Papa John’s and Coke – Dissociative and Associative Advertising
Basically, if something bad happens with your business, most times, you want to dissociate from it. If something good can be associated with your business, you usually want to make that connection for consumers. These marketing techniques are simple. They are taught in entry-level marketing classes in college, and although simple, they can have simply amazing effects on your bottom line. Let’s take a look at a couple examples and talk about how you can use them on a smaller scale to help your small business.
Papa John’s Dissociation
When your business’s CEO is the outspoken logo, spokesman, and celebrity of a company named after himself, you expect them to conduct themselves professionally. You also expect the company to conduct themselves professionally. Now, wherever you stand on the issues between John Schnatter (“Papa John”) and Papa John’s, the company, we can all agree that it was a major shit show. To recover from the tornado of events between Papa John’s and John takes leadership internally and brilliant advertising externally. I’m not saying Papa John’s method was perfect, but here’s what they did: the company started with an employee bias training, released a letter stating that John is no longer a part of the company, then released this beautiful piece to the public:
I think that this ad is brilliant in its simplicity and relatability. The focus is very narrow (a name) yet it is the most relatable thing of all (we all have one). Papa John’s shows that the company is not John Schattner’s company; it is the manager’s, the employee’s, the franchisee’s, and the customers.
“Because we believe that we are better together; all of us, and all of you” invites customers to be a part of their business, not John’s. In a small business sense, think about how your business can dissociate from negative reviews and make customers a part of your business. Maybe host an event for bad reviewers and make things right. Provide free services to noble causes. Take videos of community participation and distribute them on social media. Learn from the mistakes and recovery of others.
As much as this Papa John’s ad both dissociates with John Schnatter and associates with the company’s customers, Coca-Cola focused only on associating with their “Food Feuds” campaign with which they show people with food and coke. By showing the food that people already associate with, Coke associates itself with the food, which in turn should associate customers with Coke. Disclaimer: this sort of love triangle won’t work in your relationships. In this video, Coke focuses on connecting pizza with the fizzy drink:
The easiest way to make this sort of connection on a small-business scale is to collaborate with other businesses in the area. Think about how you can help each other and benefit the public. If you run a computer repair shop, give out coupons for the pizza shop across town. If you want to 10X it like Grant Cardone, start a business coalition and coordinate how all the businesses will help each other (by providing value to the public!).
When you think about how to grow your small business, think about how you can associate your business to good things like pizza. This association can also dissociate your business from negativity such as reviews or word-of-mouth reputation. Need some help connecting the dots? Don’t hesitate to reach out anytime!