The new strategy Coca-Cola is using to bring all of its trademark brands—Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light/Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Coca-Cola Life—under the same roof is rolling out in countries around the world. One of them is South Africa, one of The Coca-Cola Company's larget markets.
South Africa is a country where Coca-Cola’s brand love scores have been consistently high, according to marketing director Sharon Keith. The company is also a major economic value driver in the developing country and has won the respect of citizens for its community and environmental efforts.
But instead of focusing on brand values as some campaigns have done in the past, Coca-Cola is again shining the spotlight on its trademark products.
“We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become,” said Marcus de Quinto, Coca-Cola’s Chief Marketing Officer, as he announced the new strategy at a media event in Paris last year. “The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”
Coca-Cola is carrying out the new strategy both through the way products are packaged and marketed and, in some cases, through product reformulation. The company’s South African business unit is putting the former to the test right now in a new style of marketing uniting all trademark Coke variants with the classic red logo.
The business unit also has launched a new formulation for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar that tastes even more like Coca-Cola.
“That’s part of the context of why the 'One-Brand' strategy was developed,” Keith says. “People want choices, and they should be able to manage their own diets in the way that suits them.”
Coca-Cola South Africa is launching the strategy with a visual identity expressed through packaging. Not only do all four trademark variants have the same classic logo, but their product descriptors are slightly changed to better communicate their content. Keith says that, in some cases, the company has not successfully gotten that message across to consumers. In the U.K., the company reportedly found that around half of British consumers didn’t know that Coke Zero was sugar-free.
Now each package features a slightly more explicit description above the red disc—Original Taste; Zero Sugar; Light, crisp taste and no calories; and Life, less sugar with stevia leaf extract.
The “One-Brand” strategy has only been active in South Africa since September 2016, but Coca-Cola South Africa is encouraged by social media coversation to about the campaign, which presentsan array of choices within one classic brand.
Consumers also expressed their enjoyment of Coca-Cola Life, which had been largely undiscovered until its prominent placement in the new creative.
“We have an obligation to reinvent ourselves to meet and exceed consumer expectations, and that’s what drives our marketing,” said Keith.
That marketing won’t be stagnant on can labels and billboards; Coca-Cola South Africa is meeting consumers where they are with a fresh new taste. One of Coca-Cola’s goals in South Africa is to provide samples of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar to around 10 percent of the country's consumers.
With an improved product formulation for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar that more closely resembles the beloved Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola South Africa is showing consumers that health and great taste don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Keith also says one of the company's major changes is that Coca-Cola’s trademark brands aren’t just united in packaging and advertisements; they’re also on the shelf together.
“These variants weren’t always available in the same packages and stores,” Keith says. “Where you’ll find a Coca-Cola, you’ll also find a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.”