S.A. And other regions, Pepsi has tended to target generation X or the younger generation. This has led to the view that the Pepsi brand and marketing is aimed more at the youth segment of the market; as the slogan "Pepsi generation" would suggest (Comparative Analysis of Pepsi and Coke).
Pepsi has also changed the colors and image of its brand more than Coke, possibly in order to attract the youth market. Pepsi has "…associated itself with rich deep blue color as blue color represents eternal youthfulness and openness that is appropriately consistence with the youth segment they are targeting" "(Mittal et al. 2008). The rationale behind this is that the labeling of the product helps the brand to become accepted by the targeted marketing segment. This difference in segmentation is supported by the view that,
Even with Coke's best-of-breed worldwide distribution system, there always was a feeling that the soda wasn't as connected to the kids as it should be given the beverage's long history and famed reputation for being a valued member of the Americana. (Battle of the Brands: Coke vs. Pepsi)
However, studies also indicate that, "Coke retains a significant advantage over Pepsi in terms of brand equity, and this is evident even with younger people" (Battle of the Brands: Coke vs. Pepsi). Studies also indicate that Coke has the edge over Pepsi in terms of marketing equity: "PepsiCo was valued at $110 billion; Coca-Cola's market cap, on the other hand, was near $140 billion" (Battle of the Brands: Coke vs. Pepsi).
There are also differences with regard to gender-based segmentation of the market. Coco-Cola for example has targeted its beverages with a lighter taste, such as Fanta, towards the female sectors as well as the very young demographic. Another important aspect of brand marketing is the realization of the differences between rural and urban consumer needs. In this regard, Coke is one of the first companies to have realized the importance of the rural markets. One of the differences that have been catered for in regard is price as opposed to quality. It has been found that the population of the rural sector is "…more conscious more about the price whereas the population of Urban sector is more conscious about the quality and brand name of the product" (Mittal, 2008). As a result both Coca Cola and Pepsi have adopted different strategies to market to these sectors of the population.
The Importance of branding is supported by modern science. This refers to the view that the "… preference for Coke vs. Pepsi is not only a matter for the tongue to decide" (Coke vs. Pepsi: It's all in the head). In other words, choosing one brand over another has a lot to do with the perception of what one is drinking, as well as taste. Preference also has been found to be linked to "…memory-related brain regions that recall cultural influences" ( Coke vs. Pepsi: It's all in the head). This means that brand images and their associations affect perceptions and preferences for the product. Choices are affected by perception because "there are visual images and marketing messages that have insinuated themselves into the nervous systems of humans that consume the drinks" (Coke vs. Pepsi: It's all in the head).
In terms of brand image, the Coca-Cola brand tends to dominate the international beverage market. However, there is conjecture about its overall position in relation to Pepsi. One of the reasons for Coca-Cola's apparent advantage over Pepsi is that it has a longer history and therefore that its image and brand is more ensconced in the culture and mind of the consumer. It has also achieved a dominating position as a result of its flexible and effective distribution and marketing system. "Coca-Cola's bottling system is one of their greatest strengths. It allows them to conduct business on a global scale while at the same time maintain a local approach" ( SWOT n Pest Analysis of Nestle and Coca Cola). Pepsi on the other hand has shown a tendency in branding and marketing to engage the younger sector of the consumer market.
Both these market leaders however have to continually be aware of challenges and threats to their brand dominance. Among these is the threat of substitutes that could put pressure on their market share. More significantly, changes in consumer consciousness pose continual challenges to these companies. "Even though Coca-Cola and Pepsi control nearly 40% of the entire beverage market, the changing health-consciousness of the market could have a serious affect" (Coca-Cola Case Study). Health trends or a number of other variables are apects that both Pepsi and Coca- Cola have to be continually aware of.
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