From the early days of its inception, Coca-Cola had to deal with bad customer perceptions. It started with the then most famous ingredient of coke, the cocaine extract.
Coca-Cola didn’t become a global powerhouse overnight, it has seen its time through its fight with Pepsi, the world war, and the emergence of the coke copycats. Its success, however, yields a great study in building a brand to success with different factors at play.
The perception, the brand positioning, and brand loyalty. Coca-Cola, or as it came to be well-known coke, has seen tremendous growth in brand loyalty among its world market becoming the world's biggest Cola company.
Looking back, it’s been over 130 years since Coca-Cola started. The Coca-Cola company learned, built lasting relationships, and found success by becoming America’s world war cola drink for the troops.
But what has all this means for coke’s brand core values. Coca-cola has been consistent with its brand messaging and brilliant campaigns to become a leading brand. They have managed to keep their brand values and messaging intact throughout the years.
Here is why, if you are looking to grow your brand you should take a closer look at the Coca-Cola brand.
1. Be Consistent
As the saying goes, consistency is King. One of the biggest contributors to coke’s success. Here is why these work.
Being consistent creates a lasting impression on consumers. For customers to understand your company, your brand messaging needs to be consistent.
It takes time to achieve this “lasting imprint” on the consumers’ minds. This means if you change your approach to branding, it will have a big effect on your audience.
Coca-Cola kept the same script font in their branding for a long time. But not only that, they took it a step further, their tale red brand color, happy people, and simple taglines like open happiness have seen coke building some of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time.
The idea of enjoying a coke has a state with coca-cola because people share what they enjoy, coke started a share a coke campaign also contributed to its success.
2. Don’t make too big a change
It goes without saying that thorough out its growth coca-cola has a share of its branding mistakes. This however, doesn’t take away a strong brand coke is, it is a part of what defines its strength.
Coke learned from these mistakes. One example is their introduction of New Coke in 1985 in their efforts to take market share away from their rivals. The Coca-Cola Company believed the product will be more relevant to the time, however, it didn’t work.
This “new coke” formula received backlash from loyal coke customers and the classic coke was reintroduced back to the shelves in just 3 months. New coke was discontinued in 2002.
This didn’t go unnoticed by the cola giant, Coke put its attention towards rebuilding its brand using their most popular product.
What can you learn from this? Investing in branding doesn’t always yield results, this is why it’s important to include your customer in your rebranding process.
Your brand is what it is because of what your customers see it to be – the perception you build has to be positive. One would say it’s great that coke tried this early on because had they done it today, the brand would have seen disaster strike.
3. Focus on brand, not your product
Taking into account the amount of revenue growth accumulated by the so-named “strong brands”, it is safe to say branding is at the center of any business growth.
In other words, without a strong brand, your business will easily disappear. It is more important to focus on building your brand than it is your product.
Coke has managed to focus on bringing friends and family together rather than a soda. Their brand messaging had solely focused on promoting friendship and family with a coke than being a better soda drink.
Think about their famous, “enjoy every moment” tagline, it says enjoy than drink a coke soda. What has this done in turn, coke has seen its way into millions of homes because now families believe they can only enjoy a meal with a coke.
When ordering a Big Mac coke is on the side, you want to buy a Nando’s, enjoy it with a coke, and meals at family gatherings are better with coke.
It’s not every company that will be global, but these branding lessons still apply to any brand. A brand should be an experience rather than a product.
This makes it easy when creating marketing campaigns because you will be able to keep your brand consistent throughout.
4. Keep your brand in people’s hearts
How do you stay relevant as a brand? It’s simple, brand for change, be flexible to adapt as a brand.
On a daily, new trends emerge, so it’s important to remain at the top of these marketing trends. One example is the use of social media. Make sure you identify which social channel your brand audience resides.
Coke has excelled on this front, as a brand it has resided in people’s hearts throughout the years. This is because they have kept up with what happening, they always have their own meaning to these emerging trends.
'A brand is a story always being told.' Scott Bedbury