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Coca-Cola Million Dollar Business Accelerator Branding Story


Matrixforce CEO Featured Speaker at Coca-Cola

Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are two of the richest men in the world. They share an interest for investing in simple businesses that are easy to understand. They also love the world’s largest beverage company Coca-Cola and #1 dividend in history. That legacy comes largely from a unique marketing strategy.

Matrixforce is one of the most recognized brands in the managed IT services industry and I’ve been invited as the Coca-Cola featured speaker for the Million Dollar Business Accelerator event at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on March 9-10, 2018. Differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace is a key element to success and I’ll share the story of developing the Matrixforce brand.

Coca-Cola Branding Story

Coca-Cola was first made in the 1800s by John Pemberton. The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. They sold it there for five cents a glass. It was very strong tasting because they did not mix it with water. Coca-Cola was first made the way it is now in Columbus, Georgia. It was called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca at first, and was sold as a medicine to help cure colds and give people more energy. The drink used to be sold at soda fountains in the United States.

The drink is called “Coca-Cola” because of the cocaine leaf (which was soon removed from the formula because of reported hallucinations) and kola fruits that were used to add flavor. Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, suggested the name “Coca-Cola” because he thought using the letter C twice would look better than if they used a K in the word “Cola”.  At the time, he had no idea he’d made one of the smartest branding decisions in history. He then wrote down the name to use as a logo, which the company uses to this day.

Matrixforce Branding Story

It all started back in 2003 when we became the first Microsoft Gold Security Partner in Oklahoma. Because we deployed more Microsoft security products than any other partner in our region, we were also being awarded the Microsoft Gold Security Partner of the year. However, when we went to send out a press release there were 38 other companies with the same name nationwide. That was where my career and Coca-Cola collided because I wanted to create a name for my company that was unique and distinct like Coca-Cola.

I wanted a name that was about streamlining technology by an elite group. The name should be the brand like Coca-Cola or our specialty, Microsoft. Around that time Keanu Reeves was freeing his mind on the Matrix. There was a disturbance in the Force with Star Wars II Attack of the Clones, but force also meant an organized group of people around a common cause. So I combined the two words to make Matrixforce. Finding that the name was unique, I registered the domain name, changed the corporate name, and registered the Matrixforce trademark.

Which takes me to the next break through of discovering the power of a trademark like Coca-Cola. The next year Facebook was just becoming popular and I wanted to create a Facebook company page, but I couldn’t. It turned out a security guard company in India liked the name and was using two separate words of Matrix Force but created a Facebook page as our company name.

Service Provider AdvisorySo I wrote Facebook and said I’m the CEO of Matrixforce with a registered trademark in the United States and would like to claim my page but another company in India is using it. You know that is the beauty of a registered trademark my friends which Coca-Cola has enjoyed for more than 100 years and Matrixforce has enjoyed for more than a decade. If you go on Facebook today, you’ll see that Matrixforce is the one and only owner of the Matrixforce Facebook page because of the power of a registered trademark.

Then we leveraged that concept in all aspects of our business. We have trademarked our mission Streamlining Technology and all of our unique service offerings like: Matrixforce Orbit for cloud computing, Matrixforce Overwatch for cybersecurity, Matrixforce Phoenix for online backup, and Matrixforce Guardian for vetted managed IT services.

What this approach has allowed us to do is compete and win against much larger competitors like IBM or even startups using branded suites of products with personalized services for niche financial and professional firms. Registering intellectual property is the most valuable lesson I can share for anyone in any business. You don’t want a generic soda, you want a Coke. You don’t want unknown IT support, you want Matrixforce. Thanks to Coca-Cola for being a guiding light for how to do trademarks and brand names for unique positioning in the marketplace because that really is the true heart and soul of business in America.

Look for upcoming thought leadership presentations by Kevin Fream at Microsoft and Harvard later this summer.

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