What’s Your Market?

By Mash Bonigala

This question is one that is crucial to building any type of brand, and yet small business owners all over the UK would have trouble answering it. Before you make major decisions about marketing, branding, or even your logo design, you must know exactly who these materials are aimed at. Diet Coke is one company that has struggled to identify and reach out to their market.

Diet Coke has long known that their target market is women. Getting narrower than this has proven difficult due to the many reasons a person might choose diet soda. The brand used a Diet Coke hunk in 2007, then switched to an ad campaign featuring Duffy in 2009. Neither campaign was as successful in the UK as the company would like. However, the brand is trying out a new identity that just might appeal to a core market that they have previously ignored: fashionistas.

This new audience may prove to be a very appropriate one for the drink brand. What better reason to drink Diet Coke than an attempt to fit into your favourite designer jeans or look great in this season’s trends? With the strapline, ‘a lighter approach to fashion’, Diet Coke is present itself as a drink for women who care passionately about their appearance. The new marketing programme will be a major part of brand advertisements, signage, packaging, and even digital media.

Fashionistas are a discerning market, so Diet Coke has had to think outside the box in reaching out to this market. In addition to traditional marketing, the soft drink is sponsoring London fashion Week and planning a promotion with Asos.com. Three limited edition bottles were designed by Karl Lagerfeld along with accessories such as a top, a scarf, and a handbag. Lagerfeld also helped to create the outdoor poster campaign for Diet Coke, using come of the UK’s most recognizable faces. This campaign will be introduced this summer.

Why is Diet Coke scrambling to identify new markets and aggressively market to them? While the brand great eight percent in 2010, the more masculine branded Pepsi Max was the fastest growing UK soft drink brand last year, with almost twenty percent growth. With new choices flooding the UK market almost every year, the ‘old favourites’ must work hard to justify their market share.

Coca-Cola is one of the world’s best recognized brands, at least in part due to the company’s proactive approach to marketing and branding. We hardly have the chance to get used to one strapline before another is introduced. While this would not work well for many companies, Coca-Cola’s marketing campaigns are almost always highly targeted. In addition, they maintain the core brand, reducing consumer confusion.

We don’t know if women will be more likely to buy a bottle simply because it bears a famous designer’s name. However, many women are likely to spend more on a jersey shirt or a pair of denim trousers for the same reason, so this marketing campaign has a good chance at success. Knowing your audience—and knowing your brand—is essential to any marketing campaign.