Coca-cola’s Brand Power

Coca-Cola has built one of the strongest brands in history. The amount of brand loyalty and identification that the company has is inspiring. Not only is Coke used as a blanket term to describe all carbonated fountain drinks, but to the point where a server in a restaurant will ask “Is Pepsi ok?”

Melissa Lee from CNBC conducted an in-depth exposé on Coca-Cola. When speaking with many executives within the company it was revealed that Coca-Cola is meant to be associated with good times and a unique experience. The company has worked hard to build this image. Some great examples are sponsoring the FIFA Championships and through “Have a coke and a smile.” Marketing with Santa who is conveniently wearing the same colors as the Coca-colas brand was a stroke of genius. (Lee 2018).

If one were to look at the 4P’s of Marketing which is product, place, price and promotion. Coca-Cola hits 3 out of 4 of these flawlessly. Starting with product, Coca-Cola has a timeless product with a unique bottle. When developing the bottle, the company wanted the shape to be unique that one could tell the difference between the real deal and a counterfeiter. (Lee 2018). When it comes to promotions, Coca-cola does a wonderful job. They sponsor many events and try to make it a unique experience with placing names on bottles or allowing one to customize and special order their bottle. (Coca-Cola 2020).

Place is where Coke shines the brightest. They have penetrated almost every conceivable market and their products are sold virtually everywhere. Even at great expense to the company. During world war 2 the company would ship Coca-Cola over to troops at a loss in order to maintain loyalty and give the troops joy, In Africa the company has such brand loyalty they own 90% of the market share and will eventually be sold everywhere in the continent once the infrastructure is in place ( Lee 2018).

Price is Coca-colas Achilles heel. Pepsi had been able to gain a following when starting out as they were offering more product for less money. Pepsi also owns all their bottling rights whereas coke does not, so they are able to undercut on costs there. (Lee 2018).

For a new beverage company to compete with Coca-cola, would be quite the feat. Using the Ansoff Matrix and looking at their competitors one can see how they would have to act in order to compete. Under new products, the company could enter through diversification to reach entirely new markets or product development to try and steal existing consumers.
When researching how new products could compete through product development and diversification, a fantastic example with coffee was found. In the example we have a new organic coffee versus a non-organic but known brand. The known brand more often wins. To put this more eloquently “A consumer may, for instance, value an organic label but also value a particular brand, and if that brand does not offer an organic variety then consumers will choose nonorganic varieties even if they are keen to buy organic: the brand trumps the organic characteristic” (Friberg et al. 2017).

With that sentiment in mind, it is not wise to simply develop a new product but to go into a different market within the beverage community. Coca-Cola alone has more than 100 different variations of their products, but they have been weak in the past to new products that have come out. An example of this would be Vitamin water (Lee 2018).
There-fore the only way to compete would be through diversification, one must find a beverage in which they have nothing similar and branch out into that market segment. The new product would need to act fast and expand quickly in order to capitalize on their first mover advantage as if Coca-Cola can make a comparable substitute, people will most likely prefer it on brand recognition alone.

References

Cocacola. (2020). Custom bottles page | Coca-Cola store. Together Tastes Better | Coca-Cola®.

Friberg, R., & Sanctuary, M. (2017). Market stealing and market expansion: An examination of product introductions in the organic coffee market. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 20(2), 287–303.

Lee, M. (2018, July 9). Coca-Cola: The real story behind the real thing [Video]. CNBC.

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