How Coke Uses Culture to be More Effective

By Josephine Tolosa

It’s been a few months since I moved to the United States from the Philippines and as I adjust to differences in culture and language, I cannot help but compare the subtle differences in the positioning of global brands. It intrigues me that while campaign slogans remain the same, the messaging and images they use to convey those taglines are very different.

The Share-a-Coke campaign, which was first rolled out in Australia a few years back and has been picked up in the US for the summer, was also introduced in the Philippines in 2014. This campaign allows you to personalize bottles by printing individual names or other social words such as Dad, Mom, or Bestie instead of the usual Coke label.

US Context

In the US, two ads were shown to introduce the campaign. The first one follows Bobby, the dog, as he searched for a bottle with his own name. I believe that this ad was targeted mostly to millennial and boomers which, if combined, make up an estimated 48% of the American population. The choice of personalizing a pet also has a wide appeal because according to the Humane Society, an estimated 47% of American households have a dog while 62% of households have at least one pet. The second ad was also targeted to a specific public, teenagers or Gen Z, and it shows a growing number of friends sharing a coke with each other.

Philippine Context

In the Philippines, the first ad was very simple and follows the same pattern as the US commercial. It shows a group of teenagers sharing Cokes with one another. Teens in the range of 15-24 comprise of 19% of the population. The second ad however was targeted to a wider audience: the working population and those in the age of 25-54. This makes up about 37% of the Philippine population.

Coke’s ads in both countries try to elicit certain emotions of connectivity and togetherness regardless of race, age, or even species. The target audiences are the same as well and Coke targets the same age range within the population. However, in the Philippine context, Coke adds another layer to its frame and message. It adds everyday situations to bring out emotions of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness. This is especially relevant for the 12th most populated country in the world where menial jobs are often taken for granted. I believe this was important for Coca-Cola so that it can extend its campaign and also tie in with their main slogan of happiness.

Especially now, when US sales have been stagnant, Coca-Cola has to step up efforts in order to maintain its success as a global brand. By effectively changing it’s framing and messaging to fit a country’s culture without changing its overall company’s positioning; I believe they have been successful.coca-cola-statistic_id225388_companys-market-share-in-the-us-2004-2013

For a non-soda drinker, it has been a while since Coke has caught my attention but this Share-a-Coke campaign has made me spend more time in the soda aisle, carefully checking for a bottle that holds names of my family and friends.

View the ads here:

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Josephine Tolosa is taking her Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. 

Achieving ‘Glocal’ Success

Michael R. Czinkota and Ilkka A. Ronkainen for www.ama.org

Companies that have adopted this approach have incorporated the following four dimensions into their organizations.

Building a Shared Vision

The first dimension relates to a clear and consistent long-term corporate mission that guides individuals wherever they work in the organization. Examples of this are Johnson & Johnson’s corporate credo of customer focus; Coca-Cola’s mission of leveraging global beverage brand leadership “to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, create value and make a difference”; Nestlé’s vision to make the company the “reference for nutrition, health and wellness”; and Samsung’s mission to “create superior products and services, thereby contributing to a better global society.” But formulating and communicating a vision or mission cannot succeed unless individual employees understand and accept the company’s stated goals and objectives.

Broadening Perspectives

This relates to the development of a cooperative mindset among region or country organizations to ensure the effective implementation of global strategies. Managers may believe that global strategies are intrusions on their operations if they do not have an understanding of the corporate vision, if they have not contributed to the global corporate agenda, if they are not given direct responsibility for its implementation or if there is no reward for their cooperation.

Capable Managers

The third component in the “glocal” approach is making use of representatives from different countries, regions, and cultures. Organizationally, the forces of globalization are changing the country manager’s role significantly. With profit-and-loss responsibility, oversight of multiple functions, and the benefits (and drawbacks) of distance from headquarters, country managers enjoyed considerable decision-making autonomy, as well as entrepreneurial initiative. Today, however, many companies have to emphasize the product dimension of the product-geography matrix, which means that power has to shift at least to some extent from country managers to worldwide strategic business unit and product line managers. Many of the previously local decisions are now subordinated to global strategic moves.

Internal Cooperation

In today’s environment, the global business entity can be successful only if it is able to move intellectual capital within the organization—that is, to transmit ideas and information in real time. If there are impediments to the free flow of information across organizational boundaries, important updates about changes in the competitive environment might not be communicated in a timely fashion to those tasked with incorporating them into the strategy.

Read full article.

Image from ama.org

Jeopardy!

In most countries, obtaining space of an existing distribution center is a simple matter of paying rent. In what country is the process a good deal more complicated than this?

 

Answer in the comment section below. The answer will be revealed at next week’s “Jeopardy!”

Answer to last week’s “Jeopardy!”: What are the five most valuable global brands in the world? According to the annual review by BusinessWeek and Interbrand, the top five are Coca-Cola, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and GE.

Is China taking U.S. Business Secrets?

On Tuesday, February 19th, the U.S. Government stated that China’s military is connected to “Comment Crew,” the same hacking group which attacked Coca-Cola, military contractor Lockheed Martin, and the EMA security division RSA, among many others.

 

Comment Crew allegedly has access to blueprints of America’s energy systems and trade secrets to from some of the United State’s largest corporations. The threat of a cyber attack from China can be major and can have negative economic and diplomatic implications. Tom Kellerman, former commissioner of President Obama’s cyber security council and current head of cyber security at Trend Micro, estimates that hundreds of billions of dollars a year could be in jeopardy if trade secrets are being stolen, particularly since it is not one machine but entire systems which are at risk.

 

Along the lines of technology theft, Georgetown University is implementing new security measures for its students with regards to hacking and laptop thefts. Clearly, technology protection is rising to a crucial level of importance.

What Drives Globalization? Part 4/4

Globalization is driven by four factors:

  1. Cost
  2. Market
  3. Environment
  4. Competition

Competition:

To remain competitive, global rivals have to intensify their marketing everywhere by attempting to sustain advantages that, if weakened, could make them susceptible to market share erosion worldwide. Competitive companies introduce, upgrade, and distribute new products faster than ever before. A company that does not remain ahead of the competition risks seeing its carefully researched ideas picked off by other global players.

Leading companies drive the globalization process. There is no structural reason why soft drinks should be at a more advanced stage of globalization than beer and spirits, except for the opportunistic behavior of Coca-Cola. Similarly, German beauty products maker Nivea is driving its business in a global direction by creating global brands, a global demand for those brands, and a global supply chain that helps the company meet those demands.

Nonetheless, the four global drivers have affected countries and industrial sectors differently. While some industries, including paper and soft drinks, are truly globally contested, some others, such as government procurement, are still closed. Commodities and manufactured goods are already in a globalized state, while many consumer goods are accelerating toward more globalization. Similarly, the leading trading nations display far more openness than low-income countries and that openness is advancing the positive state of globalization in general.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.

Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 92.

 

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