Coke is timeless. Pepsi is timely.

Branding Insights
One of a series by John Paulo Cardoso, Spyder Works Chief Creative Officer


As a designer and branding junkie, I have always been fascinated by the marketing machinations of Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola. As two of the savviest and most successful marketing companies in the world, you might imagine that the two companies would have evolved a similar, shadow approach to branding. But, the way I see it, they come at it from totally opposite directions. Coca-Cola, whose logo probably would have looked the same on Noah’s Ark, has steadfastly traded on its timeless, iconic connection to consumers, while Pepsi seems to juggle the look of its red, white and blue logo like a waverunner. It seems to me that Coke’s branding follows its consumers while Pepsi tries to anticipate them.

Which approach is right for your company?

If your corporate culture is about leadership and maintaining an enduring relationship with your customers, the Coca-Cola model will focus you on consistency, connection and continuous improvement. If you have an aggressive hunter/disruptor culture, the Pepsi model of continuous re-invention will keep your people and your customers on their toes. It will encourage constant re-assessment and promote maverick thinking. My mantra to clients is to be true to who you are and reflect it in your branding and re-branding. If your culture is about continuous improvement, you’ll grow by enhancing and nurturing. If it’s about continuous re-invention, your corporate destiny is finding the next big thing.

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