It’s Time to Pivot

More than 63 percent of Americans are avoiding drinking soda. For the health and well-being of Americans, this is good news. For the soda industry, this couldn’t be good. According to a analyzing findings by TIME Magazine and others, this is a significant increase from 2002 when only 41 percent of Americans were reportedly avoiding drinking soda.

Clearly there are many thoughts provoked by this study, but let’s look at it from a communications angle. I found it interesting and not surprising that the highest point in sales for the soda industry was in the ‘90s when the bigger the drink, the better. But with more information about health and an interest in changing the statistical direction of obesity in our country, it’s not shocking that this strategy couldn’t last forever.

So what’s next? According to the article, soda companies are looking at two strategies. First, they are diversifying their product offerings by purchasing/selling drinks that appeal to the health conscious. But what are they doing to save soda itself? The answer, or so they think, is re-introducing the product to the teen market as a no-guilt alternative in smaller packaging. Will it work? Yes. Well, at least for a while. With such large marketing budgets and the ability to saturate the marketplace, chances are very high the strategy will work in the short-term.

The lesson here is knowing when to pivot. If you are in business for any matter of time, it’s likely you will need to change your game plan from time to time to stay competitive. And in this case, soda makers are being forced to change their marketing plan not just to stay ahead of their competitors, but to stay in the game at all. Is it time for you to pivot to stay in the game?

Megan Neri serves as Director of Client Relations at Imagine Communications. Contact Megan at

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