Part of my Innovation and Design Management lecture series focuses on whether it is better to be first or best when bringing a product to market. A great example is the story of Coca Cola and Pepsi, arch rivals in the soft drinks business, who have been slogging it out for well over a century. The products are remarkably similar, and in blind taste tests Pepsi is often found to be the favourite, yet Coke is the undisputed market leader.
Despite recent concerns about sugar content, Coke shows no signs of losing its popularity and looks set to continue as the world’s favourite – even though Pepsi might taste better. This says much about the power of advertising and marketing. Coca Cola has strong branding which remains almost unchanged from the 1890s original, and consistently innovative, eye-catching advertising campaigns over the years have ensured that it remains ‘top of the mind’ in audiences all around the globe. One of the many things I learnt from my years as a creative – don’t mess with the logo!
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