The Real Thing.
Dr. Rick Johnson, CEO Strategist
Saturday, 9th October 2010
How many of you remember the phenomenal marketing campaign promoting the 'New Coca Cola' -

This interesting marketing/business failure of the past comes to mind mainly because for my birthday last month Tracy gave me a brand new red and black golf bag.

Being the Wal-Mart Queen she's always looking for a deal and was able to purchase this $200 golf bag (on-line) for only $89.00. It's a great golf bag but it has 'Coca Cola' prominently stitched on the front of the bag. That's not a problem since I really like Coke but it brought to mind the marketing disaster (my opinion) of their introduction of the 'New Coke'.

More importantly it reminded me that there is an eerier resemblance between their failure and what this country is going through right now.

The 'New Coke' was supposed to be the 'Improved Coke.' The big claim by marketing was that people preferred the 'New Coke' over the original Coke by a margin of 2 to 1. They generated all kinds of excitement about the 'New Coke'. (Sound familiar yet?).

Coke spent tons of money on advertising. They hired great athletes to promote their message. They did everything possible to convince us that the 'New Coke' was the answer, the thing. They believed in everything they did. They believed in the 'New Coke'. They felt it was just a matter of time before the general public realized how wonderful the 'New Coke' was.

But, something happened. The public started drinking the 'New Coke.' They analyzed the taste in comparison to what they had to drink in the past. They hated the taste of it. The public became disillusioned. They were told it was 'the thing;' the taste of the future. They wanted change, they wanted something new.

But when they got it, it just wasn't what they had been told. It just wasn't what they had envisioned. (Just like our current business environment -- unemployment is still near 10% and private sector jobs are not being created quickly enough)

Coke Missed the Mark

Coke was faced with a dilemma. They had missed the mark. They truly believed that the 'New Coke' was perfect for the 'New Generation'. Unfortunately they misjudged the 'Old Generation'. They came up with what they thought was a brilliant answer. Why not have two Cokes. Yeah, that'll make everybody happy. But, it didn't. The people realized that the 'New Coke' just didnˇt live up to its promise. It didnˇt represent the kind of change they had envisioned. They longed for the 'Original Coke'. (Not that the old Coke shouldnˇt be changed but the 'New Coke' wasnˇt the answer)

Sure, the old Coke had been around a long time but the people were used to it. So, very few people purchased the 'New Coke'. They lost faith in it. It wasnˇt what they were told it would be. Eventually, the 'New Coke' disappeared from the grocery shelves and is now lost in the archives of Coca Cola's corporate offices.

We can learn from Coke

There's a lesson in the experience Coca Cola had trying to introduce change. That lesson is simple; you can change many things about your business, about the country, about Government, about your product, about your message but if you change the 'Real Thing' people will stop buying it.

In terms of our country, if you try to change the very principles this country was founded on; (The Real Thing), Limited Government, the right to pursue the 'American Dream, the fact that we are a Christian Nation, people will wise up. The people in this country believe in our constitution. The Preamble states its purpose very clearly.

'We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Get Out and Vote

November 2nd is only weeks away. As a citizen of this country we have an obligation to get out and vote. It doesn't matter whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Tea Party or Independent. You have the right to vote but with that right attached is an obligation to vote. This is a great country that we live in. Itˇs up to us to keep it great.

So, as you search your conscious, think of the lesson from Coke and ask yourself these questions.
  • Who is the real thing
  • What is their real value
  • What gains you real respect
  • What is the thing that you know makes a difference"sets them apart
  • If you change the essence of what leadership is"then it isnˇt leadership anymore
  • If you change the essence of what value is then it isnˇt value anymore
  • Suppose the people that call themselves leaders"arenˇt really leaders"havenˇt earned the respect, the trust
  • Don't you think people will treat them like the new Coke
  • No matter how much hype
  • How much pressure
  • How much they demand
Don't be a new Coke-----Be a real leader"build your leadership skills based on Respect, Trust, Commitment and a sincere willingness to reach out and touch people's lives in a positive manner. Elect the kind of leaders that you yourself are striving to become. And, don't forget the key principles of our Constitution:

1. Popular Sovereignty- All of the power lies in the hands of people of the United States who are sovereign. Government can only govern if it is given permission by those who are governed.

2. Limited Government- The principle of limited government explains itself in the title. Limited Government means that the government may only do things that the people that they have government give them the power to do.

3. Separation of Powers- In a parliamentary system the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government are all gathered in the hands of a single agency. Our government runs almost the same except the three powers are separated.

4. Checks and Balances- The government is organized around three separate branches. Though the constitution says that these three powers must be separated they are still connected and are not completely independent of each other. What ties them together is known as checks and balances.

5. Judicial Review- The power of judicial review is the power of courts to determine whether what government does is in accord with what the constitution provides. The role of the judicial branch is to determine whether or not a law is constitutionally acceptable.

6. Federalism- Our government works in a federal form by distributing the powers that they have on a territorial basis. The principle of federalism is the division of power among a central government and several regional governments. By spreading the powers throughout the different states the Framers of the constitution built a stronger, more effective national government while preserving the existing states and the concept of local self-government.

Thanks for listening to my Rant.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distributionˇs Leadership Strategist〃, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.

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