Brand Impact, Student's speak

Lessons from Coca-Cola: Intangible Benefits, Intangible Emotions.

Explaining feelings are difficult, but explaining intangible benefits are grueling! Imagine if you are a company which has to express the inexpressible; make the customers feel something without actually being in physical proximity or providing any type of touch and feel to the customers. Trying to make the customers feel the essence of the product without actually physically offering it to them is a Herculean task!  To spice up this situation a bit more, let’s say the company wants the customers to feel the “happiness” and then buy the product OR the company wants you to make the customers “Taste the Feeling”! What would you do? Though this sounds like a Harvard case study problem, in reality it is not and one company does this job effortlessly (at least it seems effortless!). Any guesses?

Yes, it’s Coca-Cola!

Coca-Cola around the globe has the same positioning, same colour for its core product and also similar communication strategy! Be it in India or the USA, Coke stands for “Opening Happiness!” and ensures customers “taste” a common feeling. Be it through its commercials or OOH activities, Coca-Cola ensures brand consistency in every communication!

So how does Coca-Cola manage to do it?  It’s simple, it works on every aspect of Branding! Branding and Brand Management though sounds like a domain of only the left brain thinkers, it is much-much more than just creatives. Thinking out of the box, though being important, is not the only criteria of an effective Brand Management.  A lot of Engineering, Planning and Strategising goes into Brand Management. And this starts from within the organisation!

Culture: When you imbibe the culture (read brand positioning) inside your organisation, the same is effortlessly reflected in every communication by the brand! Passion, Collaboration, Diversity, and Optimism are some of the guiding lights of Coca-Cola’s work culture. Coke doesn’t stop here, it goes beyond the contemporary standards of branding and truly incorporates its penultimate stakeholders (customers) in its performance. Call it the demons of the past or learning from the lifecycle, Coke ensures that every communication from their HQ synergises with people’s opinion of them!

Customer Intimacy: Be it the Indian version of “Umeedon wali dhoop, Sunshine wali aasha”, or the latest commercial named “Eyes Closed”, Coke surely knowns how to deliver the unexplained i.e. make customers feel what they want them to feel! Be it a zest to help others or just express happiness by talking to a loved one, every message is crystal clear and revolves around daily life of the consumers.

Colour selection:  It’s universally known that red is used when power, passion, excitement or urgency has to be depicted. And since most purchases of coke are through impulse buying behaviour, no other colour could stimulate the consumers mind more. Red is also the colour associated with love in most countries, which further strikes the chord and thus, ensures the brand connects with not only the brains but also the hearts of the consumers.

Positioning:  “Open Happiness” used to be coke’s positioning sometime back and thus, every communication of coke used to revolve around instances of sharing the joy! “Taste the feeling” is the latest one and the recent Advert definitely does justice to it. People often remember and retain memories with eyes closed and yes, often close their eyes when they want to live in the moment! This was truly captured well and was encapsulated within the latest advert. Also if we notice closely, this gesture of closing eyes and enjoying the taste is pretty evident in many of Coke’s commercials over the ages. So this was an absolute no brainer to logically switch to a new positioning.

Snippets of everyday life, awesome background track and incomparable story-telling skills! Yes! As my Faculty used to say, “A Brand is what a Brand does!” and truly, Coca-Cola around the globe does just one thing, “Spreading Happiness” while making you “Taste the Feeling”!

This was my reading about coke and drawing corollaries as to why this brand continued to be in top ranks for most valued brands list over the years. By now, as we know, Branding is more than just logo, color, font or design. It’s a complete science in itself which starts with understanding your product, its USP, its customers’ needs and emotions, competitors and the market, understanding the values of the company, imbibing it inside first and then showcasing it through its communication. Yes creativity does play an important role in Branding but most of it is still an Engineering and Coke absolutely nails it!

Niteysh Roy  | PGDM 2015-17