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Imc of Coca-Cola Co: Brand Image

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    Around the world, it is nearly impossible to find a person that has never heard of Coca-Cola or consumed a Coca-Cola product. Coca-Cola has been building strong relationships with loyal consumers, brand image, and the associations with their brand since its inception into the soft drink industry over 125 years ago. Millions of people consume soft drinks on a daily basis, and Coca-Cola is the number one choice among consumers worldwide.

    Association’s with Coca-Cola

    In the minds of Coca-Cola consumers, there can be several associations with the brand. For example: the Christmas holidays, sports, and health.

    Sports – Coca-Cola has had tremendous success within the field of sports. The company has recently marked its eighty-fourth year of continuous support of the Olympic games. Coca-Cola sponsors the FIFA World Cup, as well as the Rugby World Cup and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Coca-Cola is also the official soft drink of NASCAR, connecting the brand with one of the world’s fastest growing and most popular spectator sports.

    New beverages joined the company’s line-up, including PowerAde and Dasani® bottled water, in an attempt to create a more positive image of Coca-Cola’s already prestigious brand within consumers in the sports industry.

    Health – Although the actual Coca-Cola drink is popular, it has received some criticism because of the negative connotation with the issues it causes to ones health. Ingredients such as:

    • Phosphoric Acid: This can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of the teeth and bones.
    • Sugar: It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging, and countless other negative side effects.
    • Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects, and perhaps some forms of cancer.

    While Coca-Cola has a very positive brand image, it does still have some negative associations in a world that is continuing to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles. Although with the purchase of Dasani, The Coca-Cola Company has tried several different experiments to become a healthier non-alcoholic beverage company. With the $4. 1 billion purchase of Vitamin Water, and having a $15 billion brand in both Dasani and PowerAde, Coca-Cola continues to stress to consumers to read the product labels, that according to Coca-Cola’s website, provide recommended amounts of carbohydrates to support optimal performance during prolonged physical activity.

    The Christmas Holidays – Since the 1930s, Coca Cola has been associated with the holiday season. Through the advertisements ran during the holiday seasons, Coca-Cola has shown people that they are conveying one specific thing: Coca-Cola is all about Coke. According to Coca-Cola’s website, with the continuation of the 2010 holiday campaign, in 2011, a fully integrated marketing campaign was launched, with expectations of reaching over ninety different countries worldwide.

    Brand Positioning versus Pepsi Co. When it comes to the so-called ‘Cola Wars,’ there really isn’t one. According to Business Insider, Pepsi is no longer the number two brand in the non-alcoholic beverage industry. Diet Coke has now taken that title, meaning that The Coca-Cola Company has two of the top three brands in the industry, with the first being Coca-Cola Classic. Since March of 2011, when Diet Coke surpassed Pepsi, Pepsi Co. has gone through some major changes: announcing major employee layoffs, cutting 401 (k) benefits, and the announcement in January 2012 that Pepsi Co. would devote more of its marketing budget towards its premier snack business, Frito-Lay. Coca-Cola has a much better brand positioning than Pepsi Co. for one reason: consistency.

    Coca-Cola has been extremely consistent in positioning its brand not only in the worldwide market, but in the US market, as well. According to Investment U, the consumption of carbonated beverages has been on a continual decline in the last decade. Even in the decline, Coca-Cola’s beverage volume in North America dropped by only 2%, compared to Pepsi Co. ’s 8% decrease in the same region.


    Coca-Cola’s prime competitor is Pepsi Company. They are the two largest manufacturers in the soft drink industry. Pepsi positions itself on points of difference as well as points of parity. Pepsi Co point of difference is its forward thinking attitude. No other soft drink brand, including Coca-Cola, is very strong in that area. This falls into image differentiation. Pepsi has the image of being action and celebrity oriented and large parts of their target audience associate themselves with the brand because of that image and what it represents to the younger generation.

    Pepsi’s point of parity is its wide selection to fit every lifestyle of consumers. Since the end of the ‘cola wars,’ Pepsi Co. has had multiple senior management changeovers, the most significant coming in 2006, when Pepsi Co.announced Indra Nooyi as its new CEO. According to Investment U, Pepsi has a new strategy: focusing on Better-For-You products and introducing healthier brands to go along with the recent changes in promoting healthier lifestyles. In 2011, Pepsi Co. went through a decline in sales, while some claimed that Pepsi Co. ’s snack food business held the company together. Some investment experts say that Ms. Nooyi should not neglect the carbonated beverage business, because it is still an integral part in the future of Pepsi Co.

    Images Associated With Coca-Cola

    The Coca-Cola Company has become a worldwide icon. There is little to no dispute that it is one of the most recognizable brands in modern history. Throughout the 125 years that the Coca-Cola Company has been operating in Atlanta, Georgia, it has placed itself at the forefront of all things happiness. Since 1923, when the famous slogan “Enjoy Life” was introduced, Coca-Cola has built a solid foundation around this campaign. Nearly half a century later in 1979, Coca-Cola presented another campaign, solely based on happiness: “Have a Coke and Smile,” and again in 2009 when the current campaign “Open Happiness” was launched.

    Coca-Cola has driven itself to make the world happy with its product, and has greatly succeeded. The images connected with Coca-Cola will forever live in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. From the famous Christmas polar bear commercials, to the popular Santa Clause advertisements, Coca-Cola will always be imbedded in the holiday season.

    Santa Clause – 2011 marked the eightieth year since Santa Clause became an icon. In 1931, Coca-Cola’s Santa Clause advertisements began to run in popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post. He was first depicted as a kind, jolly man in a red suit, according to Coca-Cola’s website. However, after thirty years of the Coca-Cola Santa Clause, there were numerous versions of Santa Clause. Some magazines portrayed Santa as tall and skinny, or even an elf in some instances. The image for Santa, like all things, lives in the era in which it exists, and largely depends on the advertising campaigns that are ran.

    The Polar Bears – Although not as popular as the Santa Clause ads, the polar bear advertisements really changed the course of the company in 1993 when it introduced the “Always Coca-Cola” campaign. Before that campaign, the polar bears, created in France in 1922, were used sporadically for nearly seventy years. According to Coca-Cola’s website there have been many polar bear television spots since the 1993 debut, including two commercials for the 1994 Olympic Games, in which the polar bear slid down a luge and soared off a ski jump. Bear cubs were also introduced in a holiday advertisement, in which the bear family selects its Christmas tree.

    The Secret Formula – While “the secret formula’ is not necessarily an ‘image’, it is still an idea that many people associate with Coca-Cola. The secret formula to making Coca-Cola is one of the most widely kept secrets of the business world and has been for over 125 years. The recipe was kept at the SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, Georgia until recently, when it was moved to its permanent location at the World of Coca-Cola.

    The Olympics – Coca-Cola has been in partnership with the summer and winter Olympics for 84 years, making it the longest standing partner of the Olympics Movement, according to the official website of the Olympics Movement. Not only does Coca-Cola work closely with National Olympic Committees, they also seek to support nearly 190 countries and their athletes.

    Target Market and Market Segments

    The target market for Coca-Cola essentially tries to reach people from the ages of 15-99, but according to Coca-Cola’s Sustainability report, Coca-Cola aims more towards the younger generation, rather than the older members of the overall target market. Reasons for this include placement of vending machines in high schools and promotional strategies in the media.

    The company has a responsible marketing policy that states that they will not place any of its brands marketing on television, radio, print, Internet and mobile phone applications that are specifically marketed towards children 12 and under. Coca-Cola even went as far as to implement global school beverage guidelines. This means that they have certain rules and regulations on what they can and cannot do in regards to marketing towards children.

    According to Coca-Cola’s responsible marketing policy, The International Council of Beverages Association conducted a study that focused specifically on The Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi Co. Inc. , showed that there was a 95. 5% compliance rate for television advertising and a 100% compliance rating for print and online advertising. Coca-Cola’s main target market is from the ages of 15-25, but that does not mean that Coca-Cola products are not being sold to people who are above that specific target market.

    According to Ad Week, if you look at any of Coca-Cola’s current “Enjoy” campaign, there will be two spots that are directly targeted towards teenagers. Diet Coke and Coke Zero also have a certain target market. According to Ad Week, these two brands have two distinct target markets: Coke Zero consumers tend to be younger males, from the ages of 15-19, while at the same time, Diet Coke is targeting the ‘next generation’ consumer ages 20-29.

    Coca-Cola’s Current Media

    Mix According to Overt Collusion, Coca-Cola uses a pulsating marketing strategy and the advertisements that Coca-Cola airs are normally in the months of November and December, most notably for the holiday season. During the summer months of June, July and August, when temperatures are at their highest, advertisements run more heavily, to show consumers how a Coca-Cola beverage can quickly quench their thirst.

    Television – Coca-Cola’s current television advertising campaign is called “Open Happiness. According to Coca-Cola’s corporate website, the Emmy nominated Mini-series, “The Happiness Factory”, created in 2009, has been an excellent illustration of The Coca-Cola Company and its desire to make people around the world happy. Its purpose of the six and a half minute Mini-series is to demonstrate how to stay active, mend a broken heart, and see the glass half full. Coca-Cola has a budget of $180 million, allowing them to advertise at any time of day on any television station. Television dominates their media mix with nearly 97% of their advertising space.

    Print – The Coca-Cola Company has been a leader in innovative advertisements in all of the different channels. Recently, Coca-Cola released a magazine print ad called “Amplify the Party. ” According to Joe Berkowitz, in the latest issue of Capricho Magazine, there’s an advertisement for Coca-Cola. FM, celebrating the South American radio venture’s one-year anniversary.

    Created by JWT Brazil, this particular advertisement is a bit unusual, in that it is serves as a functional amplifier. This is one of the more innovative print advertisements that any company has ever put into action.

    Alternative Media – One of the best ways that Coca-Cola markets and advertises is through the use of alternative media. Some examples of this are: combining Coca-Cola and popcorn at Carmike Cinemas to communicate with the moviegoers sense of hearing and sight. One of the other forms of alternative media is the use of social media.

    Social media has been a growing phenomenon since the invention of Facebook, and it will continue to grow. Coca-Cola has over 52 million ‘likes’ on Facebook and counting. Coca-Cola’s Facebook page started in an odd way. According to the USA Today, once the page surpassed one million fans, Facebook informed Coke that the page violated its rules and needed to be run by the actual company, not its fans. Coca-Cola has also been successful on other social media sites as well, with over 400,000 followers on Twitter and more than 33. 5 million view on YouTube.


    Tools & Strategies Coca-Cola is one of the most effective companies in the world when it comes to communicating with its consumers. There is three dimensions that Coca-Cola does an excellent job in communicating to its audience: sports, occasion based, and community involvement.

    Sports – Coca-Cola has taken huge strides in communicating with sports consumers. Knowing that today’s society is a huge advocate of sporting events, according to Ad Week, Coca-Cola sponsored the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four with its “Coke Countdown to Zero” campaign. The show featured performances by numerous bands and was hosted by “American Idol” host, Ryan Seacrest. The event was promoted via social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter, and was the first concert to be streamed live via Facebook Connect.

    Occasion Based – Coca-Cola has recently vamped up its efforts in communicating with the average shopper. Using an occasion based marketing strategy, Coca-Cola has researched that six out of every ten trips to the grocery store are occasion based with shoppers looking for solutions. According to RetailWire.

    Coke has three different ways for looking at how people shop: trip mission (what is the customer going to the store for), where they shop in the store (dependent upon what the trip mission is), and how they move through the grocery store. The way that Coca-Cola plans to bring solutions to life in the store is by: integrating (the foundation and starting point), implementing (develop synergy with potential marketing partners), and inspiring (inspire the shopper to bring a solution to their needs).

    Community Involvement – What is better than communicating with your customers than to help them? That is what Coca-Cola has been able to do with the help of grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation. According to Corporate, 52 community organizations in 21 countries around the world were awarded a total of $8. 6 million in grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, during the third quarter of 2012.

    The grants will be used to direct resources toward the Foundations priority areas around the world:  $2. 6 million for water stewardship  $625,000 for recycling  $2. 1 million for healthy living  $2. 5 million for education  $755,000 for other local priorities (youth development, HIV/AIDS education & Prevention, etc. ) Coca-Cola has made tremendous strides in lending a hand and communicating with the very consumers that buy and drink Coca-Cola products all around the world.

    Integration of Marketing Communications

    As discussed throughout the semester, marketing, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, social media, and advertising have taken on a whole new meaning over the past few years. By combining the previously listed elements, integrated marketing communications creates a seamless program that consumers will experience to receive a brand’s core message.

    Under the leadership of Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications, Wendy Clark, The Coca-Cola Company has shown remarkable ways of integrating its marketing communications. With a reputation as notable as Coca-Cola’s, Clark and her team have to keep their ideas fresh and innovative, to keep the brand just as great and well received as it has been over the past 125 years. The various types of media used to advertise the Coca-Cola brand in general, and the Coca-Cola drink in particular, play a huge role in the company’s success of integrating marketing communications.

    Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, has been used as a form of advertising for Coca-Cola for more than 100 years. Through magazine advertisements, the company can appeal to certain target markets at a global level. Print advertisements usually run in full color and occupy a whole page. The digital world of advertising and promotions has also been a successful way of reaching consumers of Coca-Cola. Because Internet access is available 24/7, advertisements come in forms of pop-up ads, on-site sponsorships, banners, and various other formats. Coca-Cola’s social media presence is felt heavily throughout the world.

    As previously stated, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page has been a major component of its social media presence. There are also several global forums and websites that are dedicated to consumers and fans of Coca-Cola to tell their stories or express concerns about the company. These elements of advertising and marketing go hand-in-hand with the public relations aspect of Coca-Cola. Public relations is about creating a positive image of a brand and keeping that image positive. Through the campaigns they have created, Coca-Cola fully integrates its consumers into the mix by focusing these campaigns around them.

    The “Happiness Machine,” which will be discussed in section nine, is one of Coca-Cola’s greatest PR efforts.

    Building Relationships

    Brand loyalty is a major factor in marketing a power house brand such as Coca-Cola. Satisfying consumers enough to where they are continually purchasing products from one specific brand can prove to be a challenge in today’s competitive and ever-changing marketplace. Over the years, Coca-Cola has grown into the single-most recognizable brand in the world, largely due to their efforts of creating such strong bonds with consumers all across the globe.

    The Coca-Cola Company has shown to be very successful in proving that consumers have relationships with brands, not products. The relationship that consumers have with Coca-Cola goes much farther than preferring the product to that of its competitors. Brands that are as powerful as Coca-Cola are about representing comfort, safety, and nostalgia. In the beginning of the new millennium and into the economic downfall of 2008, soft drink companies suffered somewhat of a loss. Coca-Cola was looking for a way to keep its solid relationship with consumers, while creating something to look forward to during the negative times.

    By revolving the campaign around the theme of “happiness,” Coca-Cola was able to appeal to consumers universally. To continue building relationships with consumers, Coca-Cola also benefited from trusting and working closely with regional subsidiaries and their local creative partners to achieve the task of giving consumers “happiness” worldwide, while catering to the needs of particular geographies. The company issued very few global guidelines, something that most brands would normally steer clear of, and used smaller, more localized units to achieve the main idea of “happiness. ”

    As the “Open Happiness” campaign continued, Clark’s marketing team was looking for new ways of enhancing the relationship with consumers. With the idea of “happiness” still in mind, Clark and her team took what seemed like a small idea at the time and turned it into one of its most successful campaigns of recent times. In January of 2010, the “Happiness Machine” was conceived as an online video, produced on a very small budget, and released using no paid media. With hopes of continuing to “share the happiness,” Coca-Cola placed a special drink machine in the middle of a college campus.

    Students quickly noticed that this was no ordinary drink machine, as an excessive number of Coca-Cola bottles started coming out of the dispenser, without being paid for. Towards the middle of the video, items other than actual Coca-Cola products started coming out of the machine, like animal-shaped balloons, pizzas, and an oversized sandwich, creating buzz all across the room where the machine was placed. By watching the reactions of the students in the room, Coca-Cola had once again achieved that feeling of “happiness” for almost every person with this innovative idea.

    By using Coca-Cola’s social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the campaign turned into a monster viral hit, with over five million hits to date. After the success of the campaign by using only online mediums, Coca-Cola teamed up with leading marketing research company, Millward Brown, to research the response from consumers and help the company expand its campaign to other media outlets. After examining the online metrics, Millward Brown discovered that the video was in the top one percent of all advertisements that Coca-Cola had ever tested.

    Studies also showed that the number one thing people gathered from Coca-Cola and the “Happiness Machine” was core brand values, all leading back to just how strong the relationship is between them and the consumer. Millward Brown suggested that Coca-Cola shorten the advertisement for greater television effectives, which would also reduce the costs of airtime. The first television advertisement for the “Happiness Machine” aired during the live season finale of “American Idol” in January of 2010, reaching over twenty-five million people.

    With the overwhelming response to the “Happiness Machine,” Coca-Cola continued with the theme of “happiness” throughout the next few years. The company would occasionally place a “Happiness Machine” at a random location, and then post the video to its social media sites. In February of 2012, on Valentine’s Day, a “Happiness Machine” was dropped off at one of the busiest malls in Istanbul. The machine was made just for couples, and the only way they were able to get a product from the machine was if they proved they were an actual couple.

    After each couple expressed different ways of proving they were really together, the “Happiness Machine” gave them both a drink. With the help of a remote control and a video camera, Coca-Cola “shared the happiness” with hundreds of people and brought people even closer with the brand.


    Throughout this paper, we have discussed The Coca-Cola Company’s brand associations, competitors, target markets and market segments, brand positions and relationships, communications strategies, the current media mix, and how the company integrates its marketing communications.

    The Coca-Cola Company has proven to be successful in all of these areas, all while reaching the number one goal of keeping consumers of the brand content and coming back for more. Even through the struggles and economic setbacks of the soft drink industry, The Coca-Cola Company simply used the negativity as an opportunity to show consumers that the products they provide worldwide will continue to bring them happiness, just by popping open an ice cold Coca-Cola.

    Being the single most recognizable brand in the world is a title that most brands will never hold, but The Coca-Cola Company proves that they are completely deserving of such a title by continuing to put the consumer first and “sharing happiness”.

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