Communities across America are getting to know their Coca-Cola neighbors in a whole new way.
Coca-Cola USA is reintroducing itself as far more than the maker of the world’s best-known beverage through storytelling that reaffirms its longstanding commitment to refreshing and strengthening local communities.
The storytelling effort launched in late-August in local communities, local newspapers and here on Coca-Cola Journey, and is now rolling out more broadly via national advertising and social media. It brings to life the people, products and character of Coca-Cola through the voices and faces of employees from every corner of the country – from a bottler in Kansas City, to a delivery driver in Anchorage, to a plant manager in Tampa, to a Coca-Cola Scholar in Dallas.
The reintroduction comes at a pivotal point for Coca-Cola, which by the end of this year plans to wrap up a decade-long process to return ownership of local bottling and distribution operations to independent company partners across America. Coke also is accelerating its strategic evolution to become a total beverage company by giving people more of the drinks they want.
“We’re getting back to our roots by returning the local part of our business to where it truly belongs and where it will best perform,” said Stuart Kronauge, senior vice president of marketing and president of USA operations, Coca-Cola North America. “And the increasingly local nature of our bottling system positions us to make an even bigger impact on the communities where we live, work and play. This is the perfect time to reintroduce ourselves as a leading employer and supplier and communicate the breadth of who we are, what we stand for, and what we make and sell.”
The Coca-Cola Company and its family of 68 independently owned bottlers in the U.S. collectively employ more than 90,000 people across every corner of the country who passionately serve and bring economic value to the local communities they call home.
But company research shows that most Americans are unaware of the work Coca-Cola does to create jobs, empower local economies, preserve the environment and foster inclusion. And they want and expect Coca-Cola to share these hyper-local stories of social commitment.
“Community impact has always been part of our DNA, but it’s a story that has largely gone untold,” said Caren Pasquale Seckler, vice president of social commitment, Coca-Cola North America. “Most people don’t know who we really are when it comes to our values and our actions. For instance, that we are the first Fortune 500 company to replenish all the water we use globally back into the environment, or that we have provided more than $100 million in scholarships over the last 29 years. Historically, we’ve been about doing good anonymously, but our consumers and in many cases, our employees, are telling us they want to hear more of our story.”
The storytelling also highlights the company’s extensive offering of drinks by reminding the public that it’s “Coca-Cola and so much more”. Most Americans are unaware that Coke produces more than 800 beverages in the U.S. across 100 brands – from smartwater and ZICO coconut water, to Odwalla juices and Honest Tea.
“When people hear our story, our business benefits,” Seckler said. “And when we benefit, we can do even more for our consumers and customers, and make an even bigger impact on our communities. It’s a virtuous cycle.”