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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