15 Jul Coca Cola’s Branding Secrets You Can Apply to Your Own Marketing Strategy
The Coca Cola Company is an expert at creating brands audiences can vibe with and there’s a lot we can learn from this branding powerhouse.
Not only do they have the iconic Coca Cola still making waves in the beverage market with its newest flavour, Starlight, which is said to taste like “space candy”, their extensive portfolio includes famous drinks like Sprite, Fanta, Heaven & Earth—even A&W’s Root Beer.
Not only is Coca Cola’s brand presence phenomenal, just twenty brands under them are worth more than a billion dollars. In 2021 alone, their annual revenue was more than 38 billion US dollars.
In comparison, the wittily named soft drinks, Anything and Whatever by Out of the Box Pte Ltd, fizzled out almost as soon as they appeared on the shelves. The concept of Anything and Whatever is novel—its creators were inspired by how their friends always answered the question, “What do you want to drink?’ with “anything lorh” or “whatever lah”.
Yet the novelty of these names wore out quickly and the company stopped selling these drinks.
What is Coca Cola’s secret?
How are they able to do it right every time?
Secret #1: Branding should be multi-sensory
When you think about Coca Cola, the first thing that comes to mind is the colours red and white. People recognise Coca Cola immediately because of how heavily associated these two colours are with the brand.
Perhaps you also hear the “phhhsst” sound of a can being open when you think about Coke because that’s the sound that’s played in every Coca Cola advertisement.
Most brands focus their efforts on coming up with stunning or unusual visuals in their marketing campaigns but incorporating the other senses when creating a brand is probably the quickest way to reinforce neural connections around a brand.
Sounds, smells and textures contribute to creating vivid memory pictures—think new car smells, sleek dusty-silver screens, the crunch of crispy chicken. Does a brand come to mind when you think about each of these?
That’s the power of multi-sensory branding.
Secret #2: Constancy
The reason multi-sensory branding is so difficult these days could be because there are now so many different platforms for you to advertise your brand on.
Each platform reaches out to a slightly different audience—which makes you think you need to tailor your content on different platforms to suit the different types of people that use those platforms.
While this is true, branding necessitates that your “voice” on each platform is consistent enough that consumers who use multiple platforms can recognise your brand immediately.
Take Coca Cola for instance.
You cross the street and see a Coke ad playing. You know it’s a Coke ad because of the colours, sounds and drinking motions depicted.
You look up at the bus stop across the road and see a poster with the same colours and a model drinking a fizzy Coke. On the radio inside your car, you hear the name “Coca Cola” and hear sounds that suggest someone is drinking a fizzy drink.
The advertisements are different, but its multi-sensory branding remains the same. Most importantly, when people buy a Coke and open it, the same sound can be heard and a reinforced connection is made between the ad and the product.
Consumers of Coca Cola are thus able to associate these colours, motions and sounds with a Coke every single time.
So when you’re formulating your brand’s identity, remember to include auditory, olfactory and motion brand guidelines so that your multi-sensory branding remains consistent on every platform and in every campaign.
Secret #3: Don’t be afraid to diversify
Notice that Coca Cola has not stuck to just producing its iconic carbonated, sugary Coke all these years. They have been diversifying all this while, producing fruit drinks, teas, etc.
And when the world was most concerned about the impact of high-fructose drinks, they began to future-proof themselves by producing healthier options like sparkling waters and sugarless teas.
Coca Cola was traditionally advertised to everyone, however, Coke’s target audience has changed over time. With an increasing number of people valuing health and well-being over the iconic sugary Coke, they listened to their customers and adapted their branding strategies accordingly.
Think of the rise in Coke Light’s popularity, then Coke Zero.
The Coca Cola Company didn’t stop there, but began to produce many other healthier drink options under the same brand to cater to the changing needs of their audience.
Not only did this not result in the spiralling fall in Coke’s popularity, the company’s diversified popularity brought it even more acclaim and revenue.
So do not be afraid of changing your brand’s tactics or direction (note that this is different from rebranding) in order to remain relevant to your audience, because it is your consumers—and not your product—that will cause your brand to grow.
Need help developing your own successful multi-sensory brand? Check out our branding services here.