In my written critique, I have settled on looking in-depth the Coca Cola, a brand that offers a variety of products including energy drinks, juices, and soft drinks, and how it has been doing in the market since it was first introduced, the major changes and developments it has gone through and its position in the market, about other related products in the soft drinks industry.
This is a carbonated soft drink first introduced to the market by an entrepreneur Asa Griggs Chandler in 1886 by the Coca-cola Company based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It is in stores and retail shops in over 200 countries worldwide. Basically, the company manufactures concentrates which are then distributed to Coca-Cola bottling companies worldwide. The soft drink is caramel in color and comes in a variety of flavors such as cola, lime, raspberry and orange. (Pendergrast, 2000).
The product has managed to remain on top of the chart all through the 20th century and now the 21st century, and as the preferred soft drink by many loyal consumers from all over the world. This has not been a downhill task. There has been stiff competition between Coca-Cola and a number of other soft drinks in the market, and we will have a closer look at some of these products.
This carbonated soft drink has been Coca-Cola’s main competitor, with the competition fever reaching its height in the late 1970s-90s. Having been introduced into the market around the same time as Coca-Cola, (Pepsi was introduced into the market in 1883), it has been Coca-Cola’s main rival. The main reason they threatened to take lure Coca-Cola’s loyal customers is that the soft drinks were cheaper, and following the 1936-38 global economic crisis, Pepsi found an opportunity to win quite a number of Coca-Cola customers.
Royal Crown (RC) Cola
Introduced in 1905, Royal Crown Cola was yet another brand that produced soft drinks and was a major competitor of Coca-Cola. RC Cola reached its heights in the 1950s and throughout the mid-20th century, whereby it targeted the average customer, and collaborated with Moonpies Company to start the “Working Man’s lunch”. They had skilled marketers as they were the first soft drink company to package their products in cans, manufacture a dieted drink and also a caffeine-free cola. However, in October 2000, Royal Crown Cola was acquired by The Cadbury Company.
Established in 1935 in Peru, Inca Cola (also branded as the Golden Cola) is a yellowish-green soft drink that also has made an impact in the soft drink industry. The company was founded in the state by British Immigrants, and after Coca-Cola saw how much the company was enjoying a reputable customer base especially in North and South America and Europe, they decided to buy shares in the different Inca companies in these states. However, in Peru, they do not own the company because they have less than 51% of its shares, after selling them 32% of the shares. Inca produces a number of flavors under their brand, which include champagne, orange, lemon, Rosada etc. They also manufacture squash drinks.
Having looked at the competitors of Coca-cola soft drinks, a lot of similar characteristics can be drawn from the above discussed soft drink brands, which was a background overview about coca-cola soft drinks.
The first thing to note is that coca-cola competitors offer a variety of flavors in all their products. The idea behind this is to offer a product for customers with different preferences and tastes (Hays, 2005). This is because everyone has their unique taste and preference for everything. For example, Inca cola have orange, lime, champagne flavors, etc, Pepsi have orange, lime, etc and also, Coca Cola hasn’t been left behind, as they also have their own variety of flavors; cola, lime, raspberry etc. this assists to counter the competitor.
Secondly, it is notable that all the competitors have established retail shops not only in the USA, but also all over the world. This helps in reaching out to as many customers as possible and it’s also a strategy to diversify a product’s market, something that many marketing scholars have recommended (Summers, 2007).
The competitors also offer different types of products other than just soft drinks, including energy drinks, juices etc. this is yet another way of diversifying the market, and they also are health conscious for the customer’s sake. For example, Royal Crown Cola has a dieted and caffeine-free soft drink.
PESTEL Analysis on Coca-cola soft drink
A PESTEL analysis will help us understand the kind of environment that Coca-cola is exposed to in its business endeavors.
Coca-cola is a registered trademark company in the USA and all the other states that it has bottling companies. This ensures that it pays taxes to the Governments for its operations and that it abides by the specific states’ rules and regulations concerned with its operations, failure to which it faces fines by the states’ specifications. Changes in these countries’ legislations for example the non-alcoholic laws and political stability also affect Coca-Cola’s business operations. This has been seen especially in the third-world countries in Africa where coca cola’s operations have been affected.
States’ changes on the economic ground affect coca cola’s product marketing and sales. For example, due to the stable economic state of Japan, Germany, Brazil and North America, there has been a rise in the soft drinks’ sales in these countries by an average increase of 15 annually, since 2004.
Coca-cola products have a higher customer base on the non-alcoholic people. It also has a notably high customer appreciation in people between ages 37-55, who are more conscious about nutrition.
Unlike in the olden days in the 20th century where customers preferred the traditional flavors such as orange, technological growth has enabled the production of new brands such as cola cherry, which has had a growing customer base since the early 90s.
Coca-cola is a registered trademark company in the United States of America and has all the required legal documents in all the states where it has branches to ensure it adheres to the required expectations such as paying taxes and adhering to policy changes.
All coca-cola companies adhere to the set environmental rules and regulations set by these states to govern the companies, and prevent environmental pollution for example through waste disposal.
This is the introduction and development of a product through changing its previous look, design, packaging and shape, to suit the customer’s preference (Stratten, 2010). Innovation of a product is very important in marketing because it avoids monotony, keeps the customer on his toes and also improves the product’s quality to make it more acceptable to the customers and also competitive enough compared to the rivals in the same business or industry (Kotler and Armstrong, 2009).
Innovation of a product is also important because it makes it unique and stands out from the other products in the same field. Customers will always go for the product that stands out from the others; therefore constant re-evaluation of a product is important to ensure that it keeps afloat no the market (Porter, 1985).
The Coca-Cola Company has been thriving in business as earlier stated for over 100 years now. A lot of changes have been made to bring innovation, evolution and development of the product, to make it more satisfying and thereby acceptable to its target and potential customers. It offers over 3,500 different types of products ranging from soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and tea to a whole crème of other products. Having been in the business for well over a hundred years, Coca-Cola Company has managed to have a strong customer base all over the world, evenly distributed to all continents across the globe.
Their prime vision is to offer quality services and products to all their esteemed customers and at the same time mind their customers’ welfare for example their health, immediate environment etc.
Coca-cola Company, having been in business for over 100 years, has undergone a lot of innovation and re-evaluation for its products, and this is what has kept it afloat for all these years (Hoy, 1990). In their innovation mission statement that states that “Innovation is the heart of everything we do” it emphasizes Coca-Cola’s dedication and priority that they give to innovation. In this area, Coca-Cola Company covers product marketing and packaging, and they look keenly into products, market, packaging, equipment and marketplace.
In their products, coca-cola has fortified some of their products with nutritious components for example the newly introduced NutriJuice, which is a soft drink rich in Vitamin A and C, targeting malnutrition people especially children.
There has been innovation in the marketing front, whereby Coca-Cola introduced the plastic bottles as compared to the glass bottles that dominated all through the 20th century. These bottles are preferred by customers because of their portability and also have another advantage that they are more easily recyclable compared to galas, and pose less hazard to people and the environment.
The packaging of a product tells a lot about the producing company (Scott, 2009). Packaging of coca-cola products has come with new policies for example the Renew, Reuse, Rejoice campaign that is making bottles made of 30% organic-based material. Through this, they have introduced the plant bottle that is green in color and attractive to customers through its light green color.
Due to increased customer base, there have been improved equipment services such as the interactive vending machine and climate-friendly coolers that work towards sustainable refrigeration of soft drinks. This cooler does not emit harmful gases to the environment, as they are converted and only 35% of carbon (ii) oxide is emitted. This benefits customers because they are not affected by the gases that are emitted and thus the environment they live in. This promotes life.
It has been innovated majorly and evolved over years whereby coca-cola has been helping its customers develop their businesses and also maintain them. This is especially evident in the foodservice industry where coca-cola provides these businesses with the equipment necessary for them to store their drinks and also provides online information concerning the same.
From the above innovations that Coca-Cola has been making, it is evident that all are headed and directed towards giving better services to customers and generally improving their lives. Not many companies have taken the same measures especially in the soft drinks industry, and this automatically gives Coca-Cola an automatic upper hand when it comes to customer relations and improvement of their quality of life.
Coca-cola has a good marketing strategy for their products whereby they use promotional means such as roadshows in the respective countries, use of mass and print media and also online promotion of their products through their official website.
Coca-cola also has taken a different dimension in marketing their products, whereby they chip in as sponsors to various social activities in the society. For example, they are the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup, a role they have played for the past few decades. This marketing strategy has proven to be successful for them because it is a means that reaches numerous customers (Chernev, 2007).
Brand loyalty and equity
Through their vigorous marketing efforts, Coca-Cola has created a strong loyalty to their product from their customers and this is evident by the volumes in sales of their products in comparison to those of their main competitors for example Pepsi. This way, Coca-cola has been able to own a brand equity and identity (McClintock, 1990).
What makes Coca-Cola Company and products stand out and have an upper hand when it comes to the customer base and success is the fact that it inclines more towards satisfying the customers’ needs as opposed to initial success. Coca-Cola Company stands high chances of remaining the top soft drinks seller as it has been seen from the above discussion, and the SWOT Analysis carried out below.
Coca-cola is the world’s leading brand in sales and management. In 2006, it made a net profit of $ US 67,000. It is leading with five top soft drinks, and it’s well off compared to its distant follower, Pepsi.
Secondly, it has a large scale of operations, selling in over 200 countries worldwide and owns 32 different types of concentrates for business. It also has over 95 bottling plants across the globe, exclusive of those in the USA.
It has a strong revenue growth and generation, thus playing a major role in revenue generation in many countries across the world.
Coca-Cola Company has been engulfed by negative publicity especially in India where customers complained that its products contained cancer-causing pesticide residues. This seriously brought down the sales and reputation before the issue was solved.
Secondly, there has been slow development of the North American market for coca-cola products which is a potential threat to the company since that is where it is based.
In the recent past, there has been a growing market for bottled water all over the world following development in health concerns, and since coca-cola already has a reputation in bottling, they stand a better chance of doing well in this area (Bodden, 2011).
There is potential competition from other rising nonalcoholic beverages especially with the latest repackaging of Pepsi. Secondly, coca-cola relies much on the bottling companies in the various states that they market their products. A bleached contract with these companies would have disastrous effects on Coca-Cola sales.
Marketing mix analysis enables a company to know what approach they are going to use when marketing their products (Kerin, 2008).
The company has over 300 different types of drinks and beverages which come in different sizes, mainly 300ML, 600LM and 1 liter.
The product prices vary according to size and amount, thus the customer is spoilt of choices.
They have made their promotion exciting and interesting, from mass and print media to billboards and the internet. Good promotion of a product has a huge impact on the customers, both actual and potential (Clow and Baack, 2009).
Coca-cola products are found almost everywhere in the world, especially because they are available in over 200 countries worldwide.
The products from coca-cola target the young people who form the higher percentage of the world’s population, and this is one factor that has contributed to their success especially because even the old remain loyal to their products even after leaving youthhood (Baker and Saren, 2010).
From the above SWOT analysis and marketing mix, it is possible to conclude that Coca Cola brand has remained relevant and the most preferred over years and that they have an upper hand reaching out to customers as far as marketing and success is concerned.
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