How much are customers willing to pay for your social media efforts?
Coca-Cola has more Facebook followers than any other brand. Social Media experts and those who are trying to make a buck off new media love to point out the tremendous success and innovative ways that Coke has created and expanded its online community. But at what cost, and exactly who is paying the freight?
Here’s a tale of two sodas – these pics were at the local WalMart. There are plenty of Cokes available at $1.28 (the everyday “low” price) but the store brand which boasts considerably fewer than the 35 million Facebook fans Coke has, is all but sold out at 78¢.
It started me thinking – who is paying for the miracle of social media? It’s not just Mark Zuckerberg sucking dollars out of wallets to fashion an online paradigm shift. Here’s the world’s largest purveyor of colored sugar-water putting a premium price on its product to help support the marketing effort that creates a fanbase. People united by their willingness to join together and pronounce their love for caramel coloring and carbonation. Which they can get for half the price a few steps away.
There has to be a law of diminishing returns – what’s the break event and where the heck are the metrics that could possibly suggest that the Brand Managers at Coke are balancing the creative and management costs of all this social media to create an affinity for a product that all the creative and management make cost more to the consumer. Could the higher costs of Coke’s massive marketing efforts and the price point difference created by that branding effort be turning some consumers to the cheaper store brand alternatives?
As that great purple philosopher, Barney the Dinosaur once said, “I love you, you love me…” but where does that relationship go when it’s costing me 50¢ more a bottle to have you love me back?