Poor Taste in Market Research

What went wrong?


Poor Taste in Market Research

It was no fault of Coca-Cola for not doing thorough research since the research team had already tested the New Coke formula on 200,000 subjects and then made a drink that could beat Pepsi and old Coke. So, when it eventually went into the market in 1985, the company was assured in their research numbers that it could subsequently end old Coke production. They even released advertisements to prove their claims((Larson, GrayGray 2014). This resulted in customers hating it. Cola drinkers voiced their dissatisfaction with the new product by calls and messages. In less than three months after the launch, New Coke was forced to pull off the shelves, and old Coke, which was rebranded as Coca-Cola Classic, was put back to shelves. This blunder cost the company $4 million in the development department and incurred a loss of $30 million in products.

Customers are motivated by more than just taste.

The major blunder Coca-Cola’s researchers caused was keeping the tests subjected to taste alone. Even though almost 53% of people loved the new taste but the taste isn’t enough. Consumers make the decisions to purchase based on habits, sentiments, and loyalty.

Cola is an identity

The research was conducted during the peak of the cola war between Pepsi and Coke, and consumers considered the brand of cola which they drank as part of their identity. Changing the image of Coke confused consumers’ knowledge of the brand.

New Coke was the product.

The research was conducted as a blind taste test: What did subjects like best? But researchers failed to track a major point- the response of consumers if they knew by bringing new Coke, the old Coke would be taken out from the market. This fact would have changed the responses of the subjects. Market research isn’t just about numbers. In failing to address the feeling and attitude of consumers toward the brand and depending on taste tests alone, Coca-Cola was left with product backlogs, irritated consumers, and a big, corporate black eye((Larson, GrayGray 2014)


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