This case study examines the Coca Cola IMC approach as described in the Cola War blog. Factors considered will include an examination of which components are expended in regards to the integrated approach, the comparative importance of the components, component efficiency, and the overall success of the IMC approach.
Integrated Components Used
The integrated components used by Coca Cola employed a mass media methodology which included television advertising, print media and banner ads. The approach utilized a marketing mix of advertising, direct marketing, as well as Web based interactive and social media marketing and sales promotion.
Coca Cola advertising has historically been among the most prolific in marketing history. The various ad campaigns throughout the company’s one hundred twenty nine year history have often had a major impact on culture and society, including a hit song which received airplay on popular radio stations in 1971. The logo and bottle designs are immediately recognizable throughout the world, and are integral to brand’s image and recognition in the marketplace (Wikipedia, 2015). In the southern U.S. the beverage is so pervasive that all soft drinks, typically referred to variously as soda, pop, or soda pop, are called Coke (McConchie, 2015). Coca Cola has repeatedly been ranked as the number one soft drink in the world as a direct result of their aggressive advertising campaigns, and was even the first soft drink consumed by astronauts in space (Hartlaub, 2015).
Direct marketing efforts by Coca Cola are myriad. The devices operated incorporate vendor company partnerships designed for exclusivity, i.e. restaurants and movie theatres only offer Coke products, eliminating any direct competition. They sponsor sporting events via use of the company, e.g. baseball fields, again offering attendant consumers the brand’s products solely. This allows for one-to-one sales to important clients in especially reserved seating areas. Mobile marketing endeavors send out text messages in an attempt to personalize promotions, and viral marketing exertions rely heavily on word-of-mouth communication from brand loyalists (Wilkin, 2009).
Web based and social media marketing campaigns constitute industry benchmarks. Because the brand is so universally recognized throughout the world, little if any audience building is necessary. Fans number over eighty six million across social media channels engaged by the brand. Differing tactics are provided on individual social networking sites, yet a consistently unified message is upheld. Crowd-sourced content as well as direct engagement are hallmarks of Coca Cola’s social media marketing (Shively, 2014). Web based interactive marketing is focused on design and functionality, relying on banners, video and public relations. New products, online games, and social, cultural and sporting events are the focus of the Coca Cola Website content (Darakeva, 2013). Coca Cola’s commitment to a campaign of audience engagement throughout their online marketing crusades is well recognized.
Sales promotion for Coca Cola is aimed at two strategies, retail and food service. Retail efforts are directed toward company partnerships, direct store delivery and point-of-sale (POS) techniques. Reliance on exclusive company partnerships wherein restaurants only offer Coke products eliminates competition. Direct store delivery is a crucial link in the value chain, and offers mobile advertising with bright red delivery trucks emblazoned with the brand logo. POS displays include brand specific coolers for in-store sales along with vending machines which carry Coke products. Food service activities emphasize Coke products in food pairings, menu optimization, and specialty beverages. Meals comprised of convenience foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, etc., are often supplemented by the suggestion of Coke products for accompaniment. Such foods may be combined with Coca Cola brand drinks for menu optimization, which may include specialty beverages such as Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, and others (CokeSolutions, 2014).
Comparative Importance of the Components
A comparison of the relative importance of the Coca Cola IMC components reveals a marketing communications mix which is iconic. So much of the brand image is immediately recognizable, right down to the bright red and white lettering of the names Coke and Coca Cola. This imagery is carried out globally, and is so established and acclaimed world-wide that even in languages that may not be familiar in local markets are readily known by consumers (Wikipedia, 2015). Multi-lingual ad use was in fact the case during the recent airing of the NFL Super Bowl Championship, in which the use of English, Spanish, Tagalog, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres, and Senegalese-French languages were incorporated along with the song America the Beautiful (Indian Country Today Media Network, 2015).
The Coca Cola IMC messaging has established a longing for the product that supersedes the desire for that typically associated with a drink to quench one’s thirst (Dudovskiy, 2015). The rank and positioning of the elements used as part of the integrated marketing approach cannot therefore be overstated. The resultant international presence of Coca Cola is a direct outgrowth of the marriage of the advertising, direct marketing, as well as Web based interactive and social media marketing and sales promotion efforts that have been included over the years in their IMC endeavors. Coca Cola has established itself as a player on the large-scale stage as a direct outcome secondary to the comparative importance of the components of the integrated marketing communications mix.
The efficiency of the combined IMC elements has proven to be quite lucrative. Revenue has recently been listed at forty six billion USD, with a profit margin of 15.43% and a book value per share of six dollars and ninety five cents USD (Yahoo! Finance, 2015). Annual sales in excess of forty six billion USD and a ranking of #4 of the World’s Most Valuable Brands place Coca Cola squarely on the global market. The company, which was incorporated on September 5, 1919, now carries over five hundred different beverages which are marketed on six continents (Forbes, 2014).
he competence of the combined components used in the Coca Cola integrated marketing communications exemplifies the excellence that can be achieved by a single brand. The achievement can further be evaluated by examination of media metrics such as advertising equivalency, the sum total audience which has been attained through particular media outlets, statistical figures of journalists hosted, number of articles published etc. In terms of market share benchmarks, Coca Cola is promoting and selling its products in over two hundred countries, and employs almost one hundred forty thousand associates, lending credence to the consideration of the company as a market leader in the majority of these marketplaces. Assessment of unique Website visitors, length of visit, search engine results (both free and paid) numbering in the billions on both Google and Bing and others offer insight to the combined component efficacy (Dudovskiy, 2015).
Overall Success of the IMC Approach
An effective integrated marketing communications approach that is deployed and maintained is an essential modern business requirement (Perner, 2008). In terms of successful outcome, Coca Cola’s IMC approach has set a standard that offers a point of reference of desired triumph that is enviable across the industrial landscape. Record-setting sales and revenues, brand visibility and recognition and positioning on the global market are indicative of the Herculean levels of accomplishment achieved by the company. Coca Cola products are consumed world-wide as a direct result of retail and in-store marketing efforts which are meticulously detailed. In the almost one hundred thirty years of business practice in the soft drink trade, Coke has risen to the top of the industrial food chain.
The elements which are expended in regards to the integrated approach, the comparative importance of the components, component efficiency, and the overall success of the IMC approach have combined to create a sensation that customers have warmly embraced. As long as this integrated marketing communications strategy is utilized there is no doubt that Coca Cola will continue to be a market leader that is universally recognized.
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