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

Tired of all those damn apps? China figured out

Personally speaking, I try to avoid social media like the plague for a number of reasons.

  • It’s a pain in the butt
  • People tend to outrage over dumb things (I’m convinced stoking flames is the only way to get visibility)
  • I feel like I accomplish absolutely nothing
  • It’s a pain in the butt

You see the common point there? Yeah, it’s a pain in the butt. As we have moved through the 21st century, we have adopted technology that allows us to connect and communicate to people throughout the world. However, every single company on this planet wants your business. This can get annoying, convoluted, and a pain to actually find what you want, when you need it. I feel as if there is a new app popping up every 5 minutes, that NEEDS (their words) my attention. Most apps require you to enter your personal information, banking information, address, etc. This is invasive in my opinion, but if you want to use specific services to make your life easier, you just have to give up at this point, and hope your information doesn’t show up on some random Russian hacker’s website. The thing that drives me nuts, is that I have to use 15,000 different apps, one for each facet of my life. This gets confusing, annoying, and I’ve run out of paper from writing down all my damn passwords.

Imagine an app, that gathers everything you need in one spot. Imagine opening one app, and never having to worry about opening another 25 just to get what you want. Well it exists! If you are in China that is. (There is another version called WeChat, but its not really catching on anywhere else)

Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”) is a very popular Chinese social networking app. It allows its users to send messages to each other, share news, pictures, hail cabs, buy real estate, purchase a dinosaur (joke) and most importantly link bank accounts to buy anything you need. The company is constantly adding new features to make sure its users use it as the one stop shop for everything they need in their lives. The app is easy to use, straightforward, and convenient. Users rarely need to leave the app to do anything else.

Remember how I said “It’s a pain in the butt?” This app eliminates that statement. This app has caught on fire because it makes everything so easy to do. Imagine that? The company is now worth well over $100 billion on the Hong Kong exchange. (2014 numbers)

This app has changed the way people use social media. Its made things easier, and simple. In the end that’s all people want. Not only that, but this has become apart of their routine and habits.  You can easily make behavior changes, through purchasing decisions or through social change. You have access to a plethora of data to help figure out what people are doing, and how they are doing it.

What is interesting is 70% of online adults have used social media. But within that stat is something way more interesting.

  • 28% only use one social media site
  • 93% use Instagram and Facebook
  • 53% of them use Twitter

This is some heavy overlap that most companies aren’t taking advantage of. People are creatures of habit, and tend to use more than one app to communicate with others. People might hop on Facebook to see a hot topic within their friends list, or just post a vague post about how happy they are. (Spoiler, they’re not) Then go to Instagram to view pictures of food, dogs and babies, and then follow up by checking out tweets about politics or video games and how angry people can be in 280 characters or less.  

All of that is a routine; probably every morning, at lunch, and before bed, or maybe at a restaurant while your boring first date is in the bathroom. No one is taking advantage of that other that Weixin. They have piled all these different functions together creating a super app, which in turn gathers ALL the information from your life. This makes you easier to track and easier to give you the tools needed to make your life easier.

Weixin has figured out how to understand its audience’s personalities and quirks. They understand cognitive factors such as motivations, attitudes and preferences. They also have tapped into the individual factors of demographics, and personality. More importantly they have figured out what its audience wants. That is something many companies, and social media sites should be jealous of.

How Warby Parker Disrupted the Market and Utilized Social Media

warby parker logo

Warby Parker (Warby) is an interesting case study in how to circumvent people’s innate ability to avoid change. In 2010 students at Warton School at University of Pennsylvania decided to flip the eyeglasses market on its head. They weren’t satisfied with the status quo of going into storefronts trying on glasses, getting eye appointments, getting appointments with doctors, and all the other long arduous boring steps that go along for this process. Let’s be honest here, people just want to get their damn glasses and be on their merry way. The world keeps advancing with new technologies and new opportunities, but at the same time, it feels like things are becoming harder and harder to manage. Why can’t basic things just be simple, and to the point? Why do you need to follow of checklist of appointments, which could take weeks or months? Want to read that book, or DRIVE?! It should be simple, so you can continue to live your life comfortably with no road blocks in your way. Not only that, but why are eyeglasses so expensive? You could buy a TV, or a tablet for the same amount of money. That is absolutely ludicrous. Eyeglasses have been around since basically the dawn of time, obviously they’re more advanced now, but there is no reason why the prices still remain so high. I shouldn’t have to decide on spending hundreds on glasses, or maybe deciding to use two glass bottoms of Snapple bottles so I can see.  

Warby decided to skip all the paperwork, the long processes and sell directly to their customers. Its all done through online distribution. No showrooms, or other outside forces dictate their product. They were able to sell directly to their customers, which cut out all the middlemen and dropping the price of the eyeglasses.

However, there was some pushback. Eyeglasses of course are an important purchase. People were skeptical about purchasing eyeglasses online. Eyeglasses enhance people’s lives every day, so people felt that important life decisions like this shouldn’t be left to a simple click on the internet. It felt too easy. The prices felt too low. People were asking themselves; “Why are these so cheap? Is the quality low? Do they even work?” Obviously, this was a hard hurdle to get over, but Warby was up to the challenge. Warby needed to first understand human behavior and the habits they have. Then they needed to craft a message and platform that allowed for a behavior change that could disrupt the industry.

People are creatures of habit and they shuffle through their lives. They were used to the old process of buying eyeglasses; Driving all over the place and then waiting to get their eyeglasses after the exams, the in-store visit, etc. This process has been going on for decades so It’s hard to disrupt and change the old ways. Warby created a “Home Try-On Campaign.” They would allow customers to order 5 different pairs of glasses, which are then shipped to them, and to try on. They pick their favorite and send back the rest at no cost to them. This helped to mitigate the dissonance with their consumers. It was putting the power of choice, and customization in their hands. They realized that people were skeptical so it was important to give people the options and freedom to choose to make them more comfortable with the purchase.

Warby takes full advantage of social media to help promote its business, and also make their customers feel comfortable and in power as mentioned above. This is important because it makes the process of buying eyeglasses personal and fun! Their website alone has dozens if not hundreds of varieties and colors so people can really pick glasses based on choice and personality. They actively encourage people to post pictures of themselves on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. This creates the most important thing in the new digital age, a community. People are more open to change, more comfortable reaching out to complete strangers if they feel they are apart of something bigger. They have more confidence knowing there are people out there in the same position. Warby also uses YouTube to post fun, and instructional videos online and encourages its customers to do the same. This is very important within social media. Customers have been posting pictures of themselves all over the internet with each other which in turn creates word of mouth advertising for Warby. You can find pictures of customers with their product on social media with their family, enjoying vacations, birthday parties, in exotic locations, you name it! Warby is also very involved within the community. They remain transparent about everything. They’re constantly reaching out to customers asking about their experiences, and responding to comments. This direct communication style builds trust, and the more likely people are to recommend them to friends and family. This is especially important, because the majority of purchases from customers come recommended from people most close to them. If you have a friend or family member that has a cool, stylish pair of glasses, you’re going to ask them about it, if they hadn’t already told you.

Warby has mastered constructs needed for participation on social media;

  • Social networking
  • Interaction orientation
  • Personalization
  • User-added possibilities

They have built an amazing platform, they interact with its customers, allow for a personal touch, and allow the customers to share their experiences with everyone.

Instead of building a brand AROUND a social media platform, Warby simply utilized the tools as its disposal. They didn’t force their company around a social media platform but organically grew around them. This makes them come across as more sincere and not like a corporate robot. By allowing its users to create content, they gain a following, and increase their brand awareness. They are also able to throw the theory of cognitive dissonance out the window! People don’t feel discomfort for something that disrupts their everyday lives. If anything, Warby actually makes the whole eyeglass buying process simpler and easier. By making it an easier process and allowing people to comment, they’re able to change people’s behaviors. They are able to justify the change by offering more customization and personalization, allowing feedback, and creating a community around that.

Warby has created a space where both marketers and consumers can exist and grow together. Not many businesses can say they understand the benefits of social media the way Warby Parker can.

Warby Parker website

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