Marketing Advice from a Brand Icon

Marketing Inspiration From A Brand Icon

Marketing Advice from a Brand Icon

In June 2016 Coca-Cola celebrated being a source of successful marketing inspiration for 130 years. A dominant global force and world renowned iconic brand, every company marketing a product can learn from them.

Coca-Cola’s sustained success is largely attributed to marketing strategy, innovation and goal-based ad spend. So what can we learn from them? Even iconic brands do not take a break from marketing.


Without a strong and precise marketing strategy, it is hard to achieve the desired results. Using an explainer video is a way of advertising concisely what businesses are about and what they can offer to people, it draws consumers/customers in. Coca-Cola are famed for having an extremely disciplined strategy and as such, it is no surprise that they have been so successful over the years. However, this is not to say that all of Coca-Cola’s marketing tactics have been successful. Over the years there have been some failed campaigns:

“Things Would Have Been Better With Coke”-This advertising campaign featured historical figures who had unhappy endings to their lives, such as Julius Caesar and Marie Antoinette. The premise of this campaign: If only Coke had been there, then maybe things might have turned out differently. Sales were down after this campaign and thus Coca-Cola needed to revise the advertising plan.


If you look at the genesis of innovative marketing tactics such as coupons, sponsorship and event marketing Coca-Cola are never too far behind the trend. They realize the importance of brand recognition and by starting a sponsorship with the Olympic Games in 1928 they ensure that every 4 years the world is reminded of their global presence. By not being afraid to innovate when necessary Coca-Cola now has an 88-year long sponsorship with one of the worlds biggest events.

With the bravery to innovate does sometime come the risk of failure. Coca-Cola are no different to this phenomena and “New Coke” is a famed historical example. Whilst it was a failed product, it actually gave Coca-Cola a wake-up call from becoming too passive:

“I think we were lazy in really recognizing that we needed to reactivate or reposition the brand. If we had done that through an advertising process, I don’t think New Coke would have ever happened, but there was such resistance to any kind of change in the advertising position of the brand that we introduced a change in the taste,” Mr. Zyman said. “I know, you’ll say that’s ridiculous, and I agree. But it happened.”

More recently Coke has been re-positioning itself as the embodiment of happiness. “If you’re able to own that emotion in people’s mind space, that’s a very powerful thing,” said Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi. Once again Coca-Cola are trying to follow the trend and associate a human emotion with a brand. Much like many marketing experts Coca-Cola’s founder believed that you had to advertise and get your product out to the people. Iconic brands know that maintaining a marketing plan consistently throughout the year will reap benefits, that constant evaluation of the brand’s positioning will keep the brand at the forefront, and that resistance to change can hold a brand stagnant. What is your brand’s emotional connection to your consumers? How can you use that emotion to connect with your consumers?

Ad Spend

Flashback to 1922 when Coca-Cola reached an unheard spend of $1 million for their ad budget. Today, the company spends $2.9 billion globally on advertising across 206 markets. Though Coca-Cola’s marketing spend is unattainable for most, the spend did contribute to Coca-Cola becoming the worlds most recognized brand. This marketing spend may be scary, but a marketing budget should not be. A marketing spend needs to be a relationship between your comfort zone and the goals you want to achieve.

Be Aware of the Relationship Amongst All Business Activities

New Coke taught Coca-Cola much about how their business practices and marketing activities relate to each other. For instance, Coca-Cola ran into a challenge of communicating with the bottlers when New Coke was introduced, which partially lead to New Coke’s demise:

“It was very exciting at the beginning, because all of a sudden we had almost a rebirth, a renaissance of the brand. Consumers were looking at it and business was booming. Consumers wanted the brand; they appreciated the brand; they knew what the brand was all about. And it was a great opportunity for us to actually reformulate the overall proposition of the brand. But the system was very tired, the bottlers were very tired. Remember, a bottler is in a small community. They were attacked by their neighbors. People in the golf club made fun of them and all that. They wanted a break. So the company lost focus again. I got very frustrated, and I left the company.” -Sergio Zyman, marketing executive.

Stay focused, understand business relationships, and know the importance of asking and listening. Local Marketing Agencies, when used correctly, should work with all components for a successful business. A company is most powerful when all aspects of business understand and integrate with each other. Take advantage of the relationship value of each activity to each other, and eliminate silo thinking.

What Should You Do?

We can all say, “Wow, 130 years, congratulations Coca-Cola!” How does your brand stay around for 5, 10, 30 years? 360 Direct is available whether you need a milwaukee Marketing consultant, or a full marketing team. We help you establish strategy, goals, and a budget that fits your particular needs. Call 262-289-9210 or email us today, and get a complementary 30 minute discovery consultation.


“Best Global Brands.” Business Week. Retrieved from

Zmuda,Natalie. (2011, May 2). “At 125 Years Old, Coke’s Story is StillBeing Written.” Advertising Age. Retrieved from