ThinkOTB Agency

The Coca-Cola marketing effect; three lessons we can learn from the kings

November 2, 2016

Often lauded and hailed for their pioneering marketing campaigns, Coca-Cola has become on of the giants of the marketing industry.

Whether it is commentators’ annual homage to the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck or marvelling at their audacity to offer consumers a half can of coke, pushing boundaries and creating iconic advertising campaigns has almost become second nature to the brand.

This week Coca-Cola has spoken to Marketing Week about their formula for growth. So, we’re bringing you the round up of three lessons we can learn from the Coca-Cola advertising strategy.

‘More and Better’

At first glance this may sound like a given for anyone accustomed to consistently delivering marketing strategies. But, Coca-Cola is putting this ethos at the heart of their new growth strategy.

Against the backdrop of falling net sales yet organic revenue growth, Coca-Cola is looking to draw on its areas of success to inform its strategy at a worldwide level.

Coca-Cola’s COO James Quincey has told investors that the brand is hoping to learn from its recent success in rejuvenating the U.S. wing of the business. The company is now looking to develop this into a ‘formula’ for their global market.

Quincy told Marketing Week that ‘good marketing on its own is not enough, it needs to be placed alongside better execution’ and that the formula going forward will be ‘more and better marketing, a better focus on categories, innovation and pushing ahead.’

Test the waters

Coca-Cola has added a number of variations to its range over its lifetime. However, few would have predicted the launch of a ginger flavoured Coca-Cola.

Last week The Drum reported that Coca-Cola was ‘treading gingerly’ in Australia as it launched its limited edition summer flavour. Coke is hoping to tap into the young adult market through a social media and experiential marketing focused strategy.

With Coke estimating the market potential for the product in Australia alone is currently worth $80m. It’s worth testing the waters with a non-traditional product offering and new approach to reaching audiences.

Even the British tabloid press has picked up on the launch. They spotted that ‘Coke Ginger is the first new “flavour” in more than a decade since the launch of Vanilla Coke’. It’s a product specifically focused on insights for the Australian market. They’re going to try using Snapchat to reach their audience. Coca-Cola’s marketing team will be keeping a close eye on the limited edition to see if their gamble reaps rewards.

You’re never immune

Coca-Cola has seen continuous organic revenue and sales growth. However, it is worth remembering that success doesn’t make your brand immune to the demands of a competitive environment.

In an article for The Guardian back in July, Director of Strategy at UK- and US-based consultancy Morar Julian Dailly, argued that ‘no matter how indispensable a brand seems, nothing is for ever, and even the biggest names must fight to stay relevant.’

Dailly argues that Coca-Cola was born in a very different era. They’re of an era more reminiscent of the AMC TV hit Madmen than the 21st century cutthroat marketing arena.

We must all fight against increased competition and the choice paradox offered by the internet and rampant consumerism. Coca-Cola also has other obstacles such as governments’ moves to tackle obesity to contend with. They’ve had to adapt their failsafe brand image to the fast paced marketing of today.

Dailly concedes that ‘there’s no denying Coca-Cola remains one of the world’s best-known names’, but suggests that ‘simply shouting louder will not work’ to keep up with the rate of previous brand image successes.

By competing on features and recognising the changing nature of ‘value-added’ brands to consumers, Coke can fight to maintain its supremacy. The lessons we can learn from Coca-Cola marketing are big and small, and are plain to see. Takes these useful insights for your brand growth plans in the coming months.

Want to talk about your next brand campaign? Get in touch. We’ve learned much from the Coca-Cola advertising strategy that we can’t wait to share.


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