Duracell is known worldwide for its copper-top batteries and while its newest battery, the Quantum, will still have the copper top, it is going to look distinctly different from other Duracell batteries. Instead of the traditional copper top and black bottom, the new Duracell Quantum will have a red bottom.
Volker Kuhn, general manager of Duracell North America explained the decision go red in an interview with The New York Times, “Consumers associate red with more power, and we chose red to differentiate it and to highlight Quantum’s Hi-Density Core.”
When companies that have strong design-based brand recognition like Duracell go and make a drastic change, consumers aren’t always receptive. Coca-Cola knows this all to well. In 2011 the company launched a new white can to raise funds for polar bear conservation. Unfortunately, the cans confused consumers because the white cans looked like the traditional Diet Coke fans. Coca-Cola ended up scrapping the white cans to appease its very vocal customer base.
I don’t see Duracell having the same issue, though. Sure, a few people are going to complain about the company breaking tradition with its new battery design but like Coca-Cola did with its design change, Duracell has added a charitable component to the Quantum rollout. As part of the Quantum launch, Duracell is donating one million Quantum batteries to first responders across the nation. Although the charitable aspect didn’t quiet Coca-Cola dissenters, I think it will quiet the few consumers that don’t like the new Duracell Quantum color choice.
The donation could bring in more business for Duracell, too. Joe Waters, co-author of ‘Cause Marketing for Dummies’, told The New York Times, “What brands are looking for is loyalists, and firefighters and other first responders are an incredible network of loyalists.” So the firefighter that is impressed with the Quantum battery in his work flashlight is more likely to buy Quantum batteries for his television remote control and other small battery-powered home electronics. Smart move Duracell!