First brewed in 1886, Coca Cola (Coke) has become the world’s best-selling soft drink. Did you know that the word “Coke” is the second most recognised word after “hello”? This successful company uses intelligent marketing to overcome most of its competitors through clever segmentation, targeting and positioning strategies. Whilst most consumers drink Coke because they enjoy the taste, Coke is also known as an unhealthy drink with many other different uses for which it was not designed for, such as a household cleaner, insect repellent and paint stripper just to name a few!
So how does it continue to have such a strong presence in the global market?
Segmentation allows brands to define the most suitable product for a different variety of customers. Coca Cola does not target a specific segment however it modifies its marketing strategy by developing new products such as Sprite, Diet Coke, Iced Tea, and Coke Zero etc. It targets numerous segments and designs separate offers for each of them in order to reach as many consumers as possible. It develops a marketing combination for each of the segments which is shown by the 400 different products in its line with a total of 3,500 products in their product mix.
Coca Cola does not target specific age groups or gender but focuses on the whole population, and has drinks that target different age groups, ethnic groups, gender and lifestyles. It is interesting to note that even though they do not directly target children under 12, they successfully reach this age group through partnerships with entities such as McDonald’s.
“We are a global business that operates on a local scale, in every community where we do business. We are able to create global reach with local focus because of the strength of the Coca-Cola system” http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/the-coca-cola-system
Making Coca Cola available and accessible to everyone
Coke believes that every person is a target and potential consumer. They do not target a particular lifestyle or occupation, however those who live a busy lifestyle, youth, students and family oriented people are thought to be the most important part of Coke’s consumers. Remember the Coke “Share a Coke” campaign, where they came up with personalised names on Coke cans and bottles? This was one of Coke’s most successful marketing campaigns and once again demonstrates how they do not target any demographic specifically, but anyone with a name!
This commercial is another example of how Coke targets the general market.
How does it position itself?
The Company faces an important question….does it have to keep the same positioning or adapt according to the 200 countries where the brand sells its products? The company has kept its core product Coke, however it adapts the offering to local needs. They use strategic positioning in order to have the same image all around the world. This perception of the brand makes the purchasing decision more automatic. Coca Cola has been successful by using marketing campaigns which are related to having fun and being happy so consumers associate this brand with these emotions.
An example of how Coke play on these emotions to fuel the desire to partner, associate or consume Coke.
The below video highlights a clever campaign targeting workers stationed away from home in Dubai where it costs a lot of money to make calls to their families. Coke has given the impression that they are allowing people to make free calls to their families using Coke bottle caps. But what they have actually done is encouraged people to spend money buying Coke under the guise of being able to make a free phone call with the lid. This demonstrates how Coke has cleverly targeted this specific segment and tried to achieve their objective by targeting the sensitive emotional state of these people.
Of course having a great tasting drink that lots of people enjoy worldwide doesn’t hurt either! They tried changing the flavour of Coke, however switched back to the original formula because of the poor response to the “new” Coke.
Without a doubt, Coca Cola is a very successful brand. But has Coke achieved its highest level of success yet? Can we think of any improvements around Coke’s STP? Has Coke been successful in all their strategies? We open this discussion with the intention of finding some answers to these questions…..what are your thoughts?
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