What Coors Light's frosted blue liner can teach the food industry

What Coors Light's frosted blue liner can teach the food industry

Building a strong food brand can be done by finding the answer to a few simple but important questions.

In 2008, the United States was engulfed in a mortgage crisis and President Bush and Congress came up with a $780 billion stimulus package to try to save the economy.

Against this backdrop of outright failure, how was it that some companies managed to just continue to grow stronger?

Advertising kingpin Gerry O'Brion has made a living trying to figure such puzzles out. "The idea of building a clarified brand is something that big companies do year after year," O'Brion said. "Big companies are constantly asking questions, and actively listening to the answers they get back."

Building a strong food brand can be done by finding the answer to a few simple but important questions:

1. Who is your target market?

2. Who is your customer?

3. What is your customer looking for (both emotionally and rationally)?

4. How do you offer that to your customer?

Tell your customer 'why'

The average person is bombarded with 300-500 advertising messages per day. It is so much information that human brains can't possibly analyze it all.

This is why, O'Brion said, it is crucial that food manufacturers tell consumers why their product is offering them something they want.

"Why is Papa Johns a better pizza?" O'Brion prompted. "’Better ingredients, better pizza, Papa Johns.’”

For many years, the top light beer brands were neck-in-neck in sales, and in most blind consumer taste tests, consumers cannot tell the difference between a Coors Light and a Budweiser Light. What finally turned the tide was when Coors Light added a frosted blue liner to the inside of its cans.

In reality, this light blue liner didn't do anything. All aluminum cans have a liner, and the color of the liner doesn't affect the beer. But Coors added a color to the liner, and then started telling consumers: "Because it locks in freshness."

For the first time in 2011, sales of Coors surpassed Budweiser, making Coors Light the No. 2 beer in the country. Its target market hadn't changed—its market was and still is men between the ages of 21 and 24. The difference is, these men now believe the frosted blue liner is making their beer better.

And when it comes to sales, believing is everything.

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