Mastering the art of remains relevant while remaining true to your brand story sounds like magic, yet Coca-Cola manages to do it year after year and especially at Christmas time.
In a mature category with a strong competitors, negligible product differences and countervailing trends, Coke continues to grow on the strength of its brand and its marketing. And in the midst of the festive season’s commercial madness, it is one of the few brands that actually brighten the holiday!
Traditionally the season of awkward family photos and even more embarrassing holiday attire. In 2013 Coca-Cola and Droga5 wholeheartedly embraced the year-end festivities with a super fun, and highly engaging, effort that allowed customers to create their own ugly Christmas jumper, with the "Coke Zero Sweater Generator.” For two weeks, consumers had the opportunity to create the ultimate in tacky winter wear on the site. They have an array of colours, patterns and graphics to choose from.
Participants were encouraged to get the word out because the 100 sweaters with the most votes, come Dec. 1, were handcrafted and sent to their creators in time for the holiday.
We can't wait to see what they do this festive season.
What can we learn from Coke?
1. Become an asset manager: No brand is more “branded” than Coke. It has built a robust portfolio of assets with its colour red, its bottle shape, its logotype and they are managed with careful deliberation, building their value over time.
2. Commit to consistency: It takes time and repetition to forge a lasting imprint in consumers’ consciousness, and Coke maintains long-term dedication to its campaigns (like “Have a Coke and a Smile”), marketing platforms (like American Idol) and identity elements.
3. Refresh your presentation: Having a long history and consistent assets doesn’t mean you have to be stale. To the contrary, Coke continually refreshes the way it presents itself – reinterpreting its assets in unique can designs, innovating new delivery systems, and delighting us with inspired displays of familiar elements.
4. Strive to out-size: Among all the business drivers, “share of presence” is still paramount, and Coke shows up big. The company’s “arm’s length away” strategy isn’t just about distribution; it’s about being ubiquitous for all market segments, in every occasion, at every touch-point. And wherever Coke is present, it’s physically large! Although few brands have the footprint and budget that Coke has, maximising your brand presence is always a profitable pursuit.
5. Become a creative content machine: The digital world needs fuel, and Coke has become an engine for share-worthy content like the “Happiness Machine”. Coke shows us that generating earned and owned media isn’t an episodic endeavour; it’s a perpetual effort.
6. Surf the culture and carve some waves: Coke has remained relevant for years by staying topical. It finds the pop cultural waves and injects its point of view.