this can pretty much give a good determination of their target market and who they’re engaging with. Once again, Coke first.

A rewteeted CNN article? Ummmm…..Yeah that’s no fun. I don’t want to go to CNN and get sucked into political blackhole. Hard Pass. This seems very generic and boring. Why retweet this? Its not very engaging and it today’spolitically charged environment there is no way I’m going to a political news site. HARD PASS. I guess this might be a retweet for the hardcore drinkers?  I don’t know many people who think to themselves “I wonder hope they come up with flavors?” They think “Hey is this cold?”

Ok neat, World Environment day! Wait is that another damn Twitter holiday? TwittterHolidaysBlow

So Coke is focused on protecting the environment and making sure we know about it. That’s awesome. It shows that Coke is pushing the social responsibility angle to help promote its products. I think plenty of people can get behind that. Climate change is a problem we face today and in the future. I’m glad Coke is promoting this. However, it’s yet another boring Tweet. So far I’ve learned Coke believes I want to protect the planet and enjoy reading CNN articles. This is very exciting or getting me excited to try their product. Let’s try another tweet.

YIKES! Animal abuse! I’ll be honest these tweets aren’t very exciting or inspiring. Coke did the thing here. Its important to remain honest and transparent with your community. That includes both positives and negatives. They could have easily swept this under the rug, but decided to share with its followers. I respect that.

So overall the Tweets were kinda boring and a downer. Animal Abuse? Recycling? A link to CNN? However Coke was very open and honest, and seemed focused on the environment and making the world a better place. I think I’m beginning to understand why Pepsi has more followers on Twitter. ON TO PEPSI!

OK so, right off the bat radically different than Coke. The tone is better and more jovial. It doesn’t feel like a corporate mandated post, which all of Coke’s felt like.

This is a very odd reference. ASMR stands for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.” There are people on YouTube and Twitch that have these channels where they play weird sounds or voices? I think that’s the best way to describe it. Its weird as hell. So yeah needless to say This Tweet is 1000% more stranger than a retweeted CNN post, but still way more engaging. The other Tweet, #NationalHamburgerDay is PERFECT! This is what you usually associate soda with! They really understand their audience and it shows! OK whats next?

And some responses to this Tweet…

Awesome! This is great community engagement. The previous Tweet told us to like a picture of Pepsi but none was given. So this is a great way to acknowledge the missing image, but making light humor of the situation. This is perfect engagement. Pepsi definitely has the sense of humor down to a science!

So let’s compare and constrast Coke and Pepsi.

Coke focused on more stories than impact the world. Environment and Animal Abuse. Pepsi focused on humor and engagement. I think we can understand that Pepsi obviously has the leg up here. What Coke was promoting is important from a birds-eye view, but I think Pepsi understands 99% of the population just wants to drink a cold soda when they want. They don’t need to go “high-brow” to get engagement from their community.

The mission statements explain it all. Coke wants to refresh the world, and inspire moments of happiness and make a difference. Pepsi just wants to make you smile. Coke has a bigger world view, and Pepsi just wants you to enjoy its product. Which do you find more effective? I personally find Pepsi to be more down to Earth. Coke has lofty goals that I don’t personally care about. I just want to enjoy my soda I’ll let them worry about inspiring people.

A quick thing to note about Pepsi, is they tried to follow Coke’s example and they spectacularly failed. Everyone remember the Kendall Jenner fiasco?

Wait wha? A can of Pepsi? Why didn’t anyone else think of that duh?!

This received immediate backlash, and instead of promoting unity, plunged the brand to LOW consumer perception. This came across as Pepsi being stupid. Tensions were high and you think a Pepsi can fix the world’s problem? PLEASE! Get out of here with that crap. I think Pepsi learned its lesson, and now is just focusing on the smiles. Probably a good idea. Let Coke worry about recycling and World peace. Just make us a soda that we can drink at the BBQ this summer.

Information in this article I found at these links below, some are worth further reading:

https://www.talkwalker.com/blog/coke-vs-pepsi

https://www.pepsico.com/about/mission-and-vision

https://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/mission-vision-values

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