In a renewed positioning effort, Coca-Cola has unveiled the ‘One Brand’ global marketing strategy to unite all the brands from the Coca-Cola stable. Raheem Akingbolu reports

The Coca-Cola families all over the world are currently in a celebration mood. In the last few weeks, promoters of the brand at various locations have been rolling out the drum to celebrate a landmark breakthrough. From Paris to Dubai, UK to Nigeria, the story is the same; the world’s No. 1 brand is reengineering through the ‘one brand’ global marketing strategy.

Coca-Cola’s ‘one brand’ approach, which is tied to “Taste the Feeling” campaign, is like a reconciling tool conceptualised to bring its four product variants – Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life – under the Coca-Cola master brand instead of being marketed as separate products. With it, the company is telling the world that all the variants are of the same status.

In Dubai, where over 70 journalists drawn from Africa and Eurasia were present, global leaders in Coca-Cola Company, led by the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Marcos de Quinto, emphasised the fact that the “Taste the Feeling” campaign, which uses storytelling and everyday moments to connect with consumers around the world, extends the global equity and iconic appeal of the original Coca-Cola across the trademark, uniting the Coca-Cola family under the world’s number one beverage brand.

On why the company suddenly made a U-turn towards the path it tread 10 years ago, de Quinto admitted that the company had since realised that the more it positions Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller it becomes. “The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”

He said the campaign was supposed to fulfil 80 per cent of the needs of consumers while also responding to the needs of people who want to limit the consumption of sugary drinks as Coca-Cola Zero, Light and Diet made with artificial sugar, will, for the first time, be better positioned.

“We are emphasising that Coca-Cola is for everybody,” the Chief Marketing Officer said. “Coca-Cola is one brand with different variants, all of which share the same values and visual iconography. People want their Coca-Cola in different ways, but whichever one they want, they want a Coca-Cola brand with great taste and refreshment.”

The ‘One Brand’ strategy features the product at the heart of the creative, celebrating the experience and simple pleasure of drinking a Coca-Cola, any Coca-Cola. It also underscores the company’s commitment to choice, allowing consumers to choose whichever Coca-Cola suits their taste, lifestyle, and diet. The “Taste the Feeling” campaign is expected to be rolled out across the Middle East and North Africa regions in the first half of 2016 starting from Morocco, with strong focus on outdoor, visuals and digital advertisement.

Speaking further, he explained that the new strategy shows that the company can adapt more quickly to changing consumer needs. “It will do this by making consumers more aware of its low or no calorie variants while strengthening the overall brand.”

Beyond the media unveiling, the company has invested very well in advertising to show its full range of Colas. The television advertisements, which was shown to the media in Dubai features all four variants in the final frame. It is also clear through the ad material that the new packaging will clearly highlight the benefits of each variant. Also, the branding of every Coca-Cola can and bottle will be in the same style with different colours to distinguish each variant while the marketing spend for lower, no sugar and calorie colas has been doubled.

The strategy which is expected to roll out all over the world this year has already been launched in the UK and Paris.

According to Bobby Brittain, the Brand’s CMO for the UK and Ireland,” ‘The ‘One Brand’ strategy has had a positive effect on sales in the UK. During the 52 weeks ending 25 December, Coke as a trademark grew in the UK. Sales of diet coke and coke zero also increased but coke life was the only variant to see a decline in sales.

Giving the back ground of the campaign, the Vice President, Global Creative, Connections and Digital for the company, Rodolfo Echeverria, said Coca-Cola took the decision to integrate its multiple campaigns in an attempt to popularize its iconic product. He pointed out that creative ideas from 10 different agencies across the world were collated for the new campaign.

“Coca Cola has turned to be a very important icon. People are wearing Coca Cola in their shirts but we want people to also consider the product, which provides refreshment, a fantastic taste and uplift every time you drink in terms of Coca Cola.”

He pointed out that the campaign to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2016 is grounded in the empowerment of consumers with choice.

He said: “There is nothing quite like the taste of an ice cold Coca-Cola. The campaign creative was designed to celebrate the notion that the simple pleasure of drinking an ice cold Coca-Cola makes any moment more special. A simple pleasure you can access and afford.

“The universal moments and storytelling depicted in the campaign were created to resonate with our consumers globally. We are going from open Happiness to exploring the role Coca-Cola plays in happiness,” said Rodolfo Echeverria.

“Taste the Feeling’ will bring to life the idea that drinking a Coca-Cola is a simple pleasure that makes everyday moments more special. While Coke’s award winning ‘Open Happiness’ campaign leaned heavily on what the brand stands for over the last seven years, ‘Taste the Feeling’ will feature universal story telling with the product at the heart to reflect both the functional and emotional aspects of the Coca-Cola experience,’’ explained Rodolfo Echeverria.