Who isn't familiar with the white and red-coloured logo of one of the giant non-alcoholic beverages- Coca-Cola. One of the oldest brands in non-alcoholic beverage, the Coca-Cola Company was founded in January 1886 by John Pemberton. He originally sold it as a medicine for all sorts of ills.
The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is one of Earth's most popular soft drink brands. It wasn't until 1886 that it became clear that Coca-Cola was more than just medicine. It became an effective cold remedy.
But, how did Coca-cola manage to grasp the grip on this changing trend? How did it manage to become the global brand leader in the beverage and soda industry?
Read this article further to find the Coca-cola marketing strategy and what innovations it did to get so far?
Coca-Cola's Market Segmentation
Coca-Cola sees every customer as a target and potential who is thirsty. The company targets customers of all ages, but it's the youngest customer for roughly 40% of its total segment.
Coca-Cola's 2021 Marketing Innovation
The Coca-Cola Company has been the biggest beverage company in the world for over 100 years. The business' strategies have not changed much throughout this period.
Its marketing innovations blend traditional and modern techniques that work to achieve its goals, keeping it ahead of competitors and creating a brand that has become iconic. Coca cola's market share is now close to 50% in the world.
The company has successfully diversified into other beverage categories, which has helped it grow even more. The product portfolio of Coca-Cola includes beverages that are sold both as soft drinks and nonalcoholic ones.
As of 2021, the industry leader has sold 3,500 nonalcoholic beverages with over 500 brands and over 17 billion servings per day in more than 200 countries.
Not to forget, the company has also reached through the grey market where it is banned- Cuba and North Korea. One of the primary reasons it has survived and become successful over the years is the innovations and introduction of various products over time.
Out of five extensive soft drinks, four out of them are owned by Coca-cola companies- Diet Coke, Fanta, sprite, and Coca-cola itself. The fifth one is the biggest rival- Pepsi.
Like the other companies, coca-cola emphasises the foundational marketing strategy; 4P's of marketing- Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.
The most crucial factor behind Coca cola's success is its marketing campaign, which was made up for a specific reason that no other company had done before or since then.
It began expanding to the countries by acquiring the local brands that sell nonalcoholic beverages or soft drinks. For example, In India, the company acquired brands like Thumps Up, Limca, Mazaa, etc. For this, the company focused on keeping the prices available to all the sections of society.
Be it the rich or poor, and the company was there to meet the needs of all. Coca-cola continued with this policy in other countries as well.
The way it distributed its products has been a significant factor for its success and growth over the years. The company's distribution strategy is known as 'Brand Equity', a distribution system that allows the company to distribute its products through third-party distributors.
Major marketing innovations of Coca-Cola
Shape of bottle
In 1915, when the company lost the market share from few competitors and the local brands, they tried the defensive marketing strategy.
The company launched a national contest for the consumers, which helped them determine the difference between the Coca-cola bottle and the other brown cola bottles. Coca-Cola designed a bottle to look like the Coke logo so everybody could recognize it.
Logo and Font
Since its evolution, the logo and font of Coca-cola have remained consistent. And this has worked positively for them. In 1923, Coca-cola launched its logo written in the font of the Spenserian script used by the accountants.
One hundred years, and the company still uses the same logo.
One of the significant successes of coca-cola lies in its pricing strategy.
From 1886 to 1959, the price remained constant at just five cents.
When the rivals like Pepsi entered the market, the company changed its fixed price schedule to match up with their competitors.
Coca-cola is one of the most popular brands in the world. And, this has helped them to grow into a global brand. The company started with local bottling operations in Germany and Italy but then expanded to Mexico, France, and Australia.
With the expansion, it took over to the African and Asian markets. Today Coca Cola has five active regions; Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and North America.
The marketers at coca-cola use sponsorship as a way of promoting their products. Coca-cola sponsors the TV reality show American Idol for thirteen years.
The company began sponsoring the Olympic games in 1928, and it's been doing that for 90 years now.
The effective promotional and advertising of Coca-Cola and the timely innovations in its beverage product have made it a global brand.
Coca-cola has the broadest range of products in the market, ranging from drinks to food items like chips, ice creams, etc. It offers a wide range of drinks from soda to water, juice, and energy drinks. The product is targeted at all age groups and genders.
In 2009 the company launched a new product in the market named Coca Cola Zero Sugar. This beverage is trendy among all age groups because it contains no sugar, but still, the taste is the same as that of regular Coca Cola.
It is also used as a gift item to various corporate and business events.
Furthermore, effective marketing campaigns like 'Share the Coke Campaign' and 'Coca Cola Happiness Project' have effectively spread the word about this brand.
The well-known marketing campaigns of Coca-Cola
Share the Coke Campaign
In 2011, the company launched its Share the coke campaign in Newzealand and Australia to bring brand awareness by using the most common millennial names. In this campaign, the company encouraged its consumers to share a coke with someone they knew by that name.
The campaign saw a great response from the consumers, and more than 50% of people who tried this campaign, shared a coke with someone they knew by that name.
Coca-Cola Happiness Project
In 2013, the company launched its Coca Cola happiness project in America to promote happiness and surprising moments. The company collaborated with top celebrities like Justin Bieber and Beyonce for this campaign. It was aimed at creating awareness about carbonated soft drinks and their health benefits.
The Coca Cola Happiness Project was an innovative marketing campaign that helped the company promote its brand image among consumers. This campaign received a great response from the audience, and it is considered one of the best campaigns launched by Coca Cola in recent years.
Marketing Strategies of Coca-Cola
The company has to spend a considerable amount of money in marketing the product. It has been estimated that Coca Cola spends around $1 billion on advertising each year. This includes TV, radio, and print advertisements.
The company also uses other strategies like direct marketing, sponsorships, and product placement.
One of the most common advertising techniques used by Coca Cola is product placement. The companies try to place their products in as many movies as possible to increase brand awareness among people who watch those movies.
It follows the 4P's of coca-cola marketing strategies as follows.
Marketing Mix (4P's) of Coca-Cola
The basic idea behind a marketing mix is that you have to choose how you will sell your product, what price it should be sold for, where it should be marketed, etc.
The marketing mix of Coca Cola includes four main components; product, price, place, and promotion.
Over the years, Coca-cola has created a diversified product. Currently, the company has 500 sparkling and still beverage brands in its portfolio. There are over 3,900 beverage options in total in its product mix.
The introduction of products like minute main, Fanta, sprite, and zero sugar coca-cola is among them.
Coca Cola has a price discrimination strategy that means it charges different prices for the same product in different marketing segments.
It is done to ensure that the product will be available for everyone and its price will not affect its sales. The company has succeeded in making its pricing flexible with the changing competition.
Coca Cola has chosen different places where it will sell its products. These include shops, vending machines, cars, and planes, among others. The company also sells its products in supermarkets and other retail outlets.
Furthermore, Coca-Cola uses an extensive network of people to recycle their leftover bottles in many different ways, saving money and resources by doing it themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.
Coca Cola has a wide range of promotion strategies to increase the awareness of its product among people. These include sponsorship deals, celebrity endorsements, and product placement.
What Can You Learn from Coca-Cola’s Marketing Strategy?
Coca-Cola has maintained its market share for over 100 years by using the marketing strategy of “Mentality”.
To make it innovative and revived for long, the company needs to make human connections, remain innovative, and at the same time stay true to simple principles.
The company is known for its marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and slogans. It has also introduced new products to the market in recent years. All these have made it one of the leading brands in the world.
Mass Marketing Strategy vs. Target Marketing Strategy
Coca-cola targets customers based on age, gender, family size and income.
The company targets people between 10 to 35 years of age.
Coca-Cola has tried to keep its advertising as innovative as possible by targeting these younger generations with ads such as "7 Up The New Thing" or "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing".
They have now started targeting older people of 40 or above with coca-cola zero.
Coca-Cola targets both men and women. They adjust the taste according to the preference of gender by doing market research.
Females prefer coca-cola light, whereas the male prefer diet coke due to its strong taste.
- Family size and Income
Coca-Cola has targeted different family sizes such as large families, couples, or single people. They use different packaging of various sizes that are cost-effective and affordable.
- Geographical segmentation
Coca-cola uses different marketing strategies and advertising to different geographical segmentation depending on Income, culture, customs, and climate.
SWOT Analysis of Coca-Cola
SWOT analysis is the framework used to evaluate a company's strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. SWOT-analysis helps the business to identify the business environment in which it operates.
It also helps in identifying areas of strength and weakness that can be leveraged to strengthen your business.
It also helps in understanding the internal factors that may affect your business.
Strengths of Coca-Cola
- Brand equity
- Vast consumer base
- Company valuation
- Marketing strategies and skills
- Largest global market share
- Large distribution network
Weakness of Coca-Cola
- Stiff Competition with Pepsi
- Only limited to drinks, whereas Pepsi has diversified with snacks
- No attention towards healthy drinks
Opportunities of Coca-Cola
- Diversification opportunities
- Supply chain management and improvement
- Packaged and mineral drinking water
- Increasing demand in developing nations
Threats in Coca-Cola
- Various packaging controversies such as the use of plastic bottles
- Rise of indirect competitors like Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Tropicana, Lipton juices, and Nescafe
Coca-Cola has one of the best marketing strategies and campaigns that has helped them reach its place as an industry leader, even after 125 plus years.
Effective marketing strategies and campaigns show us how important it is to create a brand image for the product so that people will never forget your product.