As you’ll hear from my book review above, Byron Sharp points out many interesting facts in his book, How Brands Grow. This includes the idea that mass marketing isn’t dead, buyers aren’t as loyal as companies think, and distinctiveness is much better than differentiation. He uses multiple studies to prove his points, especially through the brands Coke and Pepsi.

Sharp argues that while mass marketing is deemed as old-fashioned, it’s so important because we need to reach out to as many customers as we can. Researchers that study buying behavior and brand performance have found that “mass marketing is essential for growth.” He proves it by showing that most of Coke buyers buy the brand once or twice a year, if not less than that. Customers are not as loyal as brands think, so marketers can’t discount the ones that don’t buy the brand not as often. Sharp has a quote: “Non-buyers and light buyers are heavier buyers than you think and heavy buyers are lighter.”

Another study for Coke and Pepsi also showed that people are more likely to trust their eyes/familiarity over taste. In a blind taste testing trial that was conducted, about the same number of Coke and Pepsi drinkers said they preferred the taste of the other brand. This study shows just how fickle consumers can be and as a brand, you must be constantly refreshing and reminding consumers that you exist.

Sharp also points out that in today’s industry, marketers must not strive for meaningful, perceived differentiation, but rather meaningless distinctiveness. He doesn’t approve of building a brand image or personality because consumers don’t typically view brands as a personality. He believes that features that make the brand distinct are more effective ad tactics.

Sharp brings up interesting points about mass marketing, consumer loyalty, and differentiation and while I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, I’m glad I have a broader understanding of the importance of mass marketing and growing brands.  It was an interesting read and definitely worth checking it out.