Surge of Brand Loyalty

What does a brand mean to you? Does it help you choose a product over another? Does it help you express something? Or does it help you remember a past memory?

The r0915_surge_300ecent rerelease of Coca-Cola’s Surge demonstrates a successful case of brand building. Surge is a citrus flavored soda released by Coca-Cola in the late 90’s. When it was first launched, Coca-Cola invested $50 million for the marketing campaign in an effort to compete with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew, the product category leader. The product line was targeted towards males from 12 to 24. However, in 2002, the line was discontinued.

Though Surge wasn’t able to break Mountain Dew’s foothold, it definitely succeeded in branding itself. When the product was discontinued, fans of the product initiated various campaigns to get Coca-Cola to put Surge back on the market. “It’s so much more than just a soda for many of us…it was the glue I would say of everything we did,” describes Evan Carr, one of Surge’s loyal customers. Surge is no longer a product that simply fulfills consumers’ thirst; it encompasses meaning and values for the consumers. According to Laurence Vincent (2012), author of Brand Real: “Brands provide symbolic cues that influence your expectations and behavior because they are linked to relevant benefits that you value” (p. 12). Coca-Cola was successful because Surge connected with the consumers’ emotions, creating a brand loyalty that is extremely valuable for brands today. The customers feel so attached that they want to take actions to bring back the product. In an effort to measure “what consumers feel for brands or which emotions truly influence brand decisions,” APCO Insight identified 8 emotions that are fundamental to effective brand communication: Curiosity, pride, admiration, empowerment, relevance, approachability, identification, and understanding. In 2013, Coca-Cola was ranked #14 on The 100 Most Loved Companies in APCO Insight’s Emotional Linking research.

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References

APCO Insight.APCO insight : Methodologies : Emotional linking. Retrieved from http://apcoinsight.com/methodologies/tools/emotional_linking.aspx#.VCaHGb6RPzI

Suddath, C. (2014, September 15). How a facebook group persuaded coca-cola to rerelease surge. Bloombergbusinessweek

Vincent, L. (2012). Brand real: How smart companies live their brand promise and inspire fierce customer loyalty. United States: AMACOM.

 

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8 Responses to Surge of Brand Loyalty

  1. pchoksi says:

    Very well written Lin. I feel Coke is one of the best examples to be used as a brand that has successfully established as a corporation that is fulfilling its CSR with its marketing efforts, that has created brand experiences, a culture that everyone aspires to be a part of . Its marketing and advertising is something that our every day situations but Coke has beautifully captured all of them that people want to remember.

  2. pchoksi says:

    Very well written Lin. I feel Coke is one of the best examples to be used as a brand that has successfully established itself as a corporation that is fulfilling its CSR with its marketing efforts, that has created brand experiences, a culture that everyone aspires to be a part of . Its marketing and advertising is something that our every day situations but Coke has beautifully captured all of them that people want to remember.

  3. Haoming Zhang says:

    Very interesting topic!
    Just have a quick question here. Are loyal customers the major reason to push Coca-Cola to bring Surge back? I am just amazed by the fact that people can actually stay loyal that long to a brand that doesn’t exist anymore.

  4. Corinne says:

    Hi Lin- I’m glad you wrote about this. I remember Surge from my childhood and, although I haven’t had a soda in ages, I was excited at the thought of being able to purchase a Surge just like the good old days. The product re-release did in fact appeal to my emotions and I think any discontinued item from my or your childhood would do the same.

  5. Xi Kang says:

    Hi Lin,

    It is an impressive example of brand loyalty. It reminds me of a soda brand in China called the Arctic Ocean Soda. When it disappeared from the market, many customers felt depressed and after 15 years, it returned to the market in 2011. Statistics show that the Arctic Ocean Soda is as popular as it was before. As far as I am concerned, these brands succeeded in building customer loyalty because they are closely related to people’s former experiences and memories. In order to copy the success of such brands, time and patience are needed since brand loyalty accumulates gradually.

  6. Tyler says:

    Hi Lin,

    I can’t believe Yahoo ranks #2 on the most loved companies. I’ve been a user since 1998 and despise how they have ruined the their mail platform. It gets worse every year….

    I will have to buy Surge to see if it tastes the same. I had no idea it re-released. I wasn’t as emotionally connected to the drink as Evan Carr, but it tasted pretty good. For Coca Cola, I believe its simply a move to offer more variety.

    Thanks for the nice post, Lin!

  7. Nazly says:

    Hi Lin,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I remember Surge. It was that type of drink that young men craved back in college. Coca-Cola is a great sample of brand marketing. It is successful because it understands its consumer and advertises in a way that connects the drinker. Since Surge, I have seen that Coca-Cola now focuses on bringing variety such as promoting Dasani water and drinks. I didn’t realized Coca-Cola promoted Dasani until someone pointed out its logo and trademark. Thank you for sharing this.
    Great job, Lin!

  8. Graham says:

    I love seeing these resuscitated brands rereleased. Twinkie just launched a similar campaign and I’ve been waiting for Crystal Pepsi or Coca-Cola’s OK (the shortlived brand for disaffected gen-Xers). I remember Surge, it was popular while I was starting High School. I didn’t like the taste of it because I preferred Citra another discontinued drink. You’re definitely onto something with your points about the nostalgia stored in the brand name. I haven’t seen many brands reemerge for the better but it’s undeniable that there is a sort of magic there that if harnessed could make for a triumphant return.