On Monday I received an interesting package at work. It was actually three packages that seemed to be orchestrated to be delivered at different times - they all came together. Steve Rubel had reached out to me to ask permission to have the package delivered on behalf of Edelman's client, PepsiCo. By then, I had already read Seth's post, which has my full agreement. Yes, your brand is not your logo - the logo is a symbol...
... which can be a sign to indicate a story. Now, that is much more interesting to think about. When I saw the cans, I immediately thought about the gentleman from Colorado Springs who is the President of a Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. and with whom I discussed social media on a flight to the last Blog Council meeting in Chicago. See how vividly we remember people and stories?
The interesting part of this outreach initiative is the room PepsiCo. opened on FriendFeed Monday. The move made me use my brand new Flickr account to download the photos I took with my iPhone in my office. At the time when I took this screen shot on Monday evening, there were 109 members in the room and the PepsiCo. team was beginning to warm up a little. I know, the thought of warm soda! But, hey, warm works in social media.
Admittedly, I was excited for the team. I do know what it's like to represent a large business. Many of the rules become self-imposed in the beginning as well. Welcome to social media, PepsiCo. team. Bart Casabona writes:
“As you now know, Pepsi has a new brand identity, which is the first step in a multi-year, multi-pronged company wide transformation, that’s deeply rooted in reconnecting with influencers, youth and pop culture. I’m interested to know what your initial direction is for Pepsi as it reinvents itself.”
Let's not talk about Pepsi so much. It may be the guest of honor, but the people in that room, who have come as guests, are far more interesting. How does Pepsi connect with their stories? How is Pepsi a social object? From Hugh:
I know it's really hard to shift mindset from the product to the reason, but the reason is really what matters. The FriendFeed room might become more interesting if we invited the people in it to bring friends who have a special story about Pepsi. Focus on the people, and think of the new can/logo as the reason - the tangible reason for being together. That is where your execution can really take off as a positive experience in the conversation. Social networks form around social objects, as Hugh says, not the other way around.
Who has stories with soda in it? I'll go first. When I was growing up (in Italy), we were allowed to drink soda only at parties, so a sip of carbonated drinks felt really special to us kids. Seth had it exactly right - your brand is not your logo. Part of your brand is the stories it evokes in the minds of the people who have reason to come together because of it. Uncover the stories, make it about them, not you. That's how you re-connect.