Coke’s Brand Equity
One of the most important factors for all firms is protecting and improving their brand image. This is because the favorability of a company and the products / services they are selling will have an impact on sales. As a result, the most successful corporations will harness this strategy in order to effectively reach out to large demographic of customers.
In the case of Coca Cola, they have been utilizing this approach since 1919. At the heart of their basic philosophy, is to always create a favorable brand image in minds of consumers. To achieve these objectives, the company’s strategy has always been focused on promoting itself to customers. To fully understand how this is achieved requires looking at: the desired outcomes of their marketing communications program, how the different brands were able to remain strong, the role that image plays in advertising and how they compare with a competitor. Together, these different elements will show how Coke is able to build upon these favorable perceptions consistently. (“Coca Cola Marketing Mix,” 2012)
The company’s desired outcomes of their marketing communications program
The primary focus of Coke’s marketing communication program is to create a favorable image of the firm and the products they are selling. This means that they will show everyone having fun (using the merchandise). At the same time, the firm will focus on supporting different programs that are beneficial to community and other stakeholders. This helps them to create positive perceptions about the entire organization. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
A good example of this can be seen with the company’s continuing support of the Olympics and amateur athletics. This has created a positive image in the minds of consumers about the product and the actions of the company. When this happens, more people will buy any one of the firm’s brands based on these perceptions. In this case, Coke is using their support of the U.S. Olympic team to create patriotic feelings that will fuel increased sales. Once this takes place, is when there is a transformation in how the public and various stakeholders will see the company. This is a point that these positive emotions will lead to people consuming and using more of Coke’s products. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
How these brands have remained strong and viable over the long-term regarding the concepts of brand image and brand equity
The way that Coke has been able to keep their image strong, is to support programs that will maintain and improve upon these perceptions inside a particular region. This was started from the very begging with marketing efforts that were designed to show the product as more refreshing. This was accomplished by associating Coke with images such as: Norman Rockwell paintings, using popular music groups in advertisements and connecting the product with fun. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
Moreover, executives were able to understand what customers wanted and to quickly respond to these issues. In some cases, this meant the company switching from and back to its original formula in the 1980s. While at other times, this required the firm acquiring and creating new brands that will address these needs. The long-term impact is that this helped Coke to maintain this image and build upon it. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
As time went by, this approach was used to instill that sense of patriotism and pride. A recent example of this occurred after the September 11th terrorist attacks. In this case, the company had an ad showing a Coke truck in the back drop of the remains of the World Trade Center. This is creating feelings that the firm has been at the crossroads of historical and national events. When this happens, these favorable perceptions are built upon (which helps sales to remain consistent). (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
The role brand image plays in the advertising of a particular company’s product or service
The brand image is helping Coke to continually show a positive persona of the firm and its products. Evidence of this can be seen with the use of Coke related materials that are distributed to the general public. In most cases, images such as: the company name on coolers, soft drink glasses and pitchers have become an icon of elegance / style. At the same time, consumers will associate the brand with various events (i.e. picnics and family gatherings). This is improving upon the positive feelings of the firm from its commercials and advertisements. The only difference is that this is accomplished indirectly (by having their name appear on different products). Over the course of time, this helps to make advertising efforts more effective through utilizing this as foundation to build off of. Once this takes place, is when there is a transformation in the attitudes of customers. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
This is illustrating how Coke is focused on using everyday events and word of mouth to build upon their brand image. The way that this takes place, is with the company having their name on a wide variety of products. This gives everyone favorable views of the firm. When this happens, executives can use these ideas to improve upon this image through: their marketing campaigns and public interest programs. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
How this image compares to a competitor’s image in the same industry
In comparison to Pepsi, the approach that Coke is using has allowed them to remain the number one soft drink manufacturer. This is because the traditions that Coke established through: various paintings, having their name on different products and traditional / cutting edge advertisements have made the company an American icon. Over the course of time, this has given the firm an advantage in comparison with Pepsi. These favorable views; will result in customers automatically choosing their brand over the all of the others. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
A good example of this can be seen with Coca Cola’s secret formula. This is what has helped the company to create a unique product that addresses the needs of consumers. However, other firms have tried to use similar approaches with their products. In the case of Pepsi, they began offering lighter sodas (in comparison with traditional Coke). This was designed to promote them’ as better tasting and healthier. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
However, the problem is that Pepsi’s efforts will never have the same kind of traditional tastes that customers enjoy. This is because Coke was able to build off of their reputation based on being one of the top soft drink manufacturers (with a series of unique products). To rival these efforts, Pepsi has to show that they have similar types of traditions. The problem is that most people do not make these same kinds of connections. Instead, they see Pepsi as more of a secondary producer with different tasting products (which are a competitor). Over the course of time, this has allowed Coke to use their history and traditions to create a unique brand image that stands out in minds of customers. Once this occurs, is when they will be more inclined to buy something that is manufactured by Coca Cola in comparison with other firms. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
These different areas are showing how Coke was able to use their favorable image to increase sales. The way that this takes place, is through the firm using their past traditions to highlight how they are addressing the customer’s needs. This is accomplished through using these ideas to create a sense of loyalty and happiness in the minds of consumers. When this happens, the firm will have a distinct advantage in being able to effectively reach out a large demographic (based upon these views). Once the company begins advertising other products, is the point that they are able to build upon these ideas. This is when there will be a change in customer views, with increasing loyalty to the brand. (Bell, 2004, pp. 24 — 43)
Clearly, Coke was able to build upon their favorable brand image by showing how the firm is an American icon. This is accomplished by taking these ideas and reminding people of some favorable events where Coke products were used (such as: at a picnic with a cooler saying the company’s name). What makes the firm so successful is they are able to tap into these ideas and build upon these positive perceptions.
This is achieved through showing how the company is addressing the needs of customers. At the same time, they are demonstrating that their products have the same great taste as in the past. Once this is augmented with feelings of joy and happiness, consumers will have a more favorable view of the company and its products. When this happens, customers are more inclined to purchases merchandise that is manufactured by Coke. This is a distinct advantage that Coca Cola is utilizing to show how they are different in comparison with firms such as Pepsi. As a result, one could argue that these perceptions are what have helped the company to remain the number one soft drink manufacturer in the world.
Coca Cola Marketing Mix. (2012). Hub Pages. Retrieved from: http://bilaras.hubpages.com/hub/Coca-Cola-0
Bell, L. (2004). The Story of Coca Cola. Mankato, MN: A+