The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage company, manufacturer, retailer and marketer of various non-alcoholic beverages (The Coca-Cola Company, 2012). It was founded on 8th May, 1886 by John Pemberton and Asa Griggs Candler. It is popularly known for its leading product Coca-Cola and as the world’s largest beverage company. Its headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia but it was incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware (Wayne, 2012). It operates in more than 200 countries worldwide and has over 700,000 employees (The Coca-Cola Company, 2018). It is the largest bottler and distributor of Coke with 430 distribution centres that deliver to more than 400 million consumers on a daily basis. The Coca-Cola Company has acquired many brands since 1960 starting with Minute Maid, Indian cola brands: Thums Up and Barq, Odwalla, Fuze Beverage, Zico and Honest Tea. As of 2017, its revenue was 35.4 billion dollars with an operating income of 7.5 billion dollars. The chairman of the board is Muhtar Kent and the president James Quincey.
Coca-Cola, or popularly known as Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company (Stafford, 2012). It was introduced on 8th May, 1886 in the United States of America. It was created by John Pemberton in the late 19th century and was originally proposed as a patent medicine. He later sold it to Asa Griggs Candler in 1889, whose marketing strategies led Coke to its dominance in the world soft drink market till today (World of Coca-Cola). Its name refers to the two original ingredients, that is kola nuts – which is a source of caffeine – and coca leaves. The “kola” was changed to “cola” due to marketing purposes (Bellis, 2017). There are many other variations of Coke such as Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, Coca-Cola with Lime, Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Citra, Coca-Cola Ginger and Coca-Cola Life. The most popular ones among these are Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. The Coca-Cola Company also produces other soft drinks like Fanta and Sprite. In 2017, Interbrand listed Coca-Cola as the 4th best global brand in the world with a brand value of 69.7 million dollars (Interbrand, 2017). Currently, Coke is sold in more than 200 countries worldwide, with more than 1.9 million drinks consumed per day (The Coca-Cola Company, 2017).
The current formula of Coke remains a trade secret. The original ingredients were cocaine and caffeine; cocaine derived from coca leaves and caffeine from kola nuts. But coca leaves were eliminated from the recipe due to the fact that when the desired flavour is extracted from the leaves, cocaine is also removed, and the drug is left as a by-product (Lewis, 2012). The current ingredients are carbonated water, sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel colour(E150d) and natural flavourings.
Their famous logo was created by Frank Mason Robinson in 1885 (Bellis, 2017). He was John Pemberton’s bookkeeper and he chose the unique lettering of the now world-famous script logo. The lettering style used was Spencerian script, that was developed in the mid-19th century and was the major form of formal handwriting during that period in the United States (The Coca-Cola Company, 2018). Its written in white on a red background; another thing Coke is famous for.
Coca-Cola is also famous for its iconic red colour. According to The Coca-Cola Company, the reason why they used the colour red is because in the mid-1890’s, alcohol and soft drinks were both stored in barrels and alcohol was taxed but soft drinks were not. So, during transport, tax collectors couldn’t differentiate between the alcohol and Coke. The company then decided to paint their barrels red, so tax collects could distinguish them from alcohol during transport (Porcel, 2018). It then became the company signature colour and was named after the company’s first magazine in 1924 called The Red Barrel (Mahoney, 2017).
The famous Coke bottle is called the contour bottle. Its unique shape was created by Earl R. Dean and Harold Hirsch in 1914 (Ryan, 2015). Coke is packaged in either a glass or plastic contour bottle. Some are even packaged in aluminium cans which was introduced in 1945 to supply to soldiers displaced in the Second World War. Though its size is the same, its design changes (Porcel, 2018).
Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizing product in the world, making it far more superior than its major competitor: Pepsi.
Coca-Cola is also famous for its various taglines over the past 130 years. The official tagline currently is “Taste the Feeling”.
It is important for every company to have a good pricing strategy. Pepsi is Coke’s biggest competition in the soda industry and because of this, both brands price their products competitively. They put out prices that are not too high for average customers range and not too low to give the idea of low quality. Coca-Cola’s pricing strategy is aimed at motivating brand loyalty (Pratap, 2017). This is something the company has thrived to do and has earned a respectable number of customers. In the United States of America, a 12-ounce bottle of Coke costs $1.49, a 16-ounce can cost $1.19, a 2 litre bottle costs $2.27. For their eco-pack, an 8-pack x 12-ounce bottle pack costs $4.99 and a 12-pack x 12-ounce can pack costs $5.99. Also, the decreasing demand for soda products has intensified pricing competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Prices grow lower with size of purchase with bulk purchasers of the product pay significantly lower prices than those buying a single product (Pratap, 2017).
Coca-Cola advertising has been among the best in marketing history. It has a major effect on pop culture and society with their logo, bottle design and brand image internationally recognizable. Due to intense competition in the soda industry, top brands focus mainly on advertisement to push higher sales and revenue (Pratap, 2017). Ranked the number one soft drink internationally repeatedly, The Coca-Cola Company engages in a wide range of marketing strategies to advertise through direct marketing, web-based media, social media, sales promotions as well as sports sponsorships (Stringer, 2015).
Direct marketing strategies by Coca-Cola are numerous. The strategies used integrate vendor company partnerships, that is, only offering Coke at restaurants and cinemas and eliminating any competition. Also, sponsoring sporting events to attain sole sale rights as well as VIP sales opportunities to important clients to eliminate competition. The company also markets through mobile marketing in text messages (Stringer, 2015).
Web-based and social media marketing campaigns form industry benchmarks. Because the brand is universally recognized, audience build up is unnecessary. Their fans span over 86 million across social media channels (Stringer, 2015). Web-based marketing is focused on design and functionality, relying on banners, video and public relations (Stringer, 2015), with new products, online games and social, cultural and sporting events being the focus of the Coca-Cola website content (Darakeva, 2013).
Sales promotion for Coca-Cola is aimed at two strategies: retail and food service. In retail setting, direct store delivery techniques involving mobile advertising with bright red delivery trucks inscribed with the brand logo and point of sale techniques involving brand coolers for in store sales and vending machines which carry Coca-Cola (Stringer, 2015). In terms of food service, Coca-Cola in food pairings and menu optimization. Meals made up of convenience foods such as popcorn, burgers, French fries and hot dogs are often accompanied with Coke (Stringer, 2015). In Australia, 2011, Coca-Cola started the “Share A Coke” campaign where they replaced to Coca-Cola logo with 150 most popular names in Australia (Burke, 2011). This campaign was also introduced in Ghana where they replaced the logo with the traditional names normally used.
Coca-Cola was the first commercial sponsor of the Olympic games in 1928 and has been a sponsor ever since (Olympic Movement, 2018). They also sponsored the 1978 FIFA World Cup and other competition organized by FIFA (FIFA, 2017). Coca-Cola has a long history of sports marketing relationships with the Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League by sponsoring their games and events. On March 1st, 2010, in Canada, Coca-Cola introduced limited edition gold coloured cans to celebrate their win in the 2010 Winter Olympics. They sold 12 pack x 335ml cans in selected stores (Chong, 2010).
Coca-Cola has a widespread distribution system. It is sold in over 200 countries with an average of 1.9 billion drinks consumed worldwide per day. The company depends on its bottling partners for packaging and distributing the beverage. The company manufactures and sell the concentrates and beverage bases to the bottling companies, who now own the brand are responsible for consumer brand marketing tactics. The bottling companies manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute the final beverage to retailers and wholesalers, who then sell it to consumers. They work closely with grocery stores, restaurants, street vendors, convenience stores, cinemas as well as amusement parks to get the product to their consumers (Pratap, 2017).
In conclusion, Coca-Cola is still one of the most successful brands in the world and it will be for many years to come. Its strong and creative branding strategies, relatively affordable prices, wide range of distribution channels and its amazing promotion tactics will guarantee its spot as one of the worlds most loved brands. Upcoming Brands can glean from the wealth of information that Coca Cola’s 4 P’s play in creating strong brand presence. It is indeed noted that a brand needs a balanced mix of all these four elements to be successful.