Soda: A Seasonal Drink? Explore Three Waves of Brand Health Tracking
Explore three waves of brand health tracking in quantilope's newly-updated soda category study!
quantilope's brand health tracking approach leverages two key concepts: Category entry points (specific buying scenarios that prompt consumers to shop for a category's products or services) and Mental Availability (the actual brands that come to mind in those buying scenarios). These modernized concepts are based on the work of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science and are growing in importance among brands that want actionable, impactful takeaways about their brand health.
To see these concepts in action, check out our on-demand webinar below!
With this brand health tracking approach, we design for the category (in this study's case - the soda category), analyze for the buyer (in this case, soda drinkers), and report for the brand (in this study, we focus on Diet Coke as the brand of interest). The quarterly tracker launched in April 2023, ran again in July 2023, and a third time in October 2023 - capturing responses among 500 US respondents (each wave) who buy soda on a somewhat regular basis (must make one of the following scale selections for soda purchasing: regularly, occasionally, sometimes).
Overall, Diet Coke’s Mental Availability metrics are stable over time - including a Mental Market Share metric that’s right on track with its actual market share (8%). Mental Penetration (i.e. how many consumers associate at least one category entry point (CEP) with a brand) was highest in July (wave 2), sparking the idea that Diet Coke might be viewed as a seasonal beverage. In line with this idea, during the peak of the summer (in wave 2), consumers reported a significant lift among category entry points related to seasonality - like BBQs, picnics, restaurants, on-the-go, socializing, and family gatherings. As of October '23 (wave 3), all these seasonal associations trended down - most of them significantly.
So what does this mean for Diet Coke (and soda brands as a whole)?
These brand health tracking metrics indicate soda is a seasonable beverage - something consumers currently think about more in the warmer months when they're getting together with friends and family (say, July 4th parties and summer BBQs). As the weather cools down in most places across the US during the autumn months, consumers aren't as heavily associating Diet Coke with these particular seasonal events. But…is that an opportunity for Diet Coke to focus on new seasonal associations in light of autumn/winter family gatherings around the holidays?
Along with already being known as a social, summer beverage - what if Diet Coke put an increased focus on annual autumn campaigns around things like football season and Halloween parties; or annual winter campaigns around holiday gatherings and ski lodge refreshments (similar to Original Coca-Cola and its annual holiday campaigns). The point is that Diet Coke can broaden its consumer associations (aka, grow its Network Size) so that consumers are still heavily thinking about the beverage beyond the peak summer months. In doing so, Diet Coke becomes a brand with high Mental Availability year-round, for a wide variety of category entry points. This is how brands grow.
To learn more about this soda category study, or quantilope's approach to brand health tracking in general, access the full dashboard below!