Exploring the Coca-Cola brand – and why it continues to be irreplaceable for consumers

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Coca-Cola is undoubtedly one of the world’s most valuable brands. Even if it isn’t the most valuable anymore – its 13 year stretch at the top of Interbrand’s list was broken by Apple in 2013 – the brand continues to carry tremendous weight, as new research from market research insight provider Instantly reveals.

According to the figures, almost half (48%) of UK consumers said they would never forsake Coca-Cola for a supermarket own brand equivalent, compared to Cadbury’s chocolate (38%), Heinz tomato ketchup (35%), and Coca-Cola’s rival Pepsi (33%).

The research dug in to potential reasons why the brand and product may theoretically be irreplaceable – health, price – and came up with negligible results. Two thirds (66%) of respondents felt there was no difference between own label and marquee brands in terms of health, while it was a 50/50 split when asked whether the more expensive branded products were a better investment. Not entirely surprisingly, the majority (58%) of those polled said price was the key factor in buying own brand products, while for those who always buy the brand, it was due to taste and quality (49%).

Instantly claims these results show the ‘own label’ products are catching up to the brands, even though the likes of Coca-Cola remain dominant. So why do the biggest brands remain so huge? Ben Leet, UK managing director of Instantly, tells MarketingTech it is a combination of longevity in the market and clever and creative campaigns – citing the soft drinks giant’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign which “incorporated the social element on a global scale and proved hugely popular.”

“Brands must move with the times and modern campaigns not only have a global presence across traditional media, but look to include social to form a personal connection between a brand and its customers,” he says. “This helps them to stick in people minds and become something that customers not only buy for the product itself, but what it stands for.”

Long-running classic campaigns continue to hit home for Coca-Cola; the company’s iconic contour Coke bottle celebrates its hundredth birthday later this year, while the yearly Christmas adverts – a sign to put up the tree for many – began in 1992 and was named the UK’s most memorable Christmas ad of all time last year.

Innovation continues, however; in April the soft drinks manufacturer unveiled its new website, Coca-Cola Journey, which more closely resembles a digital magazine than a corporate snoozefest. Andrew Canter, CEO of the Branded Content Marketing Association, noted at the time: “[Coca-Cola] fully understand[s] the power of storytelling, creating innovative and highly entertaining content which, in turn, translates into more happy customers and brand advocates.”

In a short essay detailing Coca-Cola’s third place finish in the most recent valuable brand ranking, Interbrand argues the company’s opportunity lies in continuing to strengthen connections with a millennial audience, and addressing a more health-conscious landscape. But as the Instantly results show, the well of brand loyalty is not likely to run dry just yet.


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