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Marketing Communication – Coca Cola

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In this assignment I have chosen to look at the marketing campaign of the Coca – Cola Company. To this I will look at Kotlers “8 steps in developing effective communications” framework, and relate how these 8 steps are important to any campaign and I will evaluate how the Coca – Cola Company have tackled each step.

Identifying the target audience

For any marketing plan there must be a clear target audience, as the Coca – Cola Company is a worldwide company, with a wide range of products, the target audience considers a large scale of people.

To identify the target audience, firstly we must look at the product mix (please see appendix 1); as Coca – Cola has such a wide range of products it seems that they are targeting a wide range of customers, ages, genders and social and cultural backgrounds.

This can be represented by its main products;

Coke; The target market for coke, judging by its adverts etc. is most likely leaning towards the younger generations, from the teens to 30+, it can be argued that it is also targeting families as it has become widely known as a household name.

Diet Coke; The target market for the diet coke is likely to have a leaning towards females thus again is suggested by it latest adverts such as the Duffy “I got to be me” ad, in which the famous singer Duffy must have a can of diet coke before she performs, and rides on her bike to the nearest supermarket, whilst singing “I got to be me.”

In addition to this the diet coke website http://www.dietcoke.com/ talks about issues such as “women’s heart health”

Coke Zero; It was considered that the Diet coke image was to feminine and not attracting male customers therefore in 2005 the Coca – Cola company introduced Coke Zero – this is also demonstrated by the website http://www.cocacolazero.com/index.jsp#/home/ in which the main focus is race car driving, including a game in which you “help Elliot Sadler cross the finish line without spilling his Coke Zero.

The target audience can affect “the communicator’s decisions on what will be said, how it will be said, when it will be said, and who will say it”

It is also important to, when looking at the target audience, to determine the desired response, in this case the Coca – Cola Company will be looking to keep up the brand image as well as, ultimately have a purchase.

In line with the theory of buyer readiness behaviour, in which it is argued that consumers go through a process of awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction and purchase, Coca – Cola has managed to build up a well known product mix, in which many consumers prefer, therefore fulfilling the first 4 stages for most consumers. Therefore, it is likely that there communication strategy is based upon reminding the consumers of the product, and creating a desire for it. Therefore repeat conviction and purchase.

Design Message

Coca – Cola has been a well known brand name for many years now and has been well known also for its advertising campaigns, for example every year, around Christmas, Coca – Cola is expected to show new adverts containing Polar bears drinking the original Coca – Cola glass bottle. This advert in itself has gives a positive well known image to the company’s audience every year.

Therefore at this stage, for every new campaign, the company will look how designing its message will keep the customers attention. For example through the use of AIDA; attract attention, create an interest, develop a desire and prompt action.

Furthermore aspects such as the message content, the structure and the message format need to be addressed in order to put together the message

Message content; to communicate to the target audience there must be an element of appeal within in the communication. This can be through rational, emotional and moral appeals. In the case of Coca – Cola they have chosen to look at the more emotional appeal, to stir up positive thoughts about the product. To do this they have used a series of adverts containing a happiness factory in which they have designed a few happiness factory cartoon characters who, once you pay at a Coca – Cola vending machine, start to work in order to send the customer the bottle of coke. (Please see appendix 2) This is linked in with the end line; “The coke side of life.” Therefore the company are suggesting that if you buy their product, you will be happy.

Although this approach is very useful in attract acting the attention of the buyer it can also can detract from the product. However Coca – Cola’s communication has been able to “”Break through the clutter” – to attract the attention of consumers but still deliver the intended message.”

Message structure; The Coca – Cola company has decided that the best message structure is to only mention the products strengths through communication through its adverts and also through its website discussions on today’s topics.

Message format; To attract attention a lot of the Coca – Cola communication is shown by bright bold colours, for example the Happiness Factory add is eye catching with the colours and music. This is also the same with the posters which the company uses, to communicate the “Coke side of life” theme they have collected a huge amount of designs to represent the product in which the company is holding an expedition at the Art Gallery on South Bank London. All of these posters are big, bold, bright and eye catching. In addition the company have allowed the public to submit their Cola side of life creations.

Select Channels

As the Coca – Cola Company has such a wide target audience it would likely chose to use both personal and non – personal communication channels

The Coca – Cola Company uses personal communication channels over the internet – in the way that consumers are able to ask questions about matters such as health issues and the environment and the company will respond. However as the company has such a vast consumer base mostly non – personal communications are used where the communications are directed to more than one person which includes use of media, sales promotions, events and experiences and PR.

The media used by the company is a mixture of print media (newspapers) broadcast (radio and TV) Electronic media (internet) and display media (billboards). Television, the internet and billboards are used for the main advertisement of the “Happiness Factory” whereas the print media is used more to inform the public about any offers available.

Establish budget

As the Coca – Cola Company is such a large business, likely it will decide to spend a lot on its marketing communications budget. The means by which the company does this is likely through the competitive – parity method and the objective and task method.

As the soft – drink market is such a large market, and the Coca – Cola companies products are so well known, keeping on top of the competition is important. On the other hand, as the company is a market leader it will most likely use the objective – and – task method in which the company will set its promotion budget based on what it wants to accomplish with the promotion. As Coca – Cola are constantly creating new ideas and getting largely involved with its advertising, likely there will be a large budget set aside in order to keep the consumers interested in their products.

Decide on media mix

Deciding on the media mix is important for any business in order to effectively reach the target market, after looking at some of the methods businesses use in order to do this I have decided that the main method the Coca – Cola Company uses are as follows;


Advertising is any paid form of presentation to promote the company’s product. As Coca – Cola is such a big business it will be looking towards its long term image, therefore advertising is its most important form of communication. For example advertising has pervasiveness and can help the seller repeat the message of a product a number of times – in Coca Cola’s case the message “the coke side of life” is repeated at the end of every advert (which is run quite frequently) as well as on posters etc. Advertising can also amplify expressiveness dramatizing the company and the product through print, sounds and colour. Again this method is used by Coca – Cola through the Happiness Factory advertisement likening a happy life style and drinking Cola, as well as making the process of making Coca – Cola seem magical. On the other hand as advertising impersonal the audience does not feel obliged to respond to the ad.

Sales Promotion

Sales promotion is an important form of communication in order to lead the consumer to the product. This can be done through an incentive where the business will incorporate some concession, inducement or contribution that gives value to the customer. Usually this will be short term to encourage consumers to purchase. As Coca – Cola is a household name; they have used short term incentives such as buy one get one free offers at supermarkets, or getting a free Coca – Cola glass when purchasing a certain meal at McDonalds. This encourages sales, not only for Coca – Cola products but also for the other participating businesses who, in turn, will likely advertise these offers.

Events and Experiences

Events such as company sponsored activities and programs can also be used to promote the company’s product for example Coca – Cola’s Art exhibition in London showing of the art generated for the purpose of the product poster was a good way to get people involved in the communication process.

In addition to this, donations to charities or to the environment can also engage customers. The Coca – Cola company for example claim to support the “Coca – Cola youth foundation” – to help young people in their community and “Caravan” – a charity to eradicate hardship for people who are or have been engaged in the grocery or provisions trade. (For more information please see appendix 3)

Public relations and publicity

Public relations or publicity are used to promote a product. One way in which Coca – Cola uses public relations is through its press releases. Most of which are also published on the website. One of the latest examples of this was on the 29th of April, Coca – Cola collaborates with Selfridges’ 100th birthday to bring out a limited edition glass Cola bottle. (See appendix 4) This form of communication again dramatizes a product, to make it more desirable to a consumer.

Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing is where online activities programs are made available to engage customers directly or indirectly to raise awareness, improve image or elicit sales of products. In regards to the Coca – Cola company for example, its website has wallpaper/picture downloads etc. This form of communication is useful to customize the message to appeal to the addressed individual, an example of this is how the coke Zero website contains a race car game which would appeal to the majority of the male target audience.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth can include oral, written or electronic communications that relate to the positives or experiences of purchasing or using a product. The Coca – Cola Company uses its web site for any consumers to ask questions, as well as bringing up topical debates in which they may have concerns, in turn, the company replies and puts the majority of the answers online to be rated by other consumers who may have the same queries. This may lead the consumer to feel that they are under some obligation to buy the product after talking to the company.

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