According to Forbe’s Most Valuable Brands list, the top five companies are as follows: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, and IBM. Four out of five of these brands deal with technology, while Coca-Cola’s as a company specializes in beverages. At the moment Coca-Cola is officially available in over 200 countries worldwide, with 1.8 billion beverages served daily. So, how did the simple soft drink become the huge global success it is today?
According to the Coca-Cola website, the origins of the Coca-Cola Company date back to Atlanta, Georgia in 1886 when John S. Pemberton created the soft drink to be served at a local pharmacy. The drink rose in popularity and in less than 20 years the drink was sold in every territory of the United Sates. In 1905 bottling operations begin in Canada, Cuba and Panama, marking the beginning of Coca-Cola’s global expansion.
Coca-Cola at the Games
In 1928 Coca-Cola took the opportunity to sell and promote their products at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. This helped open up Coca-Cola to the world and began an 80 plus year association with the games that continues on today. The demand for the drink soared and just after two years of the Olympics, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation is created to handle marketing the brand on an international level.
Outside of Coca-Cola’s first mover advantage in terms of reaching the global market in comparison to other brands like Pepsi; Coca-Cola had the advantage of having a message that is universal. The message of spreading “happiness” and “enjoyment” is one that is acceptable throughout the globe and a timeless one at that. It’s messages like this that help turned Coca-Cola from a simple brand to a lovemark, a brand that “reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without.”
The World Shares a Coke
Shahrzad Warkentin from smartling.com points out that, as a company Coca-Cola knew the importance of tailoring their product to particular markets to make their product more accessible and acceptable. During Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign that was expanded to over 50 countries, each country’s offerings was customized to its local language and social media practices. The company did research to find the most popular names in each location to print on Coke bottles and encouraged the public to promote and share a coke with those around them. This tactic not only increased the company’s brand awareness, but also leads the public to having a greater fondness for the company.
The Final Pop
It becomes apparent that Coke’s success is due to the company being one of the first branded products on the globe to ever expand outside its originating boarders in such an ambitious matter. On top of that the company continues on matching the product and brand to changing and local tastes. As for the rest of Coca-Cola’s success it might just be that we all just want to enjoy some “Happiness” in our day to day lives.
Are there any other factors that played into the success of Coca-Cola as a global brand? Leave a comment and let me know.