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Coke sees 'green shoots'

News, 08 September 2016

BOSTON: Coca-Cola's new marketing strategy, based around a single brand and the Taste the Feeling campaign launched at the start of the year, is starting to pay off, as a top executive reports "green shoots".

Presenting at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference, James Quincey, President and Chief Operating Officer, observed that "marketing takes its time to build up ... and the Coca-Cola business is not going to suddenly change overnight".

But he reported that "green shoots" were visible. "The early signs from the data are starting to look very encouraging," he said, "especially in those places where we launched first and we launched the fastest and the hardest."

The one brand strategy was introduced at the same time, with Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, and Coca-Cola Life no longer being treated as separate brands but as one brand with multiple variants.

The accompanying graphical look took a little longer to arrive so "it's a little early to work out what's happening there", but that too was looking promising, Quincey said.

He was at pains to stress, however, that the reshaping of the business was about creating sustained growth, not just a new campaign or a new graphical strategy.

"It is about responding to the changes in the consumer landscape and the stakeholder landscape in terms of people's desire whether it be more natural ingredients, whether it be for the desire for less sugar, less calories, more of a treat."

One consequence of that is that Coca-Cola has become "more revenue focused rather than volume focused" and is offering more affordable, smaller packages to attract more users to the brand.

"Quite simply put some of the people who are out of the franchise didn't want to come in drinking a 20 ounce bottle," said Quincey. "They prefer to come in at 6 or 8 or 12 ounces.

"So the smaller packages work from a revenue point of view. They also work to help shape choice from a consumer obesity point of view."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff