Coca-Cola® is an iconic global brand that has exemplified brand loyalty throughout its 125 year history of success. The brand has retained its popularity amidst economic downturns, changing consumption patterns, and increased concern over healthy eating and drinking habits.
How has Coca-Cola® achieved this? Christy Amador – Senior Communications Manager at Coca-Cola® will soon explain the answer to this question in detail at AMA Tampa Bay’s upcoming event. However, she did give a preview of the reasons for the company’s success in brand loyalty, which she attributes to the company’s focus on the following elements of marketing:
1) Maintaining the Connection Between Loving the Brand and Consuming the Products
Loving the brand and consuming the products are not one in the same… but they should be. We all love the famous polar bears that grace our TV screens during the holidays, the retro glass bottles and classic red logo, but we can love all of that without drinking Coke products. Therein lies the potential disconnect between brand love and consumption.
It’s the job of Coca-Cola® ’s marketing team to ensure that this potential disconnect doesn’t become a reality. According to Christy Amador – Senior Communications Manager at Coca-Cola® – the company uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal.
The first method is advertising. Ads show images of the Coca-Cola® brand, but also customers drinking and enjoying Coke products as a part of their lives.
Additionally, Coca-Cola® arranges product tastings in stores. This enables customers to enjoy the products prior to purchasing them, which serves as another way to associate the brand with product consumption. Nothing inspires brand loyalty like giving customers a product they enjoy from a brand they love!
2) Maintaining Flexibility in a Changing Environment
In the past 15 years the general public has become increasingly concerned with health and consumption of sugar, which clearly impacts the consumption of Coca-Cola® ’s flagship product – regular Coke. Coca-Cola® responded to this change deftly with the development of new products and a change in the marketing strategy for older products.
The company developed Coke Zero (a zero calorie alternative that tastes more like regular Coke than Diet Coke), and Coke Life (a naturally sweetened low calorie alternative to regular Coke).
In terms of changes in marketing strategy, the company has expanded the brand. Coke sells many products outside of soda including all-natural juices, high-quality milk, Honest Tea, and other drinks with health-related and performance benefits. They now market these products under the Coke brand name instead of marketing them separately. This informs customers that Coke products fit a wide variety of consumption habits and preferences. The company’s flexibility in modifying the brand and products ensure that the Coca-Cola® brand never goes out of style!
3) Making the Products More Premium
Coca-Cola® has changed customers’ perception of the product by positioning Coke products as more premium, rather than bargain-priced and mass-produced. This is largely done through packaging.
Rather than offering Coke products in extra large containers and cans, the products are now offered in smaller containers, such as miniature aluminum cans and glass bottles. The company has also manufactured cans and bottles in a variety of colors.
Consuming products from these new packaging concepts gives customers a more unique experience each time they open and consume a Coca-Cola® product. As a result, the company has seen a dramatic increase in sales from these sizes and formats.
4) Giving Back to the Community
Coca-Cola® contributes to the communities in which its products are sold in a variety of ways, and the residual impact of this is an increase in brand loyalty. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola® Foundation has given back more than $820 million to enhance the sustainability of local communities worldwide.
The company is the largest private employer in Africa, and also empowers women via its 5 by 20 program, which pledges to economically empower 5 million women by 2020. Lastly, the company pledged to give 100% of the water it used back to nature (via water reclamation programs) by 2020, but has already reached this goal in 2016.
These initiatives are genuine and reach far and wide. Coca-Cola® touches more than customers’ taste buds. It touches their communities, homes, families and most of all – their hearts. If that wouldn’t inspire brand loyalty, it’s hard to imagine what would!
At the Heart of it All
The initiatives described above have boosted Coca-Cola® ’s sales tremendously, and at the upcoming event, you can find out more about how you can use these strategies in your own company. What’s important to note is this: What lies at the heart of the changes mentioned above is an in-depth understanding of changing consumer preferences, values, and concerns.
To achieve this, the company has always relied on extensive marketing research and resulting insights to stay well-connected with the needs and preferences of their targeted customers. No doubt this strategy will ensure the continued success of the iconic Coca-Cola® brand for perhaps another 125 years – and beyond!
By Chiara Tedone
Chiara has a passion for helping businesses grow by ensuring that they build solid and well-known brands, credible reputations, and lasting relationships with customers on the internet. She is President and CEO of Tedone Digital Marketing (TDM), which provides top quality service in the following areas: website development, copywriting, content marketing, blogging, search engine marketing/SEO, online advertising, email marketing, social media marketing/management, photography, and videography.
Chiara has worked in Washington, D.C., and in Tampa, and has served organizations in the non-profit, government, defense contracting, entertainment, health, and beauty industries. Her educational background includes an M.B.A. with a specialty in marketing, from the University of South Florida, and a B.A. in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C.
She serves on the Boards of Directors in a marketing and management capacity for two organizations: Winning the Fight, a medical research non-profit organization, which she co-founded in 2010; and the Tampa Bay Light Opera Company. Chiara is also a regular contributing author to AMA Tampa Bay’s blog, and serves as a content strategist for AMA Tampa Bay.
Email: Chiara at [email protected]
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