The ‘One Brand’ strategy, which brings its four product variants – Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life – under the Coca-Cola master brand instead of being marketed as separate products, was first launched in the UK market back in March.
However Coca-Cola is now expanding the marketing strategy globally after the “successful trial” and will begin to advertise its four main products together under one master brand via the new ‘Taste The Feeling’ messaging.
Here CMO Marcos de Quinto, speaking at an event in Paris today (19 January), explains how the strategic shift to market all its products at the same time will help Coca-Cola boost sales amid growing health concerns about sugary drinks.
Why ‘One Brand’
“One of the reasons we are now shifting our strategy is we want to keep accelerating. So far our strategy has been if we had an ingredient [caffeine or sugar] that we wanted to limit we launched a new brand, with different values. We created a completely different personality. This strategy of creating sub-brands and not variants has created some distortions as to what the main brand is.
“Secondly, creating brands for different people undermines completely what is the fundamental Coca-Cola brand promise: that it’s for everybody. If we are saying Diet Coke is more for sophisticated females then we’re saying the real Coca-Cola is not for everyone because females have a different one. It undermines the brand proposition that has made Coca-Cola big.
“This is the biggest change ever in the story of Coca-Cola – going from having multiple brands to having one brand with multiple variants.”
Being a locally relevant global brand
“This is a more effective and efficient branding strategy. One brand idea and one brand identity. They share common values – positivity, authenticity, inclusiveness – and also share the same brand iconography.
“The success of Coca-Cola is dependent on multiple local countries. If you want to be globally relevant you need to be locally relevant in each and every market.
“Coca-Cola is not the paradigm of a great brand, it’s much more than that. We have a big responsibility to look after this brand. Our Interbrand ranking was number one until 2013, when we dropped to third. But that still shows consistency and it is important to not become complacent.”
Tapping into the sugar debate
“With this new strategy, we want to show that people don’t hate the brand if they try to cut down on Coca-Cola consumption. The only reason people will cut down on drinking Coca-Cola is to try and control their intake of sugar.
“So far, our answer for consumers that love the brand but want to reduce their sugar intake has been to launch completely different brands and take time growing their presence. The big change is to now do something simpler. I’m not going to pull consumers over there, I’m just going to place new products under the umbrella Coca-Cola brand and give customers a choice [to mix things up as they please].
“The consequence is there is only one brand now and only one personality. We don’t have multiple personalities.”
Marcos de Quinto, CMO, The Coca-Cola Company
“The ‘One Brand’ strategy will reinforce our commitment to help control over-consumption of sugar by removing brand barriers to low- and zero-calorie variants.”
Rational vs emotive marketing
“In marketing there has been a lot of controversy in terms of what is the right approach – is it rational marketing or emotional marketing? Rational is characterised with the marketing that we used to do. It is like detergent and based on driving purchasing through rational means so ‘I wash whiter than the others’. Perhaps a lot of companies that followed rational marketing have struggled.
“We will focus focus on the emotion of the brand, focus on the values, the differentiation. However it is still very critical for us to talk about the benefits. We need to both use emotions and also talk about the benefits.
“When you’re a leader of a category, you must lead. If you stop saying you’re refreshing, others like ice tea will start catching volumes from your category. We have to keep calling out the benefits but also maintain our emotions.”