New York Times READ

A Tale of Two Pepsis

Published by Engagement Labs October 31, 2016

We often hear that soda is bad for us. Especially regular soft drinks, which are packed with 120+ calories per can. So it is worth pointing out that – as far as consumer conversations are concerned – Pepsi is doing a better job fostering positive online Volume and Brand Sharing than its sister, Diet Pepsi.

Engagement Labs took a deep dive into the TotalSocial™ scores of Pepsi and Diet Pepsi to uncover those online and offline attributes that are differentiating the brands. We are zeroing in on these sister brands because their positioning is unique: a recent analysis of our TotalSocial data ranked Pepsi as one of the top three non-alcoholic beverage brands, but Diet Pepsi as one of the bottom two.

We were intrigued – so we decided to go deeper and figure out why consumers have two very different perspectives on these brands.

Engagement Labs | TotalSocial Scores for Pepsi Brand

Pepsi Has People Talking & Sharing Online

The flagship product of PepsiCo, regular Pepsi is one of the highest ranked non-alcoholic beverages on TotalSocial. It has an overall score of 46, while the category as a whole has a score of 40.

Our chart illustrates the two ingredients in the brand’s formula for consumer conversation success: loud Volume (both online and offline), and strong online Brand Sharing, which means consumers are sharing brand-created content in social media. There’s room for improvement in getting consumers to talk offline about Pepsi’s advertising and marketing. Pepsi’s Volume score on TotalSocial – a measurement of how much conversation is happening about the brand – is a whopping 81 offline and 56 online – which are higher than the category average. Pepsi’s online Brand Sharing score – a look at how content is shared on social media – is extremely strong at 44. Pepsi has made a commitment to social sharing in its marketing, including its recent “Say It with PepsiTM!” emoji sharing campaign.

Pepsi does need to bolster consumer Sentiment, however. The brand has below-average Sentiment score, particularly online. This indicates that feelings around Pepsi are not as positive as other beverage brands. While regular Pepsi does outperform Diet Pepsi overall, it is Diet Pepsi that enjoys more success with offline influencers than does regular Pepsi.

Quality Conversations about Diet Pepsi are Losing Fizz

In stark contrast to its full-calorie sister brand, Diet Pepsi has below-average TotalSocial scores, mostly across the board. Diet Pepsi scores a 30 on TotalSocial, versus 40 for the category and 46 for Pepsi.

A quick glance at the small circles on the chart reveal the conversational aspects at blame. Diet Pepsi has low online Volume – meaning that people aren’t talking about the brand that much in social media. Just like regular Pepsi, Diet Pepsi has low Sentiment, both online and offline. This means that when consumers are discussing Diet Pepsi online or in-person, their conversations are less positive than for other beverage brands. The lack of positive online sentiment may be in part be due to the consumer reaction to the Diet Pepsi plans to change its formula, as we saw decrease in positive online sentiment during the summer of 2016 when changes were announced.

Whereas Pepsi exceeds expectations with its ability to foster online Brand Sharing, Diet Pepsi falters. It scores just a 5 for online Brand Sharing, but Pepsi scores a 44.

There are, however, some bright spots. Diet Pepsi has strong offline Volume – so their word-of-mouth marketing efforts are successfully generating buzz. They also have better than average offline Influence, so the brand is commanding the attention of offline influencers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pepsi excels when it comes to both online and offline Volume and online Brand Sharing. And, Pepsi is bolstered by higher than average overall TotalSocial scores in the non-alcoholic beverage category. The brand’s Sentiment scores and offline Influence score have room to grow.
  • Diet Pepsi excels in offline Volume and has an above-average offline Influence score. But it's online and offline TotalSocial scores are below the non-alcoholic beverage category average.

The rather poor social performance for Diet Pepsi should probably be viewed in the context of changing consumer preferences in the category. Those consumers who are more health-conscious—and have been the brand’s core advocates in the past—are turning increasingly to healthful flavored waters, vegetable juices, and fitness beverages. The older sibling brand, Pepsi, however, continues to enjoy an enthusiastic following.

About TotalSocial

TotalSocial scores bring together the most important conversational drivers of brand performance:

  1. Volume: how much conversation is happening about the brand
  2. Sentiment: how positive the brand conversation is
  3. Brand Sharing: sharing of the brand’s content
  4. Influence: engagement of consumer influencers

These data are compiled into a single score, and measured against a category average.


About TotalSocialTM

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