3 Lessons Drawn 30 Years After the Introduction of New Coke

coco colaWould you like to know more about online reputation management? Let’s go! On April 23, 1985, Coca Cola introduced its new Coke to consumers in America. It was the first formula change for the product in 99 years. Even though the company had tested the new product with over 200,000 consumers, drinkers felt a connection with the product that went deeper than anyone realized. The company received over 1,500 calls each day asking for the return of the original Coke in an era before everyone could take to the Internet. On the market for just 79 days, the new Coke was not loved by consumers who forced the company to return to the original formula.

While Coca-Cola had been steadily losing up to 15 percent of its market share each year to other colas, when the company listened to consumers who contacted the company and returned to the original product, their market share rose to heights that it had not seen in the last decade. If your consumers are telling you that they are not happy with your product, then there are lessons that you can learn from Coke’s experience.

Helping to drive consumer complaints about the new Coke were ads run on television by Pepsi. The Pepsi folks carefully listened to the complaints that they heard about their competition’s product and helped drive the nail in the coffin of the new product. Likewise, you should be listening to the customer’s complaints about your competition’s products and using those complaints to inform consumers about why your product is better.

coco colaOne of the reasons that Coke reformulated their product was that they were continually losing market shares to Pepsi and other colas. Scour industry trade associations or publicly-available research reports to determine how many consumers are buying the product that you are selling. Then, divide the target company’s total revenue which can usually be found in their financial reports by the entire industry’s total market sales. After arriving at this figure, you understand the growth potential for your product and how your sales compare to others in the industry.

Just like when Coca-Cola listen to all those customer phone calls, you need to be doing the same thing. Watch for patterns in customer complaints. While you may discover that there is one customer with an off-the-wall complaint, if you notice a pattern, then consider what you can do to correct the issue. Be very careful not to get defensive, but consider the feedback carefully. Resolve issues as quickly as possible for all customers. 95 percent of customers will continue using your company if their complaints are dealt with quickly.