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Case Code: MKTG393
Case Length: 16 Pages 
Period: 2016-2018   
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : The Coca-Cola Company
Industry :Beverages
Countries : USA, UK
Themes: Consumer Behavior/Brand Positioning/ Brand Management/Brand Relationship/Rational Marketing/Perception
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

Coca-Cola`s Shift to a `One Brand` Strategy: Can it Change Consumers` Perception?

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The “Open Happiness” campaign was the result of a six-month initiative known as “Project Next” undertaken to improve the efficiency of Coca-Cola’s marketing strategies. The campaign whose theme was “Open, share and enjoy a bottle of Coke” was used as a primary marketing platform in nearly 200 countries globally where Coke was sold. The campaign included point of sale, promotions, outdoor and print advertising, digital and music components. Coke was the central theme of all commercials and the campaign was tweaked for different markets depending on local preferences...

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Since the start of the millennium, Coca-Cola and other soda drinks had found themselves becoming increasingly unpopular with people pointing to them as one of the causes of the causes of the rising obesity rates in the UK and the US. The rising health concerns among consumers had led to a continuous decline in soda consumption in some key global markets (See Exhibit II).The sales volume of CSDs in the US fell by 0.9% between 2013 and 2014, with TCC losing 1.1% and PepsiCo 1.4%. Coke reported a mere 0.1% volume growth in 2014, while Diet Coke posted a steep 6.6% drop in sales volume, according to data from Beverage Digest. According to company filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, TCC’s sales volume – Coke and its variants – fell almost 5% between 2014 and 2016 in the US and were down 1% worldwide ..


Under the ‘One Brand’ strategy, TCC launched a new global campaign called “Taste the Feeling”. The aim of the campaign was to put the product at the center of every ad as Coke wanted to gain more customers in the struggling soda category. The campaign was positioned as a shift from the brand per se toward the product, as Marcus had noticed over a period of time that the brand had just been talking about “happiness” and forgetting that it was a drink that tasted good. “We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become. The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are... We’re going from ‘Open Happiness’ to exploring the role Coca-Cola plays in happiness,” he said..


Furthering its ‘One Brand’ global marketing strategy, in April 2016, TCC overhauled its packaging. According to James Sommerville, Global VP of Design, the Coke brand was diluted in store and on shelf with different designs across Coke Zero, Coke Life, and Diet Coke. He said that during the design process, the team saw the Red Disc as the one design element that could unite the trademark visually. They felt that the unified red look would actually help people stay in the Coca-Cola franchise, resulting in less switching between brands...


Some analysts felt that the new campaign could succeed in achieving TCC’s objective as it was able to extend the reach of Coca-Cola to wider markets without creating different personalities for its variants, which ensured that the company would be able to adapt more quickly to changing consumer needs. According to Joseph Anthony, founder and CEO of branding firm Hero Group..


According to the company, early data on the ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign showed “green shoots” having led to a growth in retail sales as well a rise in the profile of the Coca-Cola brand. In North America, Coca-Cola’s net revenues grew 8% for the fourth quarter 2016 and 4% for the year, outperforming total retail value growth for both the North America nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverage industry and US consumer packaged goods companies. Even in the UK, initial figures suggested ..


Some analysts felt that setting a big brand like Coke on a new marketing course was a massive task, particularly at a time when the brand was battling declining soda consumption amid growing health concerns over sugar. An increasing number of customers were moving away from sugary beverages in favor of healthier options such as ready-to-drink fruit juices and bottled water (See Exhibit IX). According to Nathan Edwards, Global Sales Executive, Innovation Enterprise, a business media company, ..


Quincey, who took over the reins of the company in May 2017, introduced a new business strategy called ‘Coke’s Way Forward’ in February 2017. According to him, the company’s new business strategy would focus on Choice, Convenience, and the Consumer. As part of the new strategy the company planned to build a portfolio of “consumer-centric brands” including low and no-sugar options across a wide array of categories...


Exhibit I: Coca-Cola Slogans
Exhibit II: US CSD Market (billion gallons)
Exhibit III: Coca-Cola’s Sparkling Beverages Sales
Exhibit IV:Select “Taste the Feeling” Television Ads
Exhibit V: “Taste the Feeling” Out-of-Home Ads
Exhibit VI: Coca-Cola Redesign
Exhibit VII: TCC: Selected Financial Data
Exhibit VIII: TCC’s Quarterly Revenue Growth
Exhibit IX: US Beverage per Capita Consumption 2003-2018e1
Exhibit X: Global Brands: The Top 15
Exhibit XI: Brand Value of Coca-Cola (2007-2017)