Something strange happened in May 1985. A company came out with a brand new product.
There were marching bands and balloons; it was a global news event. It was expected—based on advice from experts hired by this company—that the new product will take the world by storm. However the exact opposite happened. The majority of feedback was downright negative.
In fact the company’s old product became highly sought after. People were driving pickup trucks to supermarkets so that they could stock up on old Coke.
The management was told to be patient—-New Coke was going to succeed. It was just going to take some time.
However things went from bad to worse and when the decision was made to bring back the old Coke, known as Coca-Cola Classic. America was happy once again. The return of the old Coke became the lead story on every newscast the day the decision was made to return to the iconic brand
A brand is defined by what is embedded in the mind of each consumer. This story also reminds me of the classic Volkswagen Beetle.
There will be times when you have to admit your mistakes, just like the management of Coca-Cola did. The lesson from this story is also that experts –even the best of the best—are not always right for whatever reason. Trust your own instincts. Use common sense.
One of my best friends, Gerrie Botha, from Washington D.C. told me long, long ago (over 4 decades ago) that life is too short to only learn from your own mistakes. He said we must learn from other’s mistakes. You may not care for Coke but learn from their mistake and live your own life the best way you know—by example.