Coca Cola Company Marketing Strategies

The Coca Cola Company: Marketing Strategies

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Executive Summary

A marketing strategy outlines an idea designed as the foundation for sustaining the business in the long-term within the market. The idea develops from the seed of value that enables the business to create a niche in the market through the growth of the brand resulting in sustainable profits. Marketing strategies influence the performance of companies across the world and in all the industries especially in public-centric brands such as beverages. Coca Cola is a giant soft drink manufacturer operating in the market since 1886. The Coke brand strives to replace all soft drink markets. The ability to study customer tastes and preferences in all markets worldwide forms the foundation of the company’s marketing strategy. The report explains the strategy used by Coca Cola to pursue the financial growth and brand development experienced nowadays. The paper details applicable strategies to maintain an edge over competitors in the beverage industry. The marketing strategy applied by Coca Cola appears unique because the company keeps altering tag lines. Changing tag lines maintains the interest of customers in products by considering innovation in the company.

Introduction

            Successful businesses optimize the use of a marketing strategy to increase profits in the long-term. The beverage industry is a constituent of total sales at national level, regional level, and worldwide. An accurate marketing strategy is necessary for players in the beverage industry because of the contemporary nature of the demand. Coca Cola is an example of successful players in the industry courtesy of an effective marketing strategy. The company is a leading player in manufacture, distribution, and sale of soft drinks in the beverage industry. Established in 1886, Coca Cola continues to grow in brand and profitability and now operates in more than 200 markets internationally.

            The product from the Coca Cola Company is a concentrate sold to different licensed bottling organizations worldwide. The bottling companies sign contracts with Coca Cola and produce products known to customers. The bottlers produce the products by combining the concentrate with sweeteners and filtered water. Then, they distribute, merchandize, and sell in bottles and cans to partners in vending units and warehouses. Coca-Cola Enterprises is the biggest bottler across Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America (Curd, 2015). The expanded company market ensures that it sells concentrates coined as fountain sales to food service distributors and major restaurants among them McDonald’s. The greatest strength of the company is to run the business at international level while maintaining the performance in the domestic market.

Marketing Audit: SWOT Analysis

Strengths

            The position of Coca Cola Company in the beverage industry gives in different advantages over competitors. The company is a market leader in soft drinks including production, distribution, marketing, and sales. It is the biggest contributor to the revenue among manufacturers and sellers of soft drinks across the US. The company enjoys a massive appeal across the globe. Branding loads the product image with over-romanticizing attraction. Most people have the appealing image at heart and appears all over on hats, T-shirts, and many collectable memorabilia (Curd, 2015). The recognizable branding is a major strength of Coca Cola.

            The bottling system used by Coca Cola is another source of the strengths of the company. The standard system enables them to carry out business on an international scale while maintaining the dominance in the domestic market in the US. Local companies in respective markets own the bottling business and run business independently. They only sign contracts with the Coca Cola Company to receive the concentrate, mix it sweeteners, and filtered water (Curd, 2015). Subsequently, they distribute and sell to customers in their markets. Without outright ownership of the bottling network means that the company relies on selling the concentrate as the main source of revenue.

            The company is always on the frontline to serve the community through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) segment in customer relations. Coca Cola sponsors health initiatives, sporting activities, education, and many more in all the markets totaling to 312 territories and countries. The branding helps the company maintain the presence of its image in all areas. The company sponsors the Olympics, FIFA, the UEFA Champions League, and Asian Leagues among many more (Curd, 2015). The Coke Studio is another avenue through which the company supports the development of art/music. Musicians, established and upcoming receive the sponsorship to train and record songs in Coke Studios (Curd, 2015). The company also maintains its presence through other hitherto brands owned by Coca Cola. Another source of the company strength is seasonal advertising. The company maintains awareness through summer adverts as well as TV adverts run during Christmas and other festivals.

Weaknesses

            The company continues to struggle with the accusation that its products affect teeth causing tooth decay and coloration, a significant problem in the health care. Most Coca Cola products have sugar and continued consumption causes health problems. The company tried to solve the problem by introducing sugar-free products through the Diet Coke. The brand entailed ranges of products including the ‘healthy soda’ that contained Magnesium, Vitamins B6, Niacin, Vitamins B12, and Zinc (Curd, 2015). Marketing the products as Diet Coke Plus, the company targeted the increasing demand for healthier/sugar-free drinks. The continued change in lifestyle across the markets requires soft drinks with limited or zero sugar levels. However, health institutions and customer still complain that products with ‘zero sugar’ labels still contain high amounts of sugar. The market share controlled by Coca Cola brand makes the company a direct competitor for other players in the industry as well as new entrants in the competition (Curd, 2015). The company still carries the burden of implementing failed marketing strategies such as those applied in the United Kingdom (UK) with the launch of DeSani and Coke Zero.

Opportunities

            The Coca Cola experience and the reputation it enjoys put it at the right position to exploit other opportunities in the market. The company has an opportunity to introduce new products through the marketing pool. Experience through introduction of other product brands pints towards successful expansion of the same strategy. Recognition of the brand anchors the competitive position held by Coca Cola over its opponents in the market. A research study commissioned by the company shows that 94 percent of world knows the Coca Cola brand name (Curd, 2015). Taking advantage of the position would propel any new product introduced in the market. The position presents an opportunity to address the concern surrounding making the brand even better.

Packaging changes introduced by the company changed the positioning in the industry and improved sales. However, they did little to influence the public. The company should investigate the reason for the failure to tilt the public and exploit opportunities that arise. The case explains the need for sustainability and ‘green business’ in packaging. Furthermore, the bottling system used by the company presents the opportunity for infinite development opportunities worldwide. The strategy enables Coca Cola to take advantage to serve a large geographical and culturally diverse area (Kumar, 2018). The process entails investing in both developing and underdeveloped economies. Another significant opportunity to exploit would come from developing social responsibility within narrower demographics.

Threats

            The Coca Cola Company faces few threats in the carbonated industry from new competitors. A substantial threat comes from substitutes. Likely substitutes bring real threat and exert pressure on Coca Cola products (O’Reilly, 2013). They include, hot chocolate, milk, juices, coffee, tea, and Pepsi. The changing health patterns that favor sugar-free dinks would tilt the 40 percent market share controlled by the Coca Cola Company (O’Reilly, 2013). The reality explains the effort by the company to introduce health-conscious soft drinks under the Coke Diet brand. The action targets expansion of the market share, maintenance of the competitive advantage, and offsetting loses that would be incurred from market fluctuations. Another significant threat emanates from the increased purchasing power of the consumer. The competition brought by Pepsi resulted in a slow growth of the soft drinks industry. The situation requires the management to respond adequately to the changing tastes and preferences among customers faced by the possibility of losing a share in the market. Coca Cola operates in the market where consumers can switch to other products in the beverage industry with little or without any consequence or cost. The management must strategies on countering such an eventuality.

The Marketing Plan: Strategies and Objectives

Marketing objectives outlined by the Coca Cola Company are listed below

  1. Shift the company brand to make it a responsible image worldwide
  2. Increase awareness among target clients on features and benefits of new products introduced by the company (O’Reilly, 2013)
  3. Enhance sales using the forecast that projects overtaking carbonated drinks within the industry (O’Reilly, 2013)

Product Description

            The Coca Cola Company introduced new packaging of products for the Diet Coke range. The new packaging is an aesthetically styled and refillable bottle to attract fitness and sports customers. Manufacturing the bottle uses sustainable materials as well as methods of production (Kumar, 2018). The uniqueness of the bottle makes it easier for clients to reuse or refill it. Crossing the steeple as the first company is a proven competitive strategy in business. Any adjustments to improve the product creates the impression of a company concerned with customer satisfaction. Addition of material technology would improve the design further in future. Features of the new packaging design include the fitness or sports design and the presence of the logo inserted by the distributor. More so, the bottle is ergonomically designed. The new packaging has manty benefits to the company among them, carrying lifestyle connotations associated with Coca Cola (Kumar, 2018). Other benefits are connecting with health and fitness lifestyles, an affordable product in the long-term, eco-friendly connections, sustainability, and fair-trade references.

The Pricing Strategy

A marketing tool for deriving a pricing strategy

 (Kumar, 2018)

            The Coca Cola Company commands a bigger share in the markets but competition makes customers price sensitive. The enjoys higher volumes of sales in the mix of low profit margins. Low profit margins are because the company operates in fast moving consumer goods. The description fits an effective market penetration pricing strategy. The penetration pricing strategy involves deliberately setting lower prices for products with the aim of achieving market dominance in the industry. The penetration pricing strategy only works in a business environment considered highly flexible (Kumar, 2018). Th environment has various feature such as a price sensitive demand, high influx of new demand, increased buying from existing customers, and the low price will tilt the market in favor of the company.

            An effective penetration pricing strategy results in increased volumes of sales, low profit margins, a higher rate of stock turnover, and increased market share. It enhances the performance of complimentary products in the market (Dudovskiy, 2012). The company prices the main product at a lower price to attract sales, then sale other accessories to customers. The product effectively promotes sales of re-use Coca Cola packaging through soft drink vessels purchased separately and refilled. The threat posed by the penetration pricing strategy is that competitors can easily emulate and flatten the expected trajectory of the profits curve.

            Industries where standardization applies offer an opportunity for effective application of price penetration. The company product that attains the highest market penetration effectively becomes the standard within the industry (Bloch, 2011). Coca Cola achieved this feat by introducing the new packaging bottle and standardized how consumers should use the soft drinks container. The company received stiff competition from other players that emulated the packaging product. However, Coca Cola products went on to achieve the highest market penetration, thereby setting the industry standards.

Marketing Communications

            The company applies different elements of marketing communications mix including advertising, individual selling, promotion of sales, customer relations, and marketing directly to clients. The segment highlights different features and assesses strengths and weaknesses. Billboards are the first component of advertising. They constitute paid forms of promotion ideas and non-personal exhibitions as well as goods and services identified by the company (Dudovskiy, 2012). Strengths of billboards are conspicuous nature for many people to see, offering large presence, it is hard avoiding, and it is highly receptive to people. The main weakness is that consumers tend to ignore it because it is an old form of advertising. It is also difficult to use a billboard when targeting specific customers.

            The Coca Cola Company incorporates interesting billboards to advertise products. For, instance, they advertise often on neon screens and displays in Time Square in New York and Piccadilly Circus in London (Bloch, 2011). The company also uses 3D billboards in most of its markets. However, billboards are not effective means of advertising when launching products. TV adverts are other components of advertising applied by Coca Cola. Advantages of using TV adverts include, reaching a large audience, applicable to specific channels and programs, and are excellent communication gadgets (Dudovskiy, 2012). The demerits associated with them are the mandatory watershed on junk food besides digital TV and Sky+ skipping of adverts by visitors.

            The Coca Cola Company has a good history with TV adverts. Every Christmas festive season, the company runs adverts in all the markets that attracts viewership from customers. The watershed period restricts adverts for products from company partners such as such as, MacDonald’s. However, introduction of health-sensitive products through the Coke Diet brand will help fight losses from set rules and guidelines. Other aspects of advertising with varied strengths and weaknesses used by Coca Cola are newspapers/ magazines, street/public furniture, and online advertising (Bloch, 2011). Strategically, the company emphasizes on TV advertising and social videos such as YouTube because of the required huge brand awareness.

            Personal selling is a feature of marketing communication where a person presents the sales of the business aimed at making sales and establishing client relationships. Salespersons need to engage with set channels for distribution. The company distributes vending machines among them, cooler fridges, and other partners to shops, sporting venues, and community centers (Bloch, 2011). In the developed economies, Coca Cola continues to replace cooler fridges with liquid dispensing units preferred by most businesses because of the market share controlled by the company. Forms of personal selling used by the company are price deals which include, temporary reduction in commodity prices. It also applies the loyalty reward program where customers collect credits, miles, or points after purchases and then redeem them for different rewards. Other programs are coupons, online couponing, interactive promotion games, and sweepstakes, contests, and games (Kumar, 2018). The company measures the effectiveness of direct marketing directly. Coca Cola can assess the number of responses from the total questionnaires send to customers.

Strategic Actions

            The Coca Cola Company introduced five strategic initiatives to for global application to achieve goals.

Market Segmentation

            The strategic technique divides the market using the capacity of buyers and their numbers. It uses the right methods to maximize volumes of sales to ensure the company generates profits from every segment. Segmentation by Coca Cola brings out the developed market, developing economies, and emerging markets giving a total of 312 territories and countries (Kumar, 2018). The company focuses on increasing the volume of sales in emerging markets with little consideration on maximizing profits. The initiative will lead to improved customer domains and a hitherto foundation for future sustainability of the business. The accompany achieves by applying the pricing penetration strategy. The company balances increasing sales volumes and pricing in developing economies and focuses on maximization of profits in developed markets.

Establishment of the Brand and Customer Relationships

            The significance of establishing a brand is in expanding the portfolio of the company. Consumers prefer spending on a branded product where a brand name is the status quo in the industry. Coca Cola attains the feat by investing in modern and improved advertisements (Bloch, 2011). The advert creates an impact on customers and transform company products to become integral parts of people’s lives.

Financial Efficiency

            Increasing the efficiency in the final department is an integral element of a successful business. Businesses exist to make maximum returns for investing through optimum productivity. The Coca Cola Company uses the ‘zero-based work’ to maximize financial efficiency (Kumar, 2018). The strategy entails revision of the annual budget from the start point and justifying it through the end of the financial period. To the company, the start and means justify the result.

Maximizing Efficiency in Processes

            An efficient business minimizes time spend on production without interfering with the quality of products. Increased demand requires effective management of production time. Coca Cola eliminated redundant areas from production including a layer of functional administration and linked regional units directly to the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia (Kumar, 2018). Removal of roadblocks made production smarter, faster, and efficient.

Business Frameworks and Core Competencies

            The business framework applied by Coca Cola is a portfolio with more than 500 brands including sparkling beverages, value-added dairy drinks, and health-related soft drinks. The company also sales products to a variety of consumers generating income from different segments. The ability to handle a complicated system of production, distribution, and sales through various partners is the company’s core competency.

Conclusion

The purpose of the marketing plan designed by Coca Cola aims at marketing new innovative beverages for packaging company products. The latest effort aims at establishing a plan to consider the newly designed packaging form of products. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States (US), the company is reputed for the flagship project, Coca-Cola. It remains one of the multinationals in the US. Although the company enjoys international recognition with presence in more than 200 countries, the company aims to grow its brand further. Company products include, Coca-Cola rebranded to Coke and sub brands, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Oasis, Sprite, and PowerAde. The report from the country shows that it sells products to 312 territories and countries. The company advertising, logo, and colors are some of the most recognized features in the world.

References

Bloch, P. (2011). Product Design and Marketing: Reflections after fifteen years. The Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol 28(3), pp. 378-380.

Curd, M. (2015). Marketing plan: Coca Cola 2015. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/9614994/Marketing_Plan_Coca-Cola_in_2015

Dudovskiy, J. (2012). Coca Cola Marketing Communications: A Critical Analysis Research Methodology. Available at: http://research-methodology.net/cocola-marketing-communications-a-critical-analysis/

Kumar, R. (2018). Coca Cola: An analysis of current marketing communication strategy and a new strategy suggestion. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/33818611/COCA-COLA_AN_ANALYSIS_OF_CURRENT_MARKETING_COMMUNICATION_STRATEGY_AND_A_NEW_STRATEGY_SUGGETION

O’Reilly, L. (2013). Coke serves up ‘Reasons to Believe’ Brand Campaign. Marketing Week. Available at: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/food-and-drink/news/coke-serves-up-reasons-to-believe-brand-campaign/4008973.article

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