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Coca Cola: The Kingpin of Branding

Posted By: Holly Burgess
Coca Cola: The Kingpin of Branding

Here at Outstanding Branding we know how important clever branding is; here we take a look at Coca Cola and see how they've achieved huge success over the years through branded items and strong marketing.

Today, Coca Cola is the largest beverage company in the world, responsible not only for the famous cola drink but also many other drinks too. It is the result of successful marketing, dedication to building the brand and maintaining it ever since its beginnings in the 1800s. However, Coca Cola wasn’t always as big as it is now; everything must start from something and here we’ll take a look at how the beverage powerhouse grew into the household name it is today.

Here at Outstanding Branding we understand the power of clever branding and how branded items can help your business go a long way, and Coca Cola have clearly grasped that incredibly well over the years.

The History of Coca Cola

It all began in 1886 with a pharmacist from Atlanta, USA. John Pemberton mixed up a fragrant, caramel-coloured liquid and took it down to Jacob’s Pharmacy. This new concoction was mixed with carbonated water and sampled by customers. Jacob’s Pharmacy put it on sale for five cents (or 3p) a glass. Coca Cola’s distinctive script was created the same day and hasn’t changed since!

coca cola brand history

In the first year of Coca Cola’s existence, Pemberton served around 9 people a day; a far cry from the 1.9 billion people they serve today. The company’s first president, Asa Candler, kick-started the process into turning Coca Cola into a proper business venture. Candler found ways of getting Coca Cola into people’s lives, by giving away coupons for complimentary first tastes of the drink, and began giving Coca Cola branded products to pharmacists such as clocks, urns and apothecary scales. People began to see the brand everywhere.

As time went on, the distinctive bottle was created and strong marketing values were put into place that would ensure Coca Cola was a brand that could last for centuries. As the decades went on, Coca Cola appeared to grow from strength to strength that expanded its brand into a worldwide presence.

Relationships and Growth

The president of Coca Cola in the early 1900s, Robert Woodruff, took the drinks brand into the public eye more and more. The year of 1928 took Coca Cola to the Olympics in Amsterdam with Team USA, while the 1940s and the war allowed Coca Cola to be taken overseas.

Continued growth was seen throughout the 1990s due to its association with sports; its support from the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the National Basketball Association. Its family of brands expanded to Powerade, Oasis and brought us other flavours of drink such as Fanta and Sprite over the years.

Clever Marketing

Coca Cola bought its first national magazine space for advertising in 1904 and by 1911 Coca Cola’s ad budget was over $1 million. By the 1920s, Coca Cola had outdoor billboards and radio programme sponsorships. Clearly the company was being driven towards huge success.

Coca Cola employed several different values that are still present today, ensuring the brand remains at the top. These include an unchanged recipe, a recognisable bottle, timeless font and strong brand awareness. These sort of techniques are things that any company can easily add into their strategy to become a successful brand.

coca cola logo

Adverts both national and international all contained variations of the same slogan with a standardised design through the years, maintaining a theme and recognisable design that is known across the world. 94% of the world’s population now recognise the red and white logo.

Coca Cola at Christmas

In 1931, Coca Cola created an image of Santa Claus to appear in a Christmas advert, to remind people you could drink Coke all year round. It is even said that Coca Cola’s portrayal of Father Christmas actually changed the popular image of him across the world from his original green suit to a red suit.

The Christmas adverts became iconic over the years and every year thousands of people look forward to seeing it on their television screens for the first time that year. Coca Cola have since incorporated other special festive marketing tactics such as their Christmas truck and branded bottles with the names of the reindeer.

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