I read with interest recently that some people living in the US purchase Coca Cola imported from Mexico rather than buy the locally produced version.
The Mexican Coke is made using natural sugar refined from cane, whereas US-made Coke uses high-fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is cheaper than cane sugar but according to some doesn’t taste nearly as good.
It could just be a fad – some people do like to be different – but it got me thinking that this might be a wasted brand opportunity. Particularly given the customer outrage that erupted when the independent bottler that makes the ‘import Coke’ announced its intention to switch from cane sugar to corn syrup to cut costs.
Brand loyalty is often overrated. In many cases, people readily switch brands if an alternative is more easily available or offered at a lower price.
But here we have a market segment actively seeking out a brand variant that is more difficult to obtain. They will be willing to pay more for it because they perceive it as superior, and for them there is no adequate substitute. These people really are loyalists.
If I were Coca Cola, I’d be producing a low-volume ‘cane sugar’ Coke and selling it at a premium price to serve this segment.
What company wouldn’t love to have genuinely loyal customers paying more for its product?
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