When it comes to brands and their positioning and packaging, marketers get bored of them long before consumers even get used to them. Unlike their customers, marketers think about, talk about and look at their brand all day long. Even the most loyal customers don’t have this kind of relationship. Then, often sooner than necessary, marketers suggest a change to keep the brand “fresh.” This is a tricky thing to do, however, and often occurs long before it needs to.

A good example of this is the recent Tropicana orange juice packaging redesign. When Tropicana debuted new packaging and brand identity for its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice, consumers responded with passionate complaints and outrage. After less than two months, the company decided to respond to their customers’ demands and return to the original packaging.

Interestingly, the sheer volume of consumer response was not the reason for the switch. According to Tropicana NA president Neil Campbell in a recent New York Times article, it was because it came from “some of [their] most loyal customers.” I think this is a great point. There will always be dissatisfied consumers, but marketers need to focus on their best and most loyal customers in order to continue to move the brand in the right direction. This is something that most companies don’t spend enough time doing.

In the article, Campbell also stated “I feel it’s the right thing to do, to innovate as a company. I wouldn’t want to stop innovating as a result of this. At the same time, if consumers are speaking, you have to listen.” While innovation is the key to keeping up with your customers, it needs to be smart and well-executed – not just innovation for the sake of innovation.

In times like these, when consumers are changing their minds and their behaviors almost hourly, marketers need to use real-time data and analytics to continue to learn about their customer-base and their evolving needs and wants. Then, when they are really ready for a change, marketers can give it to them. Until then, marketers should avoid giving their brands a makeover when their most loyal customers still love the original.

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