If you were around in April of 1985, then you might remember an incident in the beverage industry considered to be one of the biggest marketing blunders in history. If you were not, we will fill you in on this legendary debacle.
For nearly 100 years, Coca-Cola held the top spot on the soft drink food chain. That was until Pepsi unveiled a new ad campaign in the early 80’s. Paying attention to consumer research that indicated a new focus on youth culture, Pepsi released a new, hip ad campaign, announcing they were the “Choice of a New Generation.” Soon, Pepsi started outselling Coke in supermarkets, and Coke started getting nervous; what were they to do?
The answer seemed simple; change the product. Introduce a new recipe for the first time in over 70 years and unveil “New Coke,” an exciting new formula sure to engage and delight cola drinkers the world over. It seemed like a fantastic idea. Until it was not.
Coke certainly got customer engagement, but not the kind for which they were hoping. The day after New Coke was released, the switchboard at Atlanta headquarters was flooded with over 10,000 calls of complaint. Within days, large-scale boycotts of Coke were announced all over the country. Thankfully, Coke listened to consumers; not two months later, Coke announced they would return to their classic formula.
So, what did Coke do wrong that Pepsi did right? Know your audience and pay attention to what consumers want from your brand. And the best way to do that is by investing in customer engagement.
Here is some current tips and trends to help you ensure you are giving your customers want they want.
For modern brands, having a strong, interactive social media presence cannot be just an afterthought; it is an absolute requirement. This is especially true for food and beverage brands where consumer perception and customer feedback are vital to your word-of-mouth reputation and marketplace impact. Using social media as a venue where you engage regularly with your audience makes consumers feel like they have a valued voice in your products, which is key to building customer loyalty. Millennials in particular expect that a beverage brand will have a unique persona they can interact with and dynamic content they want to share on social media platforms.
Hosting an Instagram contest to pick the name or flavors of your next release or even just making it a best practices policy to always respond to a social media complaint personally can make all the difference in how customers view your products and especially how invested they are in evangelizing the brand.
Commit to Customer Loyalty
If you are a beverage brand that offers online or mobile orders, today’s savvy consumer fully expects to earn points or obtain milestone rewards whenever they place an order. In fact, having a great loyalty incentive program can promote frequent ordering and encourage customers to invite friends to visit your site or download your app. But keep in mind that modern-day loyalty programs have evolved way past the “10th order is free” punch cards of ten years ago. To fully engage consumers, you need to provide a loyalty program that truly engages a customer and keeps them coming back to see what you will offer next. Promotions like in-app games, image sharing scavenger hunts, or intriguing storytelling are all terrific options to get customers extensively using your platform generate buzz.
Loyalty programs also present an excellent opportunity to engage with customers on a deeper level and demonstrate you are a brand that values their input and opinions. Using your mobile app or even email to ask for feedback and opinions communicates to loyal brand devotees that you see them as a partner in your brand strategy, and that makes your success their success.
Create an Outstanding Customer Experience
Have you ever been running short on time and trying to buy dinner on a takeout app that clearly did not take the time to do a full click-by-click audit before release? Maybe you cannot find where you are supposed to include a coupon code, or want to customize your order but there is nowhere to do so? It is terribly frustrating, and it is also one of the quickest ways to not only engender lots of negative reviews but lose customers all together.
Customer experience has never been more important, particularly in the food and beverage sector, where competition for market share is intense and there’s always another brand with a better app or ordering experience that is superior. Recent studies indicate that even when people adore a product, 59% will walk away after 3 bad experiences, and as much as 17% will find leave after only 1 bad interaction.
Customers today expect a seamless experience from POS to delivery, with lots of communication in between the two. If you provide in-app or online ordering, having a delivery tracker is a must. Ensuring that customers have a clear way to contact customer support to provide feedback and receive timely answers is also a necessity. The customer takeaway from any engagement with your brand should be as refreshing as the beverages you sell. Book a demo, today!