What else than the Coca-Cola Company? The king of marketing

Written by: Natyra Dajakaj




Coca-Cola is a brand recognized by 94 percent of the world’s population (Coca-Cola, 2016). The first marketing efforts were implemented in year 1887, with coupons promoting free samples followed up with newspaper advertising. Today, the brand identifies as fun with high consumer engagement (Coca-Cola, 2016). In the mid-2002 with the rise of Web 2.0, the marketing challenges of digitalization came to shift the power of marketers to the power of consumers (Hennig-Thurau, et al., 2013). This is because of increased capabilities for consumer where a user-generated content, known as social media, outperforms traditional marketing (Labrecque, Esche, Mathwick, Noval & Hofacker (2013). This has led to revolutionary consumer behavior whereas inter-activity in social media can change in how consumer perceive a brand. Thus, it is important for companies to meet the demand from today’s technology within the company’s marketing strategy. 

Not so surprisingly, Coca-Cola Company is 3rd ranked in most famous brands in the world by Interbrand (2015). Coca-Cola Company boost its brand awareness by incremental marketing each year. The company is investing in marketing strategies, both traditional and social, and innovating in product campaigns, which gives the company more reach and availability in its social connect with the customers (Forbes, 2016). Coca-Cola Company has a high brand recognition and, therefore, do not have the issue of building brand awareness. However, as explained by Furrier in Forbes (2013): 

“Successful brand marketers like Coca-Cola understand that traditional marketing disciplines must be supplemented with new models rich with content, engagement, conversation, and analytics – the essence of social commerce.” (Furrier, 2013)

However, the question of supplementation of traditional marketing disciplines can be discussed further on. Coca-Cola has an aim in creating a coherent message through different social media channels combining with traditional marketing. The company does indeed uses of several social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Additionally, in combination of campaigns and celebrity endorsement by experiencing and sharing through social media channels. Thus, complementing traditional marketing with social media is what gives the company an edge in more reach, availability, and its social connect with the customer (Forbes, 2016). This can be seen as an advantage because digital interactivity has created new opportunities for the marketer to contribute to the culture of consumers.

What is social media marketing? 

In recent years, social media has been an important tactic in companies’ marketing strategy (Moorman, 2014). Social media is a web-based and mobile technology platform where consumers and communities can interact (Kirtman, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre, 2011). Moreover, the authors explain that “the term social often implies that exchanges between people are crucial” (Kietzmann, et al., 2011, p. 245). Thus, the inter-activity between the company and people are in this regard the roots of social media marketing. Moreover, there are diverse social media platforms, which are important for a company to implement in its marketing strategy because “word of mouth is major part of online consumer interaction within the environment of online communities” (Deighton & Kornfeld, 2009, p. 7). Thus, people communicate about brands, which can affect the image of the brand. According to Henning-Thurau, Hofacker and Bloching (2013) this has impacted companies business models because of the adaption need to the new marketing environment with highly networked consumers. However, although the authors implies that there is a need to co-create brands with consumers in order to increase consumer engagement, this has to simultaneously be balanced with the company’s interests (Labrecque, et al., 2013). 

Has the power of social media marketing ended the era of traditional marketing? 

There are different benefits in traditional advertising marketing and social media marketing (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011). Traditional marketing reaches the mass market and shapes the consumers attitude while simultaneously having the control. In contrary, in social media channels the consumer have the power and, therefore, this can have both positive and negative outcomes. However, there are a lot of benefits of social media marketing such as low costs and inter-activity with consumers by co-creating brands (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011). Furthermore, although social media marketing have rapidly gained share and attention, this has been at the expense of traditional marketing. In result to this, according to Moorman (2014), a CMO survey from 2014 indicates that social media marketing has not been integrated into the companies’ marketing strategy. The results showed that only 3.9 point level integration in a scale from 1-7. Thus, although there is an increasingly spending on social media budget this can be effortlessly without messaging a coherent value proposition to the target group.

 Furthermore, the marketing mix have an aim to communicate a consistent message to consumers. Thus, if companies redefine the key aspects of the marketing mix it can cost the company a positive brand image and loose customer loyalty. Therefore, Armelini and Villaneuvia (2011) explains that the two marketing strategies, traditional and social media, are complementary rather than substitutive. Social media marketing can build awareness but without traditional marketing this can be at the expense of reaching a sufficient point of sales. This is what Coca-Cola are implementing as a general rule by creating communication around an advertisement e.g. a television commercial. For example the company distributed its “Open Happiness” message through a range of social media channels and implemented an own Coca-Cola happiness institute to raise awareness. 

Furthermore, Armelini and Villanueva (2011) argues that companies need to increase brand awareness through different social media channels and that statistics from 2010 by ComScore and Nielsen shows that social networking is used more frequently every month. As mentioned earlier, this is because the era of Web 2.0 and changing consumer behavior. However, the fundamental point made by Kietzmann, et al. (2011) andArmelini and Villanueva (2011) is that the social media marketing also needs to be integrated with other marketing strategies.  

How is Coca Cola Company complementing traditional marketing with social media marketing?

Coca-Cola stands for consumer engagement in order to build long-standing customer loyalty (Coca-Cola, 2016). From the beginning, Coca-Cola had the aim for consumers to identify with the beverage product. The company had coupons, in-store promotion and national TV advertising. However, in order to stay as the king of marketing; Coca-Cola needed to capitalize on the ever-changing landscape of marketing. Therefore, the company has implemented social media principles However, the company is clear and explains that “our messaging and communications in traditional media still apply in the online social media space, including on what you might consider “internal” platforms.”  (Coca-Cola, 2016). Thus, the Company uses different tactics on each channels but maintains a cohesive brand message. For example, when Coca-Cola build central large-scale marketing campaigns, such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup, this was messaged through social media channels. 

Furthermore, this can for example be seen in Coca-Cola’s Facebook page. As one of the most recognizable brand in the world, Coca-Cola has more than 96 million fans in Facebook. Although there is no day-to-day updates about the company’s products, the main idea is to maintain its brand awareness and raising awareness of its ads campaigns and seasonal promotion. Another social media channel used by Coca-Cola, and known for its two-way interaction with its consumer, is Twitter. With more than 3 million twitter followers; Coca-Cola has implement twitter as a customer service base and thus, primarily uses Twitter to respond tweets. Coca-Cola respond to a huge number of mentions every day, which shows the importance of engagement and listening to consumer rather than pushing marketing promotions. Another interesting fact is that Coca-Cola collaborated with Twitter with the launch of the creative use #ShareaCoke. For the first time Twitter build a custom brand emotion for a global advertising company. The #ShareaCoke emoticon set a world’s record with 170,500 mentions globally. This was a principle of Coca to set up for the remainder of 2015 campaigns. 

Furthermore, Coca-Cola is a company that always bring innovative ideas in order to be the king of marketing as it is. Furrier (2013) explains in Forbes that big brands are in need to create a brand experience and as well align themselves with technology companies. In fact, in order to focus on direct engagement with consumers and leverages the power of social, Coca-Cola engaged in partnership with Thismoment, a social software company. By partnering with a social software company, the new generation audience can be reached more effectively by executing large-scale marketing initiative. The Coca-Cola.TV was for example created to reach the social youth market to bring entertaining experience online. 

Thus, social media platforms represent the present and the future of marketing because of the new generaton of technology enthuastics. However, a company can build on the traditional way of marketing to maintain brand awareness in social media channels. In addtion, using social media channels to interact with consumers as Coca-Cola does with Twitter. Relationships with the target customers can be established by offering valuable content and consistent messaging. However, it is also important to be innovative in social media channels as Coca-Cola did with Thismoment. If traditional and social marketing are integrated and nurtured, this makes a very powerful combination. Until then, the crown is yours Coca-Cola.


















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Sielen, A., 2013. Coca-Cola and Thismoment Continue to Break New Social Ground, s.l.: http://www.thismoment.com/content-marketing-blog/coca-cola-and-thismoment-continue-to-break-new-social-ground/.













“alt text”= Coca-Cola-Happiness