How Coca-Cola became one of the most successful brands in history

How Coca-Cola became one of the most successful brands in history

The Coca-Cola Company is an American beverage company that started with a single recipe for a carbonated soft drink. One hundred and thirty years later, the company is one of the largest companies in the world delivering hundreds of brands in over 200 countries and territories.

Coca-Cola has an impressive track record of innovation which has helped propel the company to become one of the most successful brands in history. Through skillful advertising efforts, Coca-Cola is widely recognized as a symbol of American culture through its influence on politics, pop culture, and music around the globe.  

Important stats to know about The Coca-Cola Company: 

The history of The Coca-Cola Company

How it all started

The story of The Coca-Cola Company had humble beginnings in the late 1800s, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. John Pemberton, a local pharmacist, had developed a recipe for a sweet syrup that was originally advertised to cure headaches. It was eventually mixed with carbonated water to create a fizzy drink that was served at a soda fountain in Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The first glass of Coca-Cola was served on May 8, 1886. In the first year, Pemberton served approximately nine drinks per day which were sold for 5 cents a glass. 

While the ingredient list today is a highly guarded secret, it is well known that the original version contained extracts from the Coca leaf and Kola nuts for caffeine. The combination of these two ingredients is where the name comes from. Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, felt that spelling the name with double “C’s” would look better in advertising. So, he scripted out the logo which even today displays Mr. Robinson’s unique handwriting. 

Dr. Pemberton didn’t realize the potential of his new product. He took on several partners and sold portions of his business to various owners. Sadly, Dr. Pemberton died just two years after the creation of Coca-Cola. Prior to his death, he sold his remaining interests to an Atlanta businessman, Asa Griggs Candler. Candler knew there was something special about this new product, but little did he know that his $2,300 investment (roughly $67,000 today) would be the start of one of the most powerful brands on the planet. 

Birth of The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company was officially founded by Asa Candler in 1892. It didn’t take long for the Coca-Cola product to quickly spread outside of Georgia and across the nation. By 1895, Coca-Cola was being sold in every state of the union. In 1919, the company was sold to Ernest Woodruff. Woodruff's sons would continue to run the company for many years, transforming the company into a major international brand. The Coca-Cola Company was officially listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1919 under the ticker symbol KO. 

International expansion of The Coca-Cola Company

The first export of Coca-Cola was to Cuba in 1899. It wasn’t until the 1920s, that international expansion of the brand began to take off. During World War II, Coca-Cola’s President, Robert Woodruff, wanted to ensure that US service members stationed all over could have the comforts of home and pledged to transport Coca-Cola to the various bases in the European and Pacific theatres on the company’s dime. This introduction of the Coca-Cola product increased international demand. With people all over the world craving a taste of American culture, Coca-Cola began establishing partnerships with bottling companies and distributors all over the world. Today, the brand operates in more than 200 countries and territories. 

Early competition

In the early years, Coca-Cola had a lot of competition. In fact, the late 1800s and early 1900s was the most active period in the development of new soft drinks. Some of these companies went out of business or were bought out by other larger companies. However, many of these brands are still in existence today as more novelty brands and hold a very small percentage of the market. 

The most prominent competitors to Coca-Cola throughout its history have been Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. They were both created around the same time as Coca-Cola (Pepsi in 1898 and Dr. Pepper in 1885). Over time, these three giants bought up many of the smaller beverage companies. For example, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, Hires Root Beer, and Royal Crown Cola still exist but are now owned by Dr. Pepper. 

Summary

The Coca-Cola beverage was created in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. The recipe was purchased by Asa Griggs Candler and The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. The brand quickly became popular and was sold all over the United States. By the early 20th century, Coca-Cola began a rapid expansion across the globe.

The Coca-Cola system- a global franchise distribution network 

The Coca-Cola Company’s rapid expansion around the world can be attributed to its unique franchise distribution system (known as the Coca-Cola System) that they have operated since 1889. Coca-Cola produces syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers around the world. This helps the company maintain control over its top-secret recipe without the burden of having to run many of the independent bottling facilities. 

The Coca-Cola System is a network of over 900 bottling plants that produce 2 billion servings of Coca-Cola every day. The bottlers each hold contracts that allow them to exclusively operate in a predetermined territory. This reduces the need for the competition from multiple companies that sell the same product. 

coca-cola system infographic

 

These distributors handle all aspects of the production and distribution process including mixing the syrup with carbonated water and sweeteners, placing the finished product in cans or bottles, and distributing Coca-Cola to supermarkets, vending machines, restaurants, and movie theaters. Although Coca-Cola produces the main syrup, the franchise companies also control the soda fountain business in their territory. 

The exception to this model is the North American market where The Coca-Cola Company directly owns most of the bottling and distribution. Outside of the United States, Coca-Cola has continued to encourage the consolidation of the various bottling companies. Over time, Coca-Cola has acquired a percentage of ownership in many of the companies in the Coca-Cola System. 

Top 5 independent bottling partners, representing 40 percent of the Coca-Cola System distribution network:

  • Coca-Cola FEMSA (Latin America)
  • Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, plc (Western Europe, Australia, Pacific, and Indonesia)
  • Coca-Cola HBC AG (Eastern Europe)
  • Arca Continental (Latin America and North America)
  • Swire Beverages (Asia and parts of North America)

Summary

The Coca-Cola Company leverages a network of independently owned and operated bottlers around the world. This has enabled the company to quickly expand without having to invest billions of dollars into building facilities and navigating international rules and regulations unique to each region.

Evolution of the Coca-Cola product

The formula for Coca-Cola has undergone a few changes since its creation. Some of these changes were driven by necessity. Some were an attempt to reduce costs or gain market share. While the brand does not make changes often, some have been better received than others. 

Removal of cocaine

During the late 19th century, there were many Cocoa-based beverages available on the market. At the time, drugs like cocaine and opium were perfectly legal and used quite frequently for medicinal purposes. Since Coca leaves were used to make Coca-Cola, there were small quantities of cocaine that could be found in the drink. 

The public eventually became aware of the addictive properties of these substances, so Coca-Cola was pressured to remove this drug from its list of ingredients. The Coca-Cola Company made steps to gradually phase out sources of cocaine from its production until it was finally eliminated in 1929.

New Coke

On April 23, 1985, The Coca-Cola Company took a huge risk that shocked the world. They announced that they would be changing the formula of their world-famous soft drink. Despite its massive success, the company had been losing ground to one of its main competitors, Pepsi. Pepsi’s success wasn’t just in the United States. They were quickly expanding into markets that were once considered untouchable. At the height of the Cold War, Pepsi became the first Western product to be permitted in the Soviet Union

Based on surveys and taste tests, consumers seemed to prefer the sweeter taste of Pepsi-Cola. So, Coca-Cola set out to rework the formula to improve its ability to compete. According to Coca-Cola’s website, their goal was to “re-energize the Coca-Cola brand and the cola category in its largest market, the United States”. After receiving positive feedback from nearly 200k customers in taste tests, New Coke was released to the market. 

The public’s response to the new version of their product was outrage. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola miscalculated its customer’s bond with the original brand. Massive protests were staged and the company was flooded with thousands of angry phone calls and letters. The backlash was so fierce that it forced the company to revert back to the old formula after only 79 days on the market, branded as Coca-Cola classic. 

This graph demonstrates PepsiCo’s rapid expansion of market share from 1970 to 1990 and subsequent fall.

Coca-cola pepsi market share graph

Source

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

While Coca-Cola has vowed not to make any changes to its original product, the company plans to update the recipe and packaging for their popular zero sugar variation, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. The company has been cautious in its promotion of the new version as to not create a blowback like the 1985 New Coke fiasco. Coca-Cola has reiterated that the new version will not be a major overhaul, rather an “optimization of flavors and existing ingredients”. The rollout is expected to hit the US market by August 2021.

Sweetener changed to high fructose corn syrup

Traditionally, the Coca-Cola recipe called for cane sugar as the primary sweetener. During the 1970s, the United States saw a massive increase in corn production. This forced the prices of corn to drop significantly. In addition, corn was heavily subsidized by the US government. This made sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup more affordable. 

In an attempt to reduce costs, Coca-Cola slowly started substituting cane sugar for high fructose corn syrup during the 1980s. The transition took place over the course of approximately 5 years. 

Today, cane sugar is still used in the production of Coca-Cola in certain regions of the world. The most popular example is Coca-Cola produced in Mexico. This version of Coca-Cola is still made with cane sugar. Some critics argue that “Mexican Coke” has a flavor that is closer to the original formula.

Passover

In 1935, Coca-Cola was certified as kosher after the company replaced the source of glycerin used in production. This was originally derived from beef-tallow but was replaced with a plant-based version. However, with the change of sweetener in the 1980s to high fructose corn syrup, its kosher status was removed. Today, bottlers in markets with large Jewish populations will temporarily substitute high fructose corn syrup during Passover to obtain Kosher certification.

Recipe and flavor variations

Despite the utter failure of New Coke in 1985, The Coca-Cola Company has introduced new flavors over time in addition to Coca-Cola classic. 

Some consumers avoided Coca-Cola classic because of the high sugar or caffeine content. In 1982, the company released a diet version of their product for consumers who were concerned about consuming too much sugar. A caffeine-free version was also introduced a year later. 

The company has also tried different flavor combinations. The first was Coca-Cola Cherry in 1985 which was a huge success and remains popular today. Other flavors included lemon, lime, vanilla, orange, ginger, cinnamon, and coffee. Many of these were attempts to bring local flavors to international markets. 

Summary

Coca-Cola has achieved enormous amounts of growth by tailoring its products to local tastes and demands. They have also been able to reduce production costs by substituting expensive ingredients such as cane sugar for lower-cost alternatives. Not every change has been well received by the public. Coca-Cola infamously changed their original recipe to replace it with “New Coke”. This change faced fierce backlash and forced the company to bring back the original product after only 79 days on the market. 

Coca-Cola's strategic plan for growth

The company has outlined a list of key objectives that they plan to execute in the coming years to spur additional growth. This strategic plan is intended to guide the company in refocusing efforts and being more intentional with its actions.  

Coca-Cola Growth Plan

Focus on developing markets

Coca-Cola has identified that there is huge growth potential in the developing world. Seventy percent of all beverages being consumed in the developed world are commercialized compared to only 30 percent for the developing world. Considering the developing world contains 80 percent of the world's population, growth is expected to be exponentially higher. 

One identified area of opportunity is brand diversification. While Coca-Cola has a strong foothold globally, this is only due to its strong presence in major markets. Outside of sparkling water, Coca-Cola is trailing competitors. The focus will be on gaining momentum in other beverage categories through the experimentation of new products. 

Coca-Cola Long-Term Growth Potential infographic

Brand portfolio optimization

Bigger isn’t always better. The Coca-Cola Company is realizing that its efforts may be spread across too many individual brands. Their goal is to rebalance their portfolio and consolidate products into fewer master brands. They have already reduced this number from approximately 400 to 200. By having fewer master brands, they can better focus their efforts. 

Networked organization

Operating a large corporation comes with challenges. In many cases, there can be inefficiencies and duplicated efforts. Coca-Cola plans to address this by reorganizing its support and operational teams to provide better support and work more effectively. 

Brand building

The company plans to deliver world-class marketing through targeted resource allocation. The goal is to be more intentional with the way advertising and marketing investments are made. 

Innovation

Coca-Cola has a goal to increase the frequency that new or existing consumers drink their products. To do this, the company has set targets to significantly increase innovation by bringing more trial products and projects into the pipeline. The goal is to increase this by 40 percent over 2020. 

Digital transformation

Coca-Cola understands that data is a powerful tool. They are in the process of undergoing a digital transformation to help the company operate more effectively and leverage data to drive decision-making. 

Revenue growth management

With this new data and digital tools available, the company can place a renewed focus on which areas have the most potential for growth. They will focus on understanding which markets, consumers, product lines, and competitors should be addressed.

Summary

The Coca-Cola Company is dedicated to growing the business through a skillfully designed and executed strategic plan. Their long-term goals are to focus on expanding the commercial beverage industry in developing countries. They also plan to optimize their product line by reducing the number of master brands, creating new innovative products, changing their internal operations teams to streamline processes, and better leverage data.

The power of advertising- Coca-Cola becomes a household name

A big part of Coca-Cola’s success over the years has been its focus on innovative marketing and advertising campaigns. In 2020, Coca-Cola was ranked as the 6th most powerful brand in the world. This accomplishment didn’t come overnight. Over the years, Coca-Cola has had to work diligently to evolve and bring fresh, new ideas to marketing and advertising.

Large contributions to advertising 

Even early on, Asa Griggs Candler spent a considerable amount of money on advertising. His original budget for advertising was $11,000 (over $300,000 in today’s money). By 1900, the budget increased ten-fold to $100,000 and again to $1 million by 1910. 

Large advertising budgets are important when a new brand is getting established. As a company grows and becomes well-known, they typically scale back on their advertising budget since most consumers recognize the brand. Coca-Cola, however, has continued to keep the pressure on its competitors. Today, the company spends about 10 percent of its revenue on advertising and marketing. This equates to approximately $4 billion in commercials, print advertising, sponsorships, and other promotional merchandise. 

 

Coca-Cola Ad Spend USD Billions

Data Sources: Statstic & Statista

Focus on the brand and human connection

Much of Coca-Cola’s advertising success comes from the way they present their brand. Instead of focusing on the actual product, they emphasize the feeling and camaraderie of making the brand part of one’s identity. Their advertisements are intended to make people feel good about themselves and want to be a part of the experience. 

Human connection is an important part of the brand message. One great example of this was the “Hilltop” commercial from 1971 that featured people from different cultures singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke”. This showed the Coca-Cola brand as one that was intended to unite people around the world. 

Coke-Hilltop-McCann-NY-2

Celebrity endorsements

Celebrity endorsement is a way to help a brand stand out, especially when targeting specific groups. For example, sports fans will be more likely to purchase a product if their favorite athlete promotes the brand. Over the years, Coca-Cola has been endorsed by numerous high-profile celebrities, athletes, and pop culture icons. 

Hilda Clark, an American model, and actress was the first celebrity to endorse the brand in 1900 and was featured in early advertisements. Since then, Coca-Cola has received endorsements from many big-name celebrities such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Magic Johnson, and Elvis Presley. 

Coca-Cola in pop culture

The Coca-Cola brand has been a prominent part of American culture for decades. Coca-Cola has skillfully attached itself to key historical events, music, movies, and major holidays. 

Coca-Cola and many of its other brands have been featured in numerous films and television programs. For a short time, Coca-Cola even owned Columbia Pictures (from 1982 to 1989) and inserted Coke products into many of its productions.  A few examples include:

  •  The 1933 film King Kong displays a Times Square billboard advertisement in several of the scenes.
  • Coca-Cola products being used in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • The modern TV series Stranger Things which takes place in the 1980s displays and makes reference to New Coke. 

The Coca-Cola Company has also made its way into music across the globe. Elvis Presley promoted Coca-Cola during his last tour in 1977. The UK sensation, The Beatles, made mention of Coca-Cola in a line of their hit song “Come Together”. In addition to lyrical references, the brand has featured musical superstars such as David Bowie, Elton John, and Whitney Houston in Diet Coke commercials. 

The Coca-Cola brand has also cleverly attached itself to popular holidays. Some of its most successful campaigns have been displayed over the Christmas holiday. One of the most iconic campaigns started in 1931 with illustrations of St. Nicholas drinking a Coca-Cola. Many credit Coca-Cola with inspiring the modern-day version of Santa Clause. 

Clever campaigns and promotions

Coca-Cola has been one of the top innovators in the advertising space. On many occasions, they have used never before seen tactics that both surprised and delighted consumers. Creating an additional buzz around their advertising campaigns helps to amplify whom the campaign reaches directly. 

During the 2012 NFL Superbowl, Coca-Cola decided to take a non-traditional approach. The Superbowl is one of the most sought-after advertising opportunities. Each year, approximately 95 million people tune in to watch the championship game. Typically, major brands spend over $5 million for a single 30-second commercial. With the rise of cell phones and other mobile devices, Coca-Cola knew that consumers would be juggling multiple devices during the game. So, they created a family of animated polar bears that would react to the game in real-time on digital media banners and a microsite. The bears would laugh, respond to audience tweets, and make faces. The campaign was a huge success. During the game, over 9 million viewers spent an average of 28 minutes engaging with and watching the polar bears in action. 

In 2011, Coca-Cola decided to take a personalized approach to advertise in Australia with their Share a Coke campaign. They selected 150 of the most popular names and printed them on the side of their bottles along with the message “Share a Coke with…”. The campaign encouraged people to share a bottle of Coke with a friend or tag them in a social media post with the hashtag #shareacoke. The campaign was so successful that it was expanded to over 80 countries and led to Coca-Cola’s first sales growth in over 10 years. 

Collectible memorabilia 

Coca-Cola has created and distributed numerous pieces of branded memorabilia that are highly sought after by collectors including toys, clothing, antique bottles, signs, household items, and old vending machines. The collectible nature of these products has nostalgia of traditional Americana and has further helped to amply the prestige and cultural connection of Coca-Cola to US history. Rare and well-preserved items can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. 

Summary 

The Coca-Cola Company has created one of the most powerful and well-known brands in the world. Over the years, they have embedded themselves as an icon of American culture through music, television, and films. The company spends a significant portion of its annual revenue on advertising efforts including television commercials, social media, and other advertising. 

Growth through mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships- becoming an unstoppable force in the food and beverage industry

While The Coca-Cola Company is known for its main products such as Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, the company owns, produces, and distributes over 500 individual brands worldwide. Some of these brands are a result of new products that they created. Others were obtained through mergers, acquisitions, and special partnerships with other major companies. 

Key mergers and acquisitions

  • 1960 - Coca-Cola acquires Minute Maid, a producer of juices, soft drinks, and other beverages such as the popular Hi-C brand. 
  • 1993 - When Coca-Cola was struggling to gain a foothold in the Indian market, they purchased the popular local brand, Thums Up. Their business now makes up over 40 percent of the cola business in India. 
  • 1995 - Acquisition of Barq’s which produces a line of root beers and cream sodas. 
  • 1999 - Coca-Cola purchased 50 percent of Inca Kola for $200 million and took control of its marketing and bottling operations. 
  • 2001 - Odwalla, a brand of fruit juices, smoothies, and bars was acquired. This company was discontinued in 2020.
  • 2007 - Coca-Cola acquired Fuze Beverage, a producer of teas and fruit drinks that were infused with vitamins and minerals. 
  • 2008 - The company purchased 40 percent of Honest Tea, a popular iced tea producer. The remaining shares were purchased in 2011 giving Coca-Cola full ownership. 
  • 2013 - Coca-Cola purchased the coconut water company ZICO. 
  • 2014 - 16.7 percent of the energy drink manufacturer, Monster Beverage, was sold to Coca-Cola in exchange for a long-term strategic partnership. 
  • 2016 - Coca-Cola purchased a portion of Chi Limited, a major distributor of snacks, food, and beverage products in Nigeria. The remaining shares were acquired in 2019.
  • 2017 - Topo Chico, a Mexican sparkling water brand was acquired by Coca-Cola. 
  • 2018 - Coca-Cola purchased Costa Coffee making it the owner of the second-largest coffeehouse chain in the world after Starbucks Coffee. 
  • 2018 - Organic & Raw Trading Co., the Australian producer of MOJO kombucha was acquired. 

Special partnerships

In addition to owning many brands, The Coca-Cola Company has created many successful strategic partnerships that have allowed Coca-Cola to grow exponentially. 

One of the most famous partnerships is with McDonald’s. When McDonald’s was just getting started in 1955, it needed a beverage distributor. The two companies struck a deal for Mcdonald's to exclusively sell only Coca-Cola products. McDonald’s eventually grew to become the largest restaurant chain (by revenue) and Coca-Cola products are served in nearly 40,000 of their locations around the world. Other notable restaurant chains that carry Coca-Cola products include Burger King, Chili’s, Chipotle, and Domino’s Pizza. 

Coca-cola vs Pepsi restaurant sold at

Source

Coca-Cola has also partnered with numerous venues around the world to sell only Coca-Cola products in their stadiums, theatres, and concert halls. The Coca-Cola Company is a major sponsor of the Olympic Games. In 2017, the company signed a deal with Major League Baseball in which they agreed to drop their competitor Pepsi and only promote Coke products.

Summary

Most of Coca-Cola’s growth has come from strategic mergers and acquisitions of companies all over the world. They have been able to expand into new markets by buying companies that already dominate the specialty or space. The company has also developed strategic partnerships with other large companies to exclusively sell Coca-Cola products.

Controversy, regulatory issues, and criticism 

Despite the company’s overwhelming success, Coca-Cola has faced a lot of criticism throughout its history. There are many opinions related to the impacts that The Coca-Cola Company has on the environment and consumers alike. 

Health concerns

It’s no secret that Coca-Cola is a sugary drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), half of all Americans will drink at least one sugary beverage each day. This massive consumption of sugar is leading to an epidemic of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume no more than 6 tsp of sugar each day. A single 12oz can of Coca-Cola contains nearly twice this amount. 

With Coca-Cola being the leading company in the food and beverage industry, they have received a lot of negative attention directed towards their contribution to this serious problem. 

The company has responded by producing sugar-free or reduced-calorie beverages. They have also expanded their product lines to include healthy alternatives like coconut water. 

Environmental issues

Coca-Cola has been identified as the single producer of plastic waste in the world. Much of this plastic is not discarded properly and ends up in the oceans. This has contributed to the ecological disaster due to single-use plastics. This has captured the attention of environmental protection groups who claim that Coca-Cola isn’t doing enough to work toward a reasonable solution. A report from Greenpeace estimates that the company produces over 100 billion plastic bottles every year with no obvious goals to reduce single-use plastic waste. 

Coca-Cola has made some efforts to reduce its environmental impact. First, they redesigned their bottles to use less plastic (a process called “lightweighting”). While this does reduce the amount of plastic used in production, it does not reduce the number of bottles that end up in landfills or the ocean. They have also introduced their “PlantBottle” which is made from plant-based materials. 

While these are steps in the right direction, most environmental groups question whether these efforts are enough. Coca-Cola appears to be spending large amounts of money lobbying politicians around the world to block legislation that would encourage more environmentally friendly manufacturing. They have also been accused of spending a considerable amount of money on “green marketing” without the efforts to back up their claims. 

Summary

Over the years, The Coca-Cola Company has been the center of controversy due to environmental impact and health concerns due to their products. Coca-Cola has responded by providing low-calorie, sugar-free, and healthy alternatives. They have also worked to reduce their plastic use and seek alternatives as they are the single largest contributor to single-use plastic waste. 

Coca-Cola's social media strategy

The Coca-Cola Company is a social media powerhouse with millions of followers across the globe. The company is very intentional with its use of social media platforms and leverages them to drive brand awareness and interaction with customers. There are several key components that have made Coca-Cola’s social media strategy so successful. 

Positivity  

In 2018, Coca-Cola made a commitment to become the ‘most optimistic brand on social media'. They launched their #RefreshtheFeed campaign in which they completely deleted all of their social media content and started fresh. Consumers embraced this new positive approach and encouraged even more followers who wanted to enjoy the feel-good vibes of their social media posts. 

Leverage consumers to create content

While Coca-Cola’s marketing team creates a lot of content for their online platforms, they have successfully leveraged their millions of followers to create content on behalf of the brand. They have used creative hashtag-based campaigns to encourage consumers to post Coca-Cola themed posts for their friends and family to see. One of the most successful was the #shareacoke campaign which reversed a 10-year stagnant sales record. 

Attachment to social issues

The company has a stringent social media policy to ensure that content aligns with the company’s values. In July of 2020, Coca-Cola decided to join many other major brands in temporarily halting social media posts and advertisements for a minimum of 30 days. This decision came as a result of concerns of growing hate speech and misinformation on social networks. They’ve regularly supported important civil rights and other social issues over the past few decades which helps consumer groups connect with the brand. 

Coca-Cola website

The Coca-Cola Company’s main company website contains various resources for consumers, vendors, and investors. The information included in the website discusses the company’s history, its brands around the world, career opportunities, media center, and investor relations. 

According to SimilarWeb, the site is ranked 10th in the Food & Beverage category and receives about 1.8 million visitors each month. 

YouTube

The Coca-Cola Company’s YouTube channel is a platform that is used to post promotional videos and other advertisements from all over the world. The channel was started in 2006, has 3.6 million subscribers, and has nearly 3.5 billion views. About 8 percent of their website traffic comes from YouTube.

LinkedIn

Coca-Cola’s LinkedIn account has over 6 million followers. The company uses this platform to post company updates for the business community. It is also used to promote job openings and attract top talent from the LinkedIn community. 

Twitter

Twitter is one of Coca-Cola’s most powerful social media accounts. Their Twitter account (@CocaCola) was started in 2009 and has posted nearly 300,000 tweets to its 3.3 million followers. Most of the tweets are short inspirational or funny messages to enhance daily brand awareness or encourage engagement. Coca-Cola’s Twitter account generates 62 percent of the traffic to their website. 

Instagram

Coca-Cola’s Instagram account has 2.8 million followers. The account is mostly used to post promotional stories on the platform. 

Pinterest

Coca-Cola’s Pinterest account is used to post drink and food recipes and promote Coca-Cola products like customizable Coke bottles. Their account has about 30,000 followers and receives over 10 million views each month. 

Facebook

With over 105 million followers, Coca-Cola’s Facebook account is massive. It’s the 5th most-followed account on the social media platform, only behind Facebook itself, Samsung, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real Madrid CF. The site is used to post videos and promotional content in many different languages for their followers. 

Summary

The Coca-Cola Company is dedicated to growing the business through a skillfully designed and executed strategic plan. Their long-term goals are to focus on expanding the commercial beverage industry in developing countries. They also plan to optimize their product line by reducing the number of master brands, creating new innovative products, changing their internal operations teams to streamline processes, and better leverage data.

Final thoughts and key takeaways

Few companies can boast the tremendous success and growth that The Coca-Cola Company has enjoyed for over 135 years. This accomplishment can be attributed to industry-leading advertising, innovation of their products, and delivering a positive brand message.

Recap: growth by the numbers

Year

2020

2006

Revenue

$33.0B

$24.0B

Stock Price

$54.84

$24.13

Employee Count

80,000

71,000

Global Market Share

48.6%

45%

Key takeaways

  • Coca-Cola has leveraged a network of independent bottlers around the globe to aid in rapid expansion. These distributors have territorial rights which help prevent competition and price wars.
  • The Coca-Cola Company has made changes to its main product over the years but learned a very valuable lesson with the introduction of New Coke in 1985. The launch was a disaster and faced a fierce backlash from consumers who demanded the return of the original product.
  • Coca-Cola’s long-term strategic plan includes focusing on the developing world where consumer beverages have a lot of growth potential, optimizing the number of master brands, revamping their operational network, and leveraging technology and data.
  • Coca-Cola’s advertising focuses on creating human connections and making people feel good. They have led the advertising world in cutting-edge approaches to marketing that have never been seen before.
  • Coca-Cola has inserted its brand and products in films and television to become an easily identifiable American icon.
  • Acquisition of other companies has been a major part of Coca-Cola’s expansion efforts giving them the ability to quickly reach into new markets or acquire existing popular products.
  • The Coca-Cola company has been the target of criticism due to its potential negative impact on consumer health and the environment. 

 

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