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Signage is one of the oldest methods of business promotion. Dating back to ancient times, signs continue to be used today because of how effective, affordable, and low-maintenance they are. If you’re considering using signs to promote your business, it’s only natural to want to do research on some of the most successful sign campaigns in history. Out of all the brands that have used signage to their advantage, the early Coca Cola marketing strategy was perhaps the most successful. Today, we’ll take a look at a timeline of the Coca Cola sign history, and discuss how these powerful advertising tools helped them grow to one of the most successful companies in history.
The 1890’s: During this time, Coke used a black and yellow color scheme rather than their now-iconic white and red palate. Oddly enough, however, the font used during these early ads would carry on to be the signature font for the cola brand. What can we learn from this? Arguably that it’s ok to make slight changes to your brand’s color scheme, font, or logo, as long as you are only making small changes and analyzing the reaction of your consumers.
The 1950’s: The “drink Coca Cola” slogan could be seen everywhere during this time period. By this time, the brand’s well-known colors were incorporated into the logo, but the lesson we will focus on during this time period is the content. “Drink Coca Cola” is a very direct message (almost an order, in fact) that the company decided to change later on. If we can speculate on why, we would say that the message was in fact too direct. Because the slogan was later changed to more passive marketing phrases, like “Enjoy Coca Cola,” in the 1980’s, we believe this was one of the early signs of consumers blocking out direct advertising messages.
The 2000’s: After establishing a cola legacy that stretches half a century, it only makes sense to advertise your expertise and role in the soda community. In the 2000’s, that’s exactly what Coca Cola did. Assisted by improved graphics and an incredible brand reputation, they launched the “Coca Cola Classic” campaign that would establish them as a seasoned expert in the industry. The lesson here (we think) is being comfortable enough with your company’s experience to advertise that on your signage, or in your marketing campaigns. When using signs to promote your business, don’t be afraid to include the year the business was established, or state that you have the most experienced staff in the area.
The Coca Cola sign history offers a lot of insight on how brands can successfully change their marketing messages or logo colors, without dramatically impacting their customer following. Although you might not have the capacity to launch massive advertising campaigns like Coke, perhaps the lesson biggest (and most actionable) lesson this Cola corporation can teach us is that long term success lies in changing your marketing message and brand image to reflect the times.