Cola-Cola and the Universal Brand

Coca-Cola Banner

Coca-Cola is arguably the most successful and most recognised brand in the world. Its branding is consistent no matter what country you’re in and translates seamlessly across borders. So why did it announce a new universal branding strategy this week?

Coca-Cola has been experiencing a problem with its product range. Coke Zero and Coke Life aren’t selling as well as Coke and Diet Coke, so the new plan is to create a level playing field with a “one brand” strategy. What is a one brand strategy? In this particular example it will involve all of Coca-Cola’s advertising campaigns in the future focusing on the parent or master brand and each of the Coke variants being compared to each other in order to inform consumers of their differences.

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Coca Cola’s problem is that its Zero and Life brands aren’t resonating with consumers. The hope is that promoting these brands alongside the larger Coke and Diet Coke brands will show consumers exactly how they are different. Instead of pouring money into specific Coke Life campaigns which has so far proved to be ineffective, Coke Life will instead receive an uplift from being associated with the larger and more established brand.

This is the same for Coke Zero, for which Coca-Cola has found that consumers don’t realise that it contains zero calories. By adopting this strategy, the company hopes to reduce the wastage of its marketing campaigns and see a rise in sales for its brands that are currently under-performing.

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The UK will be the first market to experience this new concept in May. Bottles and cans of Coca-Cola will look markedly different this summer as a uniform branding style will be used across all products. This involves bold colours and consistency of lettering and design, as well as a completely new Coca-Cola logo variant that depicts the 4 Coca-Cola bottles lined up alongside each other sporting a flash of their respective brand colours.

In essence, traditional Coke will remain red, Diet Coke will remain silver, Coke Zero will remain black, and Coke Life will remain green. The hope is that these colours will play off each other when seen in the same creative. This will give consumers more time to think about what is in each variant of the drink and which one is right for them.

This shows the importance of continued investment and refinement of a brand. Even the world’s most iconic brand has to make changes every now and again. Coca-Cola realises that even giant brands shouldn’t get complacent.


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