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CHANGE IS A CHALLENGE

CHANGE IS A CHALLENGE

This is the first in a series of blogs on change and why DDCworks welcomes it with open arms.

I ran across a three-part cartoon the other day that brought the subject of “change” into crisp and brilliant focus.

A man stands in front of crowd and asks: “Who wants change?”

The crowd shows its unanimous agreement with all hands raised to the sky.

Next question: “Who wants to change?”

Not a single hand is raised.

Final question: “Who wants to lead change?”

All look down at their feet.

Based on that, perhaps we should consider ourselves oddballs. At DDCworks, there’s nothing we like better than creating communications for our clients that announce, propel and enable change.

After all, at its most fundamental level, marketing is all about making an impact on people and their behaviors by informing, educating and persuading. If you want your prospects and customers to think and act differently, you better have your communications act together.

Not all of marketing is about change, of course—in fact, billions of dollars each year are poured into marketing efforts focused on simply maintaining the status quo, i.e., market share. We do that kind of work too.

New? Different? Bring it on!
But the challenge we like best is the challenge of communicating something new and different: product launches, brand makeovers, corporate re-positioning efforts. All of which, when successful, can have significant positive impacts on a company’s bottom line.

Understanding what change is all about—why people want it, why people hate it—has become a big part of the professional conversation at DDCworks. So we’ve decided to devote a series of blogs to the topic.

Future posts will examine the psychology of change, what it takes to make change happen, the role communications takes in introducing change and in building momentum for it. We’ll also take a look at real world campaigns: wild successes and monumental flops.

Speaking of flops, we’ll be devoting at least two blogs to the story of the biggest product introduction debacle of modern advertising: the ill-fated launch of re-formulated Coca Cola in 1985.

Everyone in marketing should know at least something about this case history: The overwhelming taste preference for the new formulation based on more than 200,000 consumers. Followed by the nationwide firestorm of protest that ignited almost instantaneously with the PR announcements and ad campaign launch (featuring Bill Cosby as spokesperson) proclaiming that a new, better Coke was replacing your current Coke (a soda whose formula had remained unchanged for 99 years).

Imagine what the outcry would have/could have been if the consumers of 1985 had social media as a vehicle to express their collective wrath.

Press like this didn't help the cause.

Press like this didn’t help the cause.

It just 79 days, Coca Cola caved. The company announced to the world that it had made a huge mistake, and was bringing back its old formulation under the name Coke Classic. Coke Classic quickly took over as the market leader in the category—and today the so-called “New Coke” (not its official name) is no longer available in the United States.

Lessons to be learned? Probably a dozen or more, each one providing some worthwhile perspective on the subject of change communications—and what it takes to make them successful.

So, please, watch for blogs to come. And if you’ve got thoughts yourself about change communications, we’d love to hear them.

Send me an email at mdiccicco@ddcworks.com.

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