Consumer Behaviours, Jnd, Perceptions

Topics: Coca-Cola, The Coca-Cola Company, H. J. Heinz Company Pages: 8 (2295 words) Published: March 14, 2012
Case 4.1: Packaging and the J.N.D.

1. Concept of Perception, Sensation, Weber’s Law (J.N.D. or Differential Threshold)

Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment. This is through organizing and interpreting sensory information to form a meaningful and clear picture of the world. Based on different needs, values and expectations, different people will perceive and interpret stimulus differently.

For sensation, it is when the various sense organs of the body receive a physical or mental response from a stimulus that will eventually be sent to the brain. In addition, the receptivity of our senses and the intensity of the stimuli to which it is exposed, will affect its sensitivity.

According to Weber’s law, the just noticeable difference (J.N.D.) between two stimuli is relative to the intensity of the first stimuli. The J.N.D. concept is the minimal difference that can be detected between two stimuli.

2. Analysis of Articles Regarding the Change in Packaging

2.1 Coca Cola’s decision to drop the “Classic” designation reflected years of planning during which this designation was continuously made smaller. This conditioned consumers to pay less attention to the “Classic” designation.

2.1.1 Altering Target Consumer Perception

With nearly 1billion Coca-Cola drinks sold everyday, it is definitely the world’s most popular and recognized brand. Yet in 1985, the company went through a humbling experience when they decided to replace its most popular soft drink, the Coca Cola Classic, with a new formula called ‘New Coke’.

In 2009, after 24 years, The Coca Cola Company dropped the word ‘Classic’ from its red labels in some Southeast regions. There can be various reasons why the company might have wanted to alter their target consumer perception by slowly removing the word ‘Classic’.

The word ‘Classic’

‘Classic’ is defined as something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. There was a shift in target market from the past generations to the youths in this day and age. Hence, the perception of ‘Classic’ may be deemed as old fashioned. As a result, the word may seem stodgy to some and does not sound very modern. Since Coke has a strong positioning in the market, including the word ‘Classic’ to remind their consumers about its quality is unnecessary.

When Coca-Cola launched “Open Happiness,” their new global campaign, Mr Scott Williamon, Coke’s spokesmen said that because Classic was only used in the United States, the timing was right to create a consistency around the globe. [1] In addition, since the global campaign was made to target and appeal to the younger drinkers, taking the word ‘classic’ out, “will modestly contemporize the brand, because to some people, classic doesn’t sound youthful and contemporary,” said Beverage Digest Editor John Sicher. [2]

The ‘New Coke’

Moving on, Coca-Cola Company proved to not be infallible in 1985. It was a humbling experience for the company as it went through one of its biggest marketing blunder. The company invested 4 million dollars into research, came up with a new formula and pulled the old Coke off the market due to taste tests that showed a distinct preference for the new formula.[3] However, Coca-Cola did not take into mind the emotional aspect that Coke had on its consumers.

Moreover, the skills and money spent in the research for the New Coke could not measure the deep emotional attachment that the people had with the original Coke. With the increased number of negative feedback about the New Coke (Refer to Annex A), the company had no choice but to bring back its original brand and formula. “We have heard you,” replied Roberto Crispulo Goizueta, the Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, at a press conference on 11 July 1985.[4]  Therefore, due to the backlash over the introduction of New Coke, Coca-Cola Company added ‘Classic’ (Refer to Annex B) to its label and brought back the original...
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