Coca-Cola credits marketing and innovation as it sees global revenue growth

Coca-Cola has credited its increased spend in marketing and innovation as its first quarter results show global growth in its sparkling and still beverage categories, largely driven by its Coca-Cola and Innocent brands.

In its latest financial results released today (22 April) for the first quarter of its financial year, the company reported net revenue growth of 1% due to increased shares in its sparkling and still beverage, tea and water categories.

Global sparkling beverage volume was also up by 1% due to growth in its Coca-Cola brand, Coke Zero, Sprite and Fanta brands, though this was slightly offset by a 6% decline for Diet Coke.

Meanwhile, in Europe organic revenue grew by 5%, with the Coca-Cola trademark up by 1% partly due to the rollout of its Coca-Cola Life variant, according to the company.

It also credited double-digit increases in its Innocent smoothie brand for volume growth in the still beverage category.

On the results, Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s CEO said: “We gained value and volume share in core sparkling and still beverages driven by strong marketing investments and the impact of new product launches in both categories. We continued to leverage innovation to strengthen and diversify our brand portfolio to capitalize on opportunities across our European markets.

He added: “We are pleased with our solid progress on the implementation and execution of our global strategic initiatives. Though we are still in the early stages, we see some initial positive indicators that we have the right strategies in place to accelerate growth.”

The company announced the launch of its “One Brand Strategy” in March, set to roll out in May in the UK, which will put the company’s four cola product variants, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life, underneath the Coca-Cola master brand rather than being marketed as separate brands.

The move will also see the company evolve its “Open Happiness” strapline to “Choose Happiness” in Great Britain in an effort to enable consumers to make informed choices and suggest there is a Coca-Cola to suit every taste by more clearly communicating product differentiation.

Also in March, the company announced a shift towards global marketing concepts with a “digital backbone”, starting with a global campaign to mark 100 years of its ‘contour’ bottle.

The company’s Q4 2014 results, released in February, showed signs of improvement in its sales and volume performance globally, with its decision a year ago to increase media and marketing spend partly credited for improved performance.

Marketing spend grew by high single digits in the last quarter of 2014 and mid single digits in the full financial year, a move in line with the five-point marketing-led plan the company introduced last year in hopes of driving a resurgence in its revenues, following successive quarters of decline in 2013.

In February, Kent said that the company will continue to increase the quality of its media as it sees marketing execution “speed up incremental value”, plans that have already become apparent in the UK.

Last week the company replaced Coca-cola.co.uk with a new multimedia platform, Coca-Cola Journey, which brings to life the company’s newly-launched “One Brand” strategy through a “digital magazine” rather than a traditional website.

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