Decoding the Secret Behind Coca-Cola's Marketing Strategy and Campaigns

PV Vyshnavi PV Vyshnavi
Feb 21, 2022 9 min read
Decoding the Secret Behind Coca-Cola's Marketing Strategy and Campaigns

Everyone knows Coca-Cola, it is one of the most popular and beloved brands in the world. Coca Cola is an international company and the world largest manufacturer, licensor and distributor of 3,500 nonalcoholic beverages with more than 500 brands and selling 17 billion servings per day in more than 200 countries.

The global behemoth is known for its marketing strategy of creating and maintaining its identity of bringing people happiness and unity. Coca-Cola owns four out of the five biggest soft drinks which are Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta.

Coca-Cola was invented in the late 19thcentury and has continued to be in the top position in the beverage industry. In its long history, the company has been able to come up with unique and innovative marketing campaigns that have been extremely successful.

Coca Cola generates 60% of its revenue and about 80% of its operations profit from outside America, which goes to show that coca-cola has strong brand recognition across the globe.

The mission of the company is to refresh, inspire optimism and bring about happy moments in consumers lives, while the framework of the company is to address various elements of its business which are customers, partners, productivity, brands portfolio and communities. According to Business Insider, approximately 94% of the world population is aware of the red and white logo of coca-cola, pointing out the fact it has been successful in implementing its mission. The competitors of Coca-Cola is Pepsi Co and Dr Pepper Snapple. Let's decode the marketing strategy of Coca-Cola.

A Brief History of Coca-Cola
Target Audience of Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola Marketing Strategy
Popular Campaigns of Coca-Cola

A Brief History of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has evolved a lot from when it first started, the company went from selling one product to more than 3,500 beverages, having affiliations with 500 brands selling 17 billion servings in a single day to more than 200 countries.

Coca-Cola is the leading company in the beverage industry and first started out by being a soda fountain drink in Atlanta, Georgia in 1986, where it was first sold in a pharmacy. The soft drink was first discovered by Dr John Pemberton at Jacob’s pharmacy in 1986, that year he only had managed to sell 9 drinks in total.

When the product was first produced by Dr Pemberton in the form of a syrup and sold for 5 cents a glass as a soda fountain drink. The carbonated drink was then changed from syrup to a drink that was said to be refreshing and delicious. Dr Pemberton then went on to partner with bookkeeper Frank M Robinson who suggested the name be changed to Coca-Cola. The company was incorporated in 1892 and its drink was first sold in bottles in 1894 and then first established internationally in 1904 in countries like Canada, Cuba and Panama.

Dr Pemberton never realized the true potential of the soft drink he had created. Over the years he gradually sold portions of his business to various partners and, just prior to his death in 1888, sold his remaining interest in Coca-Cola to Asa G. Candler. Mr Candler who was a businessman from Atlanta went on to buy additional rights and acquire complete control.

Target Audience of Coca-Cola

The company brands range from sparkling soft drinks to juice and beverages while its customers comprise the general population which is divided according to their tastes and preferences.

When it comes to flagship brands like Diet Coke the target audience falls in the age range of under 30 years as they are identified as the youth. On another side, the regular Coca-Cola is said to have a more mature target audience of 30 years and above.

Also since the company has been around for more than 125 years it provides a nostalgic feel to the older generation 31 years and up. The vast range of different beverages have a minimum target audience of 12 years and older as the company is reducing the amount of advertising that targets children younger than 12. The company also does geographical segmentation depending on regional tastes and preferences.


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Coca-Cola Marketing Strategy

Coca-Cola is one of the most valuable brands in the world because it has one of the most successful marketing strategies. Coca-Cola is often associated with happiness, in fact, the words Coca-Cola in mandarin means "Delicious Happiness". This is exactly what the brand stands for bringing together people and creating happy moments in their lives. The company’s products are now available in every country including North Korea and Cuba. A uniquely designed marketing strategy of Coca-Cola has been the reason behind the company’s reach internationally.

In India, Coca-Cola first took over Parle Foods and acquired local brands like Thumps Up, Limca, Mazaa, etc. The combination of Indian and Western brands enabled Coca Cola to extend its global branding.

In India, where people are price sensitive and prefer beverages like nimbu paani and tea over soft drinks, Coca-Cola managed to get a huge audience by following an intensive brand-building program.

Coca-Cola has grown exponentially at the rate of 40% from 2002 by following the Affordability strategy and continues to grow in double digits since then. The consumer base has also grown from 162 million in 2006 to a whopping 233 million in 2004.

The factors of Coca-Cola's marketing strategy are:

The Shape of the Bottle

One of the reasons Coca-Cola has been successful is its consistency and the fact that everyone no matter of age or country can recognize the product. In 1915, when the brand was losing market share to hundreds of competitors, a national contest for a new bottle design was launched. This helped the customers to identify the original bottle and also made the product look premium.

The History of Coca-Cola Bottles
The History of Coca-Cola Bottles

The iconic font and logo of Coca-Cola

The iconic font and logo of Coca-Cola have remained consistent from after it was made, making it unforgettable for its customers. The logo was first made in 1923 when the company decided to use the font of the Spenserian script which at that time was only used by accountants. This made the company logo stand out from the others.

Coca-Cola Logo
Coca-Cola Logo

Price Strategy

From the year 1886 to 1959, Coca-Cola had a fixed price of only five cents. But further on in the years, the prices of the product kept changing in order to match up to its competitors.

Slogan

Even after 125 years and more the company has remained consistent in communicating one strong and compelling message in its slogans like “enjoy”, “You can’t beat this feeling” and “happiness”. Showing that Coca-Cola has always had simple and understandable slogans which can be relatable and translated in all the countries.

Coca-Cola Slogan
Coca-Cola Slogan
The factors of Coca-Cola marketing strategy
The factors of Coca-Cola marketing strategy

Sponsorship to programs and events

May it be any country, many of these events or programs that we watch on television have been sponsored by Coca-Cola making it one of the most recognizable brands. The company has sponsored American Idol for 13 years, Olympic Games for 90 plus years to even NASCAR to name a few.

Coca-Cola Nascar
Coca-Cola Nascar

Having a global outreach

The company has operational reach in more than 200 countries worldwide and sells its products in almost all countries of the world and continues to grow every year.


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Share A Coke campaign

The campaign first launched in 2011 in Australia and New Zealand, using 250 of the most common millennial names in order to market its products to individual consumers and to bring about brand awareness internationally.

Through this campaign, the company encouraged its consumers to share a coke with a friend of that name. This campaign blasted on social media as everyone started posting pictures of it. This campaign soon spread in 70 countries and was successful everywhere.

According to the Wall street journal, more than 125,000 social media posts referenced share a coke campaign from June to July of 2014. In over three months, the search term “Share a coke” saw a significant increase in America based Google searches.

In terms of Facebook specifically, the company page earned 39% more followers and increased visitors to the page by 870%. This campaign was successful because the company went back to its roots by bringing people together and promoting friendship. Another reason it worked was that adding names to bottles gave it a personalized factor.

The Fifa World Cup Campaign

The World Cup campaign was created in celebration of the good that can be brought out by people who love a single sport. Coca-Cola was the biggest sponsor of the 2014 Fifa world cup, they also took this as an opportunity to tell the Coca Cola story.

The company made a 2-minute long video ad for the world cup which was titled “One World, One Game”, which told a story of four football teams namely from Otsuchi, Japan; Eastern Europe, the Amazon; and Ramallah, Palestine, areas recently dealing with disaster.

This video showed how football could unite, bring joy and strength to communities that are in tragic situations. The video came to an end with the teams being invited to the 2014 World Cup.

Committed to taking the heartwarming story further, Coca-Cola flew a total of 1 million fans from over 90 countries to be part of the 2014 Brazilian World Cup. This campaign became popular because Coca-Cola created content that celebrated how football could change lives and communities while also working by the brand’s vision.

The Happiness Machine campaign

The Happiness Machine Campaign is one of the most popular marketing campaigns of Coca-Cola is open happiness was a part of the global integrated campaign Open Happiness. The goal of this campaign was to share happiness and surprising moments with the consumers.

The Coca-Cola vending machines were installed in various places across many countries along with hidden cameras in the perimeter. They captured this campaign for about two days and made a video on its reactions to getting free coke or other things like sunglasses, flowers etc.

The happiness machine campaign

The machines required the customers to interact with the machines in any fun and weird ways to get a free Coke such as hugging a machine in Singapore, dancing to K-pop in South Korea, singing a Christmas carol in Sweden.

The reactions of delighted participants were filmed and released as a series of videos across multiple platforms. The videos were uploaded on YouTube and earned millions of views and strengthened Coca-Cola’s image as a brand that spread joy.

Conclusion

These are the marketing strategies and campaigns that helped Coca-Cola to reach its place as an industry leader, even after 125 plus years. Coca-Cola Marketing Strategies and Campaigns show us how important it is to behave connections, remain innovative and keep its brand image and mission.

FAQs

What is Coca-Cola's marketing strategy?

Commercials, Print Media, Social Media Advertising, and Sponsorships are some of the popular marketing strategies used by Coca-Cola.

What are the promotional tools of Coca-Cola?

Newspapers, Billboards, and Magazines are some of the promotional tools of Coca-Cola.

What are other drinks do you make other than Coca-Cola other than soda?

Coca-Cola also sells organic tea, coconut water ready to drink coffees or even fruit juice, they have it all.

What is the main marketing strategy of Coca-Cola?

The main marketing method used for Coca-Cola is word of mouth.

Open Happiness, FIFA World Cup, Happiness Machine Campaign, and Share A Coke Campaign are some of the most popular campaigns of Coca-Cola.

Who invented Coca-Cola?

Coca-Cola was invented by Dr John Pemberton.

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