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By Beverage Industry

All the marketing elements must work together to reinvigorate a product

Beverage companies continually evolve their products in small ways to keep up with changing consumers, but sometimes it takes a complete overhaul to breathe new life into a brand. Reinventing a brand can take many forms - new packaging graphics, new advertising, sometimes a whole new personality. The key to any product revamping, according to the experts, is to do your homework and make sure all of those elements work together and portray the same new image.

"You need to understand what consumers feel is new and what drives their motivations within the category you're dealing with," says Matthew Youngblood, client managing director at Landor Associates, a San Francisco-based company specializing in strategic brand consulting and design. "Then you take an inward view and understand what's different within that set of motivations about your brand. Those two points, relevance and differentiation, are what you need to understand before you start this kind of revitalization program."

Once you understand what's working and not working for consumers, you can drive the changes through "all of your touch points" or points of communication, says Youngblood.

Advertising is, of course, the most visible point of communication for reinvigorating a brand.

"There's no question that you can reach more people more quickly through advertising, if the things you're communicating are primarily emotional, active and peopleoriented. It's a wonderful tool to build a brand," says Larry McNaughton, chief operating officer and managing director at Corporate Branding LLC (CoreBrand), Stamford, Conn.

But he agrees that all of the elements of a brand, whether packaging, advertising, or point-of-sale materials, must communicate the same message and not compete with each other.

"If, in one medium, your product is the happy, fun drink for the weekend, and in another, you're saying it's the cheap drink as your leading message, there are two conflicting messages and you're not building a brand at all. You're probably diminishing the brand," he says. "Think of the brand as the sum of all the experiences around the product. You want to make sure those are coordinated in a way that is consistent and continuous over some time."

Get a face lift

Sometimes a new logo is all it takes to get consumers to take another look. The Coca-Cola Co. is getting set to give flagship Coca- Cola Classic a new look next year by modifying the ribbon graphics and incorporating a bright yellow thread through the logo. Dr Pepper/ Seven Up recently redesigned the look of several of its brands, such as Diet Rite and Squirt, with new color schemes and logos. And Heineken made its way into a whole new retail category - convenience stores - by developing the 24-ounce shaped keg can.

When updating the look of a beverage package, it's important to keep in mind the package's objectives, and not just change on a whim.



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