5 Branding Lessons From Coca Cola

No matter how many business sessions I host, the number one question is “how do I brand more effectively?”

Well, if we look at the phenomenon called Coca Cola there are some very simple but vital lessons we can learn about branding that can be implemented straight away in your business.

Simply put, branding is a way of communicating to the world what your company stands for across a number of platforms. It’s not just about your logo, it’s about your values, beliefs and your promise.  It’s about taking the time to fully understand the concept.

Done well, your brand will enable you to differentiate your product and service; command a favourable market position and generate greater business benefits.  Done poorly then not only will you be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but you can guarantee that your business will be limping along until it fails.

So if you are a time strapped micropreneur looking for a quick marketing fix, here are my top 5 branding lessons from Coca Cola:-

  1. A Compelling Brand Gets Your Product Noticed

Without a doubt, Coca Cola is an award winning juggernaut of a brand.  With over 500 brands under its belt, selling in excess of 1.9 billion servings a day in over 200 countries, I believe they have some pretty good insights about the importance of branding.

With a marketing budget to die for, Coca Cola has become the biggest selling soft drink manufacture and retailer in history.  Their commitment to building and sustaining their brand has definitely kept them ahead of their main competitor Pepsi irrespective of the fact that placebo tests have shown their taste was often voted inferior.  But their brand presence and exposure meant consumers ‘believed’ it was better.

So don’t skip the importance of building a formidable, compelling and authentic brand for your product or service.  If you have a brand that is unique, has a different spin on widely used products, particularly eye catching, or targets a market not yet catered for, it will stand out from the crowd and get your product/s noticed.

And if you are clever about your branding, you can follow companies like Coca Cola who sell several of their products under different names, enabling them to take over a bigger share of the market and create greater value.

  1. Strive for Top of the Mind Awareness

Think “Santa Claus” and slogans like “the real thing” means that customers’ emotional connection to the Coca Cola brand is very high.

The company have used Santa in their ads since the 1920s – so what would Christmas be without Santa in his red suit (exact colour of coke brand) delivering toys and drinking a coke.

You have to admit there is value in having a catchy brand.  But just like Coca Cola you must deliver against your unique selling proposition to dominate your market.  Companies understand that an unaided brand recall provides competitive advantage in your space, as it has the first chance of evaluation for purchase!   It’s vital that your customers remember your brand, speak favourably about it and make recommendations to others about it.

By creating a memorable slogan, jingle, catchphrase and providing an exceptional experience (service and a quality product) you are on the way to keeping your brand top of the mind in your customers

  1. Don’t Under Estimate the Value of Loyalty

Without a doubt, customers are more likely to trust and stay loyal to a well-known brand.

Coca Cola have invested millions to ensure that their customers have an emotional connection to the product.  They have built their brand around loyalty. Simply put, no matter where you are in the world (New York, Scotland or Dubai) you can trust their brand.

Many well-known celebrities and global personalities from the world of acting, sport and music are paid millions to endorse the brand.  Not only that, Coca Cola have commissioned a range of collectables to ensure that customers are still engaged and connected.  Army veteran Dominic Grillo recently gained recognition for donating his unopened 1941 bottle of Coke to the company’s Atlanta Archives!

So whether you are operating from the kitchen table or global offices, it’s all about increasing brand confidence and loyalty.  Of course inferior and boring products sell but your offering will become more appealing against the millions of other products in the market if you get the brand position right!

As humans, we naturally veer towards familiarity and dependability, usually taking for granted, if it’s big, its good. Even Coca Cola started somewhere.

  1. You Can Charge More For Your Product.

Recent research shows that the Coca-Cola brand is worth $74 billion, while Budweiser, Pepsi, Starbucks, and Red Bull combined are worth about $50 billion

That shows you that customers will pay more for an established brand with a good reputation.  Superior brands satisfy a psychological need and motivates buyers to spend more.

If your brand is able to satisfy the needs and interests of your target group, not only will you be able to differentiate against the thousands of similar products in your sector, but you can charge a premium price irrespective or market drivers.

  1. Free advertising. 

So, you have managed to bring to market a brilliant brand, you are established, trusted, and able to charge more for your product, What now?

Get your customers to do some advertising for you! For free.

Utilise your social media platforms.  Get your customers to start talking about your products.  Word of mouth recommendation is priceless, so get your customers engaged through Facebook, blogs Instagram etc.

Coca Cola have engaged their customers by getting them to send in recipes using their product; supporting local initiatives that improve health, the environment and eco projects.  They have engrained the company brand in every nuance of life to ensure that they remain an award winning, premium brand.

By learning from one of the best brands in the world start thinking how you can incorporate some of their practices into your marketing strategy to ensure that customers are happy to pay you for the privilege of advertising it for free.