The Small Talk of All Brands

Pepsi What does Pepsi need to tell you in a given day? They want you to enjoy their product. They want to remind you that it’s very refreshing, or crisp, or whatever else you might think about when you think about a soft drink.

So, let’s say you hear that message today. They say, “Pepsi is a great drink for these first few days of spring.” You hear it, smile, nod your head, and maybe buy some Pepsi.

Then what?

Now it’s a few weeks later. They want more sales. They might say, “We know you like Pepsi. Do you also want to try Vanilla Pepsi?”

Then what?

If Pepsi (and when I say Pepsi, I mean any brand) is trying to share its message with you, the question becomes this: how much of it is important and how much of it is small talk? How much of it is a reminder? What parts of the message are just pings to remind you that you should pick Pepsi over some other brand?

Is that how we buy things? I’m not sure we decide on soda pop that way. I think we settle into a brand and prefer that brand over others. But let’s stick with this a while longer.

Pepsi UnleashedIf you’re Pepsi and you want to sell more, what other options do you have besides reminding people of your brand all the time? And if that’s what you have to do, how do you do it such that it’s not repetitive? And if you stopped reminding people about the brand, wouldn’t sales just drop?

One way to share that experience without being overpowering is to brand an experience. Pepsico did this with their Podcast Playground (disclosure: I was paid to make media at that event) at SXSW in Austin. They didn’t push or force or overpower. In fact, they were really eager to keep things slanted towards enabling others to make media. It was a kind of experience marketing.

My question, as is my question with most social media efforts: how do you know whether it sells soda pop or not?

What do you think about this? There’s a small talk to brands, some sense of ambient noise that happens. Is it important? When is it positive? What works and what doesn’t, in your mind?

What’s social media’s place in the small talk of these brands?

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  • http://ericrice.com Eric Rice

    Social media’s place is where we can kvetch about a product’s logo being BADLY covered up in a TV show, like we can’t figure out what the product is, but all know that they didn’t pay to put the laptop in the show, and so they fake it, and think they are fooling us by making a cuter logo, and also like how you say f*ck, and then legions of people are stumped as to what you mean, and by ‘stumped’, I mean, no one is fooled, curse you corporate america.

    I don’t write run-on sentences, but damn, that felt *gooood*.

  • http://ericrice.com Eric Rice

    Social media’s place is where we can kvetch about a product’s logo being BADLY covered up in a TV show, like we can’t figure out what the product is, but all know that they didn’t pay to put the laptop in the show, and so they fake it, and think they are fooling us by making a cuter logo, and also like how you say f*ck, and then legions of people are stumped as to what you mean, and by ‘stumped’, I mean, no one is fooled, curse you corporate america.

    I don’t write run-on sentences, but damn, that felt *gooood*.

  • http://ericrice.com Eric Rice

    Social media’s place is where we can kvetch about a product’s logo being BADLY covered up in a TV show, like we can’t figure out what the product is, but all know that they didn’t pay to put the laptop in the show, and so they fake it, and think they are fooling us by making a cuter logo, and also like how you say f*ck, and then legions of people are stumped as to what you mean, and by ‘stumped’, I mean, no one is fooled, curse you corporate america.

    I don’t write run-on sentences, but damn, that felt *gooood*.

  • http://99daz.com Darren Daz Cox

    The small talk is everything when it is an impulse buy.
    The more fun and creative the better…..

  • http://99daz.com Darren Daz Cox

    The small talk is everything when it is an impulse buy.
    The more fun and creative the better…..

  • http://99daz.com Darren Daz Cox

    The small talk is everything when it is an impulse buy.
    The more fun and creative the better…..

  • Anonymous

    To answer your question, “if you’re Pepsi and you want to sell more, what other options do you have besides reminding people of your brand all the time?”

    They could provide you with a product that wasn’t junk in a can (or bottle) that was full of destructive ingredients. But then again, that is the reason for the small talk to begin with: to divert the consumer from the obvious fact that they are selling crap.

    It’s like Kellogs, who puts partially hydgronated oils in MANY of their cereals, Pop Tarts, Gummie Treats, etc. They say “Kellogs Frosted Flakes is a healthy way to start your day…” They leave out the payoff, “IF you like eating refined sugar, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil. Hey, so what if these things are linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity and other bad stuff. Just buy it and shut up!”

    Peace,

    babbo
    http://www.daddybrain.wordpress.com

  • Anonymous

    To answer your question, “if you’re Pepsi and you want to sell more, what other options do you have besides reminding people of your brand all the time?”

    They could provide you with a product that wasn’t junk in a can (or bottle) that was full of destructive ingredients. But then again, that is the reason for the small talk to begin with: to divert the consumer from the obvious fact that they are selling crap.

    It’s like Kellogs, who puts partially hydgronated oils in MANY of their cereals, Pop Tarts, Gummie Treats, etc. They say “Kellogs Frosted Flakes is a healthy way to start your day…” They leave out the payoff, “IF you like eating refined sugar, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil. Hey, so what if these things are linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity and other bad stuff. Just buy it and shut up!”

    Peace,

    babbo
    http://www.daddybrain.wordpress.com

  • http://www.daddybrain.wordpress.com babbo

    To answer your question, “if you’re Pepsi and you want to sell more, what other options do you have besides reminding people of your brand all the time?”

    They could provide you with a product that wasn’t junk in a can (or bottle) that was full of destructive ingredients. But then again, that is the reason for the small talk to begin with: to divert the consumer from the obvious fact that they are selling crap.

    It’s like Kellogs, who puts partially hydgronated oils in MANY of their cereals, Pop Tarts, Gummie Treats, etc. They say “Kellogs Frosted Flakes is a healthy way to start your day…” They leave out the payoff, “IF you like eating refined sugar, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil. Hey, so what if these things are linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity and other bad stuff. Just buy it and shut up!”

    Peace,

    babbo
    http://www.daddybrain.wordpress.com

  • http://experiencecurve.com Karl Long

    Chris, great question, and here’s my take. Businesses have to think about the bigger idea they are part of, and that is where they can really get people involved above and beyond the chit chat. Patagonia is a prime example of a company that basically just sells outdoor clothing, got involved in the bigger idea associated with the outdoors, the environment, and enjoying the environment. They get 36,000 resumes for their 30 open positions for their corporate headquarters, because they stand for something bigger. As Kathy Sierra puts it, how do you become part of the bigger idea.

  • http://experiencecurve.com Karl Long

    Chris, great question, and here’s my take. Businesses have to think about the bigger idea they are part of, and that is where they can really get people involved above and beyond the chit chat. Patagonia is a prime example of a company that basically just sells outdoor clothing, got involved in the bigger idea associated with the outdoors, the environment, and enjoying the environment. They get 36,000 resumes for their 30 open positions for their corporate headquarters, because they stand for something bigger. As Kathy Sierra puts it, how do you become part of the bigger idea.

  • http://experiencecurve.com Karl Long

    Chris, great question, and here’s my take. Businesses have to think about the bigger idea they are part of, and that is where they can really get people involved above and beyond the chit chat. Patagonia is a prime example of a company that basically just sells outdoor clothing, got involved in the bigger idea associated with the outdoors, the environment, and enjoying the environment. They get 36,000 resumes for their 30 open positions for their corporate headquarters, because they stand for something bigger. As Kathy Sierra puts it, how do you become part of the bigger idea.

  • http://lauraroeder.com Laura Roeder

    I think small talk and ambient noise are incredibly important for a brand. I have seen a huge increase in my business since I began doing a weekly mailing. This mailing provides valuable content, but I think more important than that is reminding people that I exist week in and week out. It’s the same with twitter, it’s mostly just “small talk” but it keeps me and my business on people’s radar.

  • http://lauraroeder.com Laura Roeder

    I think small talk and ambient noise are incredibly important for a brand. I have seen a huge increase in my business since I began doing a weekly mailing. This mailing provides valuable content, but I think more important than that is reminding people that I exist week in and week out. It’s the same with twitter, it’s mostly just “small talk” but it keeps me and my business on people’s radar.

  • http://lauraroeder.com Laura Roeder

    I think small talk and ambient noise are incredibly important for a brand. I have seen a huge increase in my business since I began doing a weekly mailing. This mailing provides valuable content, but I think more important than that is reminding people that I exist week in and week out. It’s the same with twitter, it’s mostly just “small talk” but it keeps me and my business on people’s radar.

  • http://www.neurowebbook.com Susan Weinschenk

    There is some research emerging on the topic of brands and the brain. A recent study (described at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717095034.htm) talks about the power of brands to affect purchasing through emotions. In that study brand labels and icons were flashed on the periphery of the visual field for a very short amount of time, yet they affected later purchases. Part of the role of that small talk may be to keep the brand in the visual field, to stimulate the unconscious impact that a strong brand already has.

  • http://www.neurowebbook.com Susan Weinschenk

    There is some research emerging on the topic of brands and the brain. A recent study (described at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717095034.htm) talks about the power of brands to affect purchasing through emotions. In that study brand labels and icons were flashed on the periphery of the visual field for a very short amount of time, yet they affected later purchases. Part of the role of that small talk may be to keep the brand in the visual field, to stimulate the unconscious impact that a strong brand already has.

  • http://www.neurowebbook.com Susan Weinschenk

    There is some research emerging on the topic of brands and the brain. A recent study (described at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717095034.htm) talks about the power of brands to affect purchasing through emotions. In that study brand labels and icons were flashed on the periphery of the visual field for a very short amount of time, yet they affected later purchases. Part of the role of that small talk may be to keep the brand in the visual field, to stimulate the unconscious impact that a strong brand already has.

  • http://www.treslola.com Kate

    I like the point you make about how Pepsi use marketing in their branding an event. I see O2 taking the same approach with branding music venues in London. Aligning a brand with a particular type of event or venue is certainly an effective way of ensuring the brand is noticed and it also allows participants in those branded particular events or venues to feel a deeper affiliation with the brand as oppose to its competitors – the brand has tied itself to an interest of the the event goers, a bond is formed and interest has been spiked.

  • http://www.treslola.com Kate

    I like the point you make about how Pepsi use marketing in their branding an event. I see O2 taking the same approach with branding music venues in London. Aligning a brand with a particular type of event or venue is certainly an effective way of ensuring the brand is noticed and it also allows participants in those branded particular events or venues to feel a deeper affiliation with the brand as oppose to its competitors – the brand has tied itself to an interest of the the event goers, a bond is formed and interest has been spiked.

  • http://www.treslola.com Kate

    I like the point you make about how Pepsi use marketing in their branding an event. I see O2 taking the same approach with branding music venues in London. Aligning a brand with a particular type of event or venue is certainly an effective way of ensuring the brand is noticed and it also allows participants in those branded particular events or venues to feel a deeper affiliation with the brand as oppose to its competitors – the brand has tied itself to an interest of the the event goers, a bond is formed and interest has been spiked.

  • Jenifer Olson

    Well, I think social media can play a strong role in the branding and promotion of a product, and in that sense, could likely be responsible for driving a portion of any sales (good luck trying to quantify it). I also think there’s a “tipping point” with all media (including social media) that, when reached, can increase a brand’s penetration exponentially.

    With regard to whether we settle into a brand, I think we do. Given a choice, I’d pick Coke. BUT, if Coke is unavailable – or if Pepsi is on sale – I’m very comfortable choosing Pepsi. Whether my first or second choice, though, that’s still excellent branding considering all the different sodas on the market.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that many restaurants and other establishments often offer one or the other, either Coke or Pepsi. So, maybe another key for brand penetration is the number and size of the exclusive distribution channels. Just a thought.

    What works? Any marketing promoting the brand as conversant, hip, cool, savvy, inter-generational, global, involved, relevant, aware, fun, etc.
    What doesn’t? Outright selling, especially pitching brands against each other.
    Which is not to say I wouldn’t love a coupon. :-)

  • Jenifer Olson

    Well, I think social media can play a strong role in the branding and promotion of a product, and in that sense, could likely be responsible for driving a portion of any sales (good luck trying to quantify it). I also think there’s a “tipping point” with all media (including social media) that, when reached, can increase a brand’s penetration exponentially.

    With regard to whether we settle into a brand, I think we do. Given a choice, I’d pick Coke. BUT, if Coke is unavailable – or if Pepsi is on sale – I’m very comfortable choosing Pepsi. Whether my first or second choice, though, that’s still excellent branding considering all the different sodas on the market.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that many restaurants and other establishments often offer one or the other, either Coke or Pepsi. So, maybe another key for brand penetration is the number and size of the exclusive distribution channels. Just a thought.

    What works? Any marketing promoting the brand as conversant, hip, cool, savvy, inter-generational, global, involved, relevant, aware, fun, etc.
    What doesn’t? Outright selling, especially pitching brands against each other.
    Which is not to say I wouldn’t love a coupon. :-)

  • Jenifer Olson

    Well, I think social media can play a strong role in the branding and promotion of a product, and in that sense, could likely be responsible for driving a portion of any sales (good luck trying to quantify it). I also think there’s a “tipping point” with all media (including social media) that, when reached, can increase a brand’s penetration exponentially.

    With regard to whether we settle into a brand, I think we do. Given a choice, I’d pick Coke. BUT, if Coke is unavailable – or if Pepsi is on sale – I’m very comfortable choosing Pepsi. Whether my first or second choice, though, that’s still excellent branding considering all the different sodas on the market.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that many restaurants and other establishments often offer one or the other, either Coke or Pepsi. So, maybe another key for brand penetration is the number and size of the exclusive distribution channels. Just a thought.

    What works? Any marketing promoting the brand as conversant, hip, cool, savvy, inter-generational, global, involved, relevant, aware, fun, etc.
    What doesn’t? Outright selling, especially pitching brands against each other.
    Which is not to say I wouldn’t love a coupon. :-)

  • Pingback: Internet Review dot Me — What Do You Do If You Want To Sell More?

  • http://Twitter.com/Ed Ed

    Simple.
    The brands that do not keep reaching out to advertise their tonic,
    (now through social media),
    are gone.

    More than ever, you have to meet people in the rapid stream that is modern life.
    Beside them, off to side where they’ll see you, but not in their way.

    There was an old adage about a push vendor who wouldn’t advertise
    anymore because new competition reduced his revenues a bit.
    It got worse, and he angrily refused to push his cart to where his loyal
    customers were; that place where they liked to talk, where they were
    thirsty.
    Desperate, he nearly blocked the path with his cart,
    and raised his prices, and took away free lemons.

    Now his son works for the man with 100 pushcarts.

  • http://Twitter.com/Ed Ed

    Simple.
    The brands that do not keep reaching out to advertise their tonic,
    (now through social media),
    are gone.

    More than ever, you have to meet people in the rapid stream that is modern life.
    Beside them, off to side where they’ll see you, but not in their way.

    There was an old adage about a push vendor who wouldn’t advertise
    anymore because new competition reduced his revenues a bit.
    It got worse, and he angrily refused to push his cart to where his loyal
    customers were; that place where they liked to talk, where they were
    thirsty.
    Desperate, he nearly blocked the path with his cart,
    and raised his prices, and took away free lemons.

    Now his son works for the man with 100 pushcarts.

  • http://twitter.com/Ed Ed

    Simple.
    The brands that do not keep reaching out to advertise their tonic,
    (now through social media),
    are gone.

    More than ever, you have to meet people in the rapid stream that is modern life.
    Beside them, off to side where they’ll see you, but not in their way.

    There was an old adage about a push vendor who wouldn’t advertise
    anymore because new competition reduced his revenues a bit.
    It got worse, and he angrily refused to push his cart to where his loyal
    customers were; that place where they liked to talk, where they were
    thirsty.
    Desperate, he nearly blocked the path with his cart,
    and raised his prices, and took away free lemons.

    Now his son works for the man with 100 pushcarts.

  • http://marketingfundi.com Anja Merret

    Sponsoring events is a reminder to consumers. It’s also designed to contribute to the ‘experience’ of the brand and ensure that the brand becomes bigger than just drinking one can of soda. It’s rarely quantifiable in terms of moving product out of fridges or off shelves.

  • http://marketingfundi.com Anja Merret

    Sponsoring events is a reminder to consumers. It’s also designed to contribute to the ‘experience’ of the brand and ensure that the brand becomes bigger than just drinking one can of soda. It’s rarely quantifiable in terms of moving product out of fridges or off shelves.

  • http://marketingfundi.com Anja Merret

    Sponsoring events is a reminder to consumers. It’s also designed to contribute to the ‘experience’ of the brand and ensure that the brand becomes bigger than just drinking one can of soda. It’s rarely quantifiable in terms of moving product out of fridges or off shelves.

  • http://www.lisahickey.com Lisa Hickey

    Chris, that’s a great question! Whenever I counsel a client on Social Media, one of the first things I challenge them to think about is this “What is the conversation you think you should be having day in and day out with the world?” Look at the comments you’ve gotten so far. We all want *something* good in any product or brand we are a part of. Whether that’s product innovation, or doing some good in the world, or creating a place or culture that’s wonderful to work at. Or being conversant in a “hip, cool, savvy” way. (thanks, Jennifer Olson.) Or, if you’re just “junk in a can”, (not my words), then is it that you have been a bridge between generations for decades – a small, shared experience in our culture that ties us together? “Say what you will”, about Pepsi, too :), but they get this. That’s why the idea of an “experience” works for them. But there is NO one size fits all solution for Social Media – that’s the joy of it! What IS the “bigger idea” behind the brand (as Karl Long says), and how do you express that day in and day out to the world in a meaningful, non-annoying way? Bravo to all who are helping to figure that out!

  • http://www.lisahickey.com Lisa Hickey

    Chris, that’s a great question! Whenever I counsel a client on Social Media, one of the first things I challenge them to think about is this “What is the conversation you think you should be having day in and day out with the world?” Look at the comments you’ve gotten so far. We all want *something* good in any product or brand we are a part of. Whether that’s product innovation, or doing some good in the world, or creating a place or culture that’s wonderful to work at. Or being conversant in a “hip, cool, savvy” way. (thanks, Jennifer Olson.) Or, if you’re just “junk in a can”, (not my words), then is it that you have been a bridge between generations for decades – a small, shared experience in our culture that ties us together? “Say what you will”, about Pepsi, too :), but they get this. That’s why the idea of an “experience” works for them. But there is NO one size fits all solution for Social Media – that’s the joy of it! What IS the “bigger idea” behind the brand (as Karl Long says), and how do you express that day in and day out to the world in a meaningful, non-annoying way? Bravo to all who are helping to figure that out!

  • http://www.lisahickey.com Lisa Hickey

    Chris, that’s a great question! Whenever I counsel a client on Social Media, one of the first things I challenge them to think about is this “What is the conversation you think you should be having day in and day out with the world?” Look at the comments you’ve gotten so far. We all want *something* good in any product or brand we are a part of. Whether that’s product innovation, or doing some good in the world, or creating a place or culture that’s wonderful to work at. Or being conversant in a “hip, cool, savvy” way. (thanks, Jennifer Olson.) Or, if you’re just “junk in a can”, (not my words), then is it that you have been a bridge between generations for decades – a small, shared experience in our culture that ties us together? “Say what you will”, about Pepsi, too :), but they get this. That’s why the idea of an “experience” works for them. But there is NO one size fits all solution for Social Media – that’s the joy of it! What IS the “bigger idea” behind the brand (as Karl Long says), and how do you express that day in and day out to the world in a meaningful, non-annoying way? Bravo to all who are helping to figure that out!

  • http://www.whitneyhoffman.com Whitney

    For what it’s worth, I gave up Pepsi as a brand when they got rid of diet pepsi with lemon. The diet pepsi with lemon was fantastic and I come close to preferring it over my omnipresent Tab or diet coke. But alone, a la carte, I just think it’s too sweet to bear. i could just buy lemons and put it in myself, but then the grab & go options are more limited.
    I mention this to say that even though Pepsi has been a Super Bowl sponsor for years and I was exposed for a week or so at a time to free product as someone on staff, working as part of the Super Bowl on site staff, my opinion of the product still hasn’t changed. No more exposure or reminders or the like are going to get me to change my mind.
    Sometimes our opinions and preferences about brands get entrenched because of our experiences, and no additional opportunities for trials are going to overcome the fact that the product is okay, but not my first choice.

    Let’s not even mention how far out of my way I have gone to obtain Tab, or some of my other friends who have driven across the State of Pennsylvania to get their favorite soda…That’s brand dedication. People will move mountains to obtain their favorite thing- it becomes an emotional connection they don’t want to lose. There are websites that help women find discontinued colors of lipstick and the like, for example. People lobby Ben & Jerry’s to bring back retired flavors. We may all be whack jobs, but sometimes, there is no substitute. That’s to say, by way of example, that I don’t know if all the dollars Pepsi spends trying to make inroads is worth while. The preference, the taste preference, is basic and elemental. I think Pepsi should be very happy with being Pepsi, and be Pepsi, rather than trying to be Coke or anyone else. And if they bring back the diet pepsi with lemon, I know many people in my family alone would be very happy.

  • http://www.whitneyhoffman.com Whitney

    For what it’s worth, I gave up Pepsi as a brand when they got rid of diet pepsi with lemon. The diet pepsi with lemon was fantastic and I come close to preferring it over my omnipresent Tab or diet coke. But alone, a la carte, I just think it’s too sweet to bear. i could just buy lemons and put it in myself, but then the grab & go options are more limited.
    I mention this to say that even though Pepsi has been a Super Bowl sponsor for years and I was exposed for a week or so at a time to free product as someone on staff, working as part of the Super Bowl on site staff, my opinion of the product still hasn’t changed. No more exposure or reminders or the like are going to get me to change my mind.
    Sometimes our opinions and preferences about brands get entrenched because of our experiences, and no additional opportunities for trials are going to overcome the fact that the product is okay, but not my first choice.

    Let’s not even mention how far out of my way I have gone to obtain Tab, or some of my other friends who have driven across the State of Pennsylvania to get their favorite soda…That’s brand dedication. People will move mountains to obtain their favorite thing- it becomes an emotional connection they don’t want to lose. There are websites that help women find discontinued colors of lipstick and the like, for example. People lobby Ben & Jerry’s to bring back retired flavors. We may all be whack jobs, but sometimes, there is no substitute. That’s to say, by way of example, that I don’t know if all the dollars Pepsi spends trying to make inroads is worth while. The preference, the taste preference, is basic and elemental. I think Pepsi should be very happy with being Pepsi, and be Pepsi, rather than trying to be Coke or anyone else. And if they bring back the diet pepsi with lemon, I know many people in my family alone would be very happy.

  • http://www.whitneyhoffman.com Whitney

    For what it’s worth, I gave up Pepsi as a brand when they got rid of diet pepsi with lemon. The diet pepsi with lemon was fantastic and I come close to preferring it over my omnipresent Tab or diet coke. But alone, a la carte, I just think it’s too sweet to bear. i could just buy lemons and put it in myself, but then the grab & go options are more limited.
    I mention this to say that even though Pepsi has been a Super Bowl sponsor for years and I was exposed for a week or so at a time to free product as someone on staff, working as part of the Super Bowl on site staff, my opinion of the product still hasn’t changed. No more exposure or reminders or the like are going to get me to change my mind.
    Sometimes our opinions and preferences about brands get entrenched because of our experiences, and no additional opportunities for trials are going to overcome the fact that the product is okay, but not my first choice.

    Let’s not even mention how far out of my way I have gone to obtain Tab, or some of my other friends who have driven across the State of Pennsylvania to get their favorite soda…That’s brand dedication. People will move mountains to obtain their favorite thing- it becomes an emotional connection they don’t want to lose. There are websites that help women find discontinued colors of lipstick and the like, for example. People lobby Ben & Jerry’s to bring back retired flavors. We may all be whack jobs, but sometimes, there is no substitute. That’s to say, by way of example, that I don’t know if all the dollars Pepsi spends trying to make inroads is worth while. The preference, the taste preference, is basic and elemental. I think Pepsi should be very happy with being Pepsi, and be Pepsi, rather than trying to be Coke or anyone else. And if they bring back the diet pepsi with lemon, I know many people in my family alone would be very happy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/socialmedia411 Jeff

    Chris,

    This made me laugh – “And if you stopped reminding people about the brand, wouldn’t sales just drop? ”

    If sales from your current customers/clients are that dependent on constant reminders then I contend you haven’t developed much of a brand.

    Other than that I enjoyed the piece – thx.

  • http://www.twitter.com/socialmedia411 Jeff

    Chris,

    This made me laugh – “And if you stopped reminding people about the brand, wouldn’t sales just drop? ”

    If sales from your current customers/clients are that dependent on constant reminders then I contend you haven’t developed much of a brand.

    Other than that I enjoyed the piece – thx.

  • http://www.twitter.com/socialmedia411 Jeff

    Chris,

    This made me laugh – “And if you stopped reminding people about the brand, wouldn’t sales just drop? ”

    If sales from your current customers/clients are that dependent on constant reminders then I contend you haven’t developed much of a brand.

    Other than that I enjoyed the piece – thx.

  • Beth Gwazdosky

    As with any brand, top-of-mind awareness vs unaided awareness can be achieved through different means. Here with Pepsi, when you think of Chris Brogan at SXSW, he was at the Pepsi booth. Therefore study results of attendees would have a high level of brand recognition and imagery tied to someone (Chris) that everyone wanted to engage with in a conversation.

    From that objective, good job Pepsi. Where was Coke? Personally I prefer Coke over Pepsi so it wouldn’t drive me to buy it but in person at the event, sure I’ll have a diet Pepsi. Maybe it’s a suddle means of getting folks to re-try to brand or maybe work to repositiion it in the mind of post-SXSW consumers when shopping for their next pop.

    Even a great brand can be out of sight, out of mind. If you want your brand remembered, drive brand imagery / frequency messaging. If you think you’re brand will be remembered without it being at the table, you may be a step behind in the conversation. So I believe it was beneficial for Pepsi to be present, connect people and not be selling.

  • Beth Gwazdosky

    As with any brand, top-of-mind awareness vs unaided awareness can be achieved through different means. Here with Pepsi, when you think of Chris Brogan at SXSW, he was at the Pepsi booth. Therefore study results of attendees would have a high level of brand recognition and imagery tied to someone (Chris) that everyone wanted to engage with in a conversation.

    From that objective, good job Pepsi. Where was Coke? Personally I prefer Coke over Pepsi so it wouldn’t drive me to buy it but in person at the event, sure I’ll have a diet Pepsi. Maybe it’s a suddle means of getting folks to re-try to brand or maybe work to repositiion it in the mind of post-SXSW consumers when shopping for their next pop.

    Even a great brand can be out of sight, out of mind. If you want your brand remembered, drive brand imagery / frequency messaging. If you think you’re brand will be remembered without it being at the table, you may be a step behind in the conversation. So I believe it was beneficial for Pepsi to be present, connect people and not be selling.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/bethgwazdosky Bethggwaz

    As with any brand, top-of-mind awareness vs unaided awareness can be achieved through different means. Here with Pepsi, when you think of Chris Brogan at SXSW, he was at the Pepsi booth. Therefore study results of attendees would have a high level of brand recognition and imagery tied to someone (Chris) that everyone wanted to engage with in a conversation.

    From that objective, good job Pepsi. Where was Coke? Personally I prefer Coke over Pepsi so it wouldn’t drive me to buy it but in person at the event, sure I’ll have a diet Pepsi. Maybe it’s a suddle means of getting folks to re-try to brand or maybe work to repositiion it in the mind of post-SXSW consumers when shopping for their next pop.

    Even a great brand can be out of sight, out of mind. If you want your brand remembered, drive brand imagery / frequency messaging. If you think you’re brand will be remembered without it being at the table, you may be a step behind in the conversation. So I believe it was beneficial for Pepsi to be present, connect people and not be selling.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/laradalch Lara Dalch

    Couple of thoughts on this.

    “Ambient noise” – primarily in the form of advertising – is absolutely important in keeping a brand top of mind over time. (And with a CPG brand like Pepsi, point-of-sale and packaging/shelf presence are even more important, in my opinion.) However, it alone cannot create the emotional connection with the consumer, which is what branding is all about after all.

    Experiential marketing, social media, and promotions allow marketers to create a dialogue of sorts with their consumers to create/strengthen that emotional connection. Trick is to add actual value to the experience and not become just another piece of the “ambient noise.” This is where most brands fall down on the job. And to be perfectly honest, Pepsi’s presence at SXSW, while impressive from a scale perspective, didn’t strike me as much more than a logo slap on banners, content, and such. Maybe I missed something – would be curious to know what others thought about that specifically. (For brevity’s sake, I won’t include examples of event sponsorships that I think have been done particularly well. Happy to discuss off line though.)

    As for whether or not those kinds of marketing efforts sell more product, well, isn’t that always the problem with promotions/experential marketing? Measuring direct impact on sales is nearly impossible in my experience; but I continue to believe that brands who add REAL value to an experience benefit from increased brand loyalty over time.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/laradalch Lara Dalch

    Couple of thoughts on this.

    “Ambient noise” – primarily in the form of advertising – is absolutely important in keeping a brand top of mind over time. (And with a CPG brand like Pepsi, point-of-sale and packaging/shelf presence are even more important, in my opinion.) However, it alone cannot create the emotional connection with the consumer, which is what branding is all about after all.

    Experiential marketing, social media, and promotions allow marketers to create a dialogue of sorts with their consumers to create/strengthen that emotional connection. Trick is to add actual value to the experience and not become just another piece of the “ambient noise.” This is where most brands fall down on the job. And to be perfectly honest, Pepsi’s presence at SXSW, while impressive from a scale perspective, didn’t strike me as much more than a logo slap on banners, content, and such. Maybe I missed something – would be curious to know what others thought about that specifically. (For brevity’s sake, I won’t include examples of event sponsorships that I think have been done particularly well. Happy to discuss off line though.)

    As for whether or not those kinds of marketing efforts sell more product, well, isn’t that always the problem with promotions/experential marketing? Measuring direct impact on sales is nearly impossible in my experience; but I continue to believe that brands who add REAL value to an experience benefit from increased brand loyalty over time.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/laradalch Lara Dalch

    Couple of thoughts on this.

    “Ambient noise” – primarily in the form of advertising – is absolutely important in keeping a brand top of mind over time. (And with a CPG brand like Pepsi, point-of-sale and packaging/shelf presence are even more important, in my opinion.) However, it alone cannot create the emotional connection with the consumer, which is what branding is all about after all.

    Experiential marketing, social media, and promotions allow marketers to create a dialogue of sorts with their consumers to create/strengthen that emotional connection. Trick is to add actual value to the experience and not become just another piece of the “ambient noise.” This is where most brands fall down on the job. And to be perfectly honest, Pepsi’s presence at SXSW, while impressive from a scale perspective, didn’t strike me as much more than a logo slap on banners, content, and such. Maybe I missed something – would be curious to know what others thought about that specifically. (For brevity’s sake, I won’t include examples of event sponsorships that I think have been done particularly well. Happy to discuss off line though.)

    As for whether or not those kinds of marketing efforts sell more product, well, isn’t that always the problem with promotions/experential marketing? Measuring direct impact on sales is nearly impossible in my experience; but I continue to believe that brands who add REAL value to an experience benefit from increased brand loyalty over time.

  • Jennifer Shanks

    Seems Pepsi made some sort of impact with their presence at SXSW and Chris Brogan’s participation in their outreach stragety – we’re all chatting about Pepsi in this thread.

    Without quantifying the scale, shouldn’t this qualify as (some measure of) success using social media as a forum for further developing brand awareness and personalization?

  • Jennifer Shanks

    Seems Pepsi made some sort of impact with their presence at SXSW and Chris Brogan’s participation in their outreach stragety – we’re all chatting about Pepsi in this thread.

    Without quantifying the scale, shouldn’t this qualify as (some measure of) success using social media as a forum for further developing brand awareness and personalization?

  • Jennifer Shanks

    Seems Pepsi made some sort of impact with their presence at SXSW and Chris Brogan’s participation in their outreach stragety – we’re all chatting about Pepsi in this thread.

    Without quantifying the scale, shouldn’t this qualify as (some measure of) success using social media as a forum for further developing brand awareness and personalization?

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/laradalch Lara Dalch

    Hi Jennifer.

    You’re absolutely right that Pepsi made an impact simply by being at SXSW, although I’m not sure that our chatter about it is a good measure of the impact given that we’re marketers and chatting about marketing campaigns is what we do. :) A better measure is probably the chatter on Twitter during the event. (Does anyone know if “Pepsi” trended at any point during SXSW?)

    My beef with it – and reading my post again, I didn’t make this clear – is that you really could have replaced “Pepsi” with “Cool, Hip, M18-24-Targeted Brand X” and had a similar experience. I’m wondering what was “uniquely Pepsi” about the whole thing. To me, experiences that could ONLY have come from that brand are the most valuable. (Admittedly, a tall order for a beverage brand.)

    Thanks for prompting me to clarify.