Op-Ed: Coca-Cola and the power of brand association

Posted Jul 24, 2014 by Dan Pelberg
Brand association is a powerful tool in corporate marketing. If a brand can have their product positively associated in a consumer’s mind, they pretty much won that consumer over for life. In the world of positive brand association, Coca-Cola is king.
According to Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consultancy firm, Coca-Cola ranked as the third best global brand in the world in 2013, with a brand value of over $79 billion. Coca-Cola doesn’t see itself as providing a soft drink, but rather, an experience. Coca-Cola Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi says, “It’s important for us, as a big brand, to lead culture and not just follow it,” Coke believes it has changed culture with a soft-drink, and even for those detractors of the brand (myself included), one can’t help but marvel at this reality.
Some of Coke’s recent slogans, “Life begins here” or “Open Happiness” aid in the idea that drinking a Coke will in turn make your life better. No one can make the logical argument that drinking a beverage that contains 39 grams of sugar in 12 ounces will make anyone’s life better. So instead of focusing on the drink itself, Coke has focused on the moments that you reach for a Coke.
Over the years Coke has been able to integrate itself in the happiest moments of its customers’ lives. Whether it is at a Fourth of July barbeque or at the ballpark on a hot summer day with the family, Coca-Cola is there. Their signature red cups even somehow find their way in to the hands of athletes that aren't even drinking the beverage!
Coca-Cola finds a way to have its name and label present during the times that are most positively associated in the mind of the customer. This inevitably leads the customer to reach for a Coke in almost every situation, positive and negative, hoping to rekindle the magical Coca-Cola moment and all of the memories it brings back.
The history of Coca-Cola’s marketing has been tremendous, but its most recent ad campaign takes Coca-Cola to a whole other level. Let’s take a look at one of their latest TV advertisements:
Coke has replaced the labels on their product to over 1,000 names in 33 languages worldwide so that each product seems personalized. Not only names, but nicknames such as, ‘Dad’, ‘Sis’, and the ever popular ‘Bestie’ are included as well. You can just imagine customers riffling through bottles in the supermarket trying to find the exact one with their name on it, ensuring the customer spends more time looking at bottles of Coke than any other item.
In a world where products all seem to be the same, Coke has decided to not sell a soft drink, but instead, sell happiness in a can. You can’t tell a Coke drinker that the sugary soda doesn’t make their life better, because it is engrained in their head to believe that it does. This makes Coca-Cola a powerful brand that has stood the test of time and sees no signs of letting up.
The Coca-Cola Company | FindTheBest