Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Zero to Seven? Brand nightmares or market expansion?

Just tried my first CocaCola Zero. That's the no calorie coke. So diet coke isn't no calorie? Well, yes it is. 0 fat, 0 carbs, no calories it says on the side of the bottle. So what's the difference? It's all in the sweetener apparently - Zero has some acesulfame potassium (did I really want to know that?) as well as aspartame. Now there are several diet cokes: Diet Coke (dare I say diet coke classic?) Coke zero Diet Coke with splenda Diet Coke with lemon Diet Coke with Lime Diet Coke with Vanilla Diet Coke caffeine free If they roll out Zero with all the other combinations - zero with lemon, zero caffeine free with lemon (with splenda?) ... what do you call that many diet cokes? A brand marketing nightmare? But, looking at their brand site (you can tell it's early in the morning and I'm bored, right?), they have diet coke with citra, with orange, something called C2 (was that 1/2 the calories of normal coke?) As someone who probably keeps this company afloat single-handedly, I love this stuff. But I still only drink diet coke. And I don't own any stock or win any of their damn competitions. Ever. So what got me into this, apart from my diet coke thing, was a comparison with e-government brands, viz: - Is the market for diet coke-like drinks essentially fixed, or increading only at the rate of population growth? - If it is, does any new product just slightly adjust the settings, stealing share from other products from the same house as well as occasionally from other vendors (although if you are challenged and drink diet pepsi, would you make the switch for a drink called "zero"?) - Is the marginal cost of supporting any new drink pretty much zero - the marketing budget just gets rejigged, there's a bit of factory costs as a new logo is stamped on tins and bottles, but otherwise there's not much cost? And if that's the case: - Is the e-government market pretty much fixed, i.e. the number of people that need to visit an online government site in any one year is about the same, irrespective of how many services you have? - Does adding brands (new sites) confuse the market further and result in market share being rejigged around the main sites, but in no substantial growth? - Is the marginal cost of adding a site/brand pretty much zero - there's enough IT out there to support it, managing one site or ten sites is the same and marketing costs are near zero, or just rebalanced from other marketing budgets? I have the same thought when I look at the endless procession of razors - the latest being the vibrating blade razor (aka an electric razor where you wet shave!). Does it just stop the loss of market share rather than result in a gain? If there was a rebranded, relaunched directgov every month, say, directgovzero, directgovwithlemon, would the market grow? In this world of 100s of TV channels, 1000s of websites, do you have to keep adding products and changing brands just to grow a little or even just to stay still?

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure that the increase in the number of brands out there within the Coke and Pepsi families in itself has little, if any, impact on the total value of the fizzy drinks market.

    What it does for coke however, is ensure that shops that want to stock a wide range of Coke's products have to allocate shelf-space to them, thus increasing their percentage share of the supermarket, and maybe increasing ad-hoc purchases. Also, by Coke introducing a new brand, there's more likelihood of them stealing shelf-space from Pepsi, which has gotta be a good thing, right?

    Some time ago, there used to be a single "non-alcoholic drinks aisle" in most supermarkets. Now there's often a "fizzy drinks aisle" and a separate aisle for other (flat) drinks. (Water has gone the same way, btw, with its various flavouring, fizzy/flat, different sizes etc.)

    (BTW, you missed the combination of features that Dr Pepper has gone for: Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper for example. If you put together a matrix of all possible combinations, then I think there'd be a different can for everyone in Huddersfield.)

    Directgov already has Directgov with Orange - orange aplenty! Maybe you could download your own set of style-sheets to make it yellow or green for lemon and lime.

    Where the e-government analogy breaks down is here: the government market is pretty much fixed, but the e-government portion of that market is very much open to penetration.

    My creating brand confusion in the online world, you merely send people to what they know best, the non-e-government.

    As an aside, I've heard on the grapevine that the vibrating razor is very good!

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