Coca-Cola Brand Strategy: The Missing Piece.

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I write a lot about Coca-Cola’s brand strategy which I see as “refreshment.” A brilliant brand strategy. I worked at McCann-Erickson in the early 90s when we were agency of record for Coke and the work was the best in the business. It hurt when the account left McCann and went to Creative Artists and later ended up at Wieden+Kennedy where “happiness” became the de facto brand strategy.  Nice advertising; not such a nice brand strategy.

I just read recently this is the current Coca-Cola brand strategy:

Coca-Cola is a thirst-quenching cola with a refreshing taste that brings joy to everyone.   

The What’s The Idea? brand strategy framework is “One claim and three proof planks.” If I parse the strategy above I see multiple claims: thirst-quenching, refreshing and joy.  It’s hard to juggle three claims.

A claim supported by three proof planks is different than a three-pronged claim. The difference being a proof plank supports the claim. They are indelibly linked. Not bolt-ons. Proof is what consumers are able to play back to you when you ask them “Why?”. So in the case of Coke, “Why is Coke refreshing?, joy or happiness do not answer the question.

When refreshment is the sole claim, “Thirst-quenching” certainly supports it and is a good plank. And Coke’s unique “taste” also proves the claim — another good brand plank.  But the third one is tougher. I’m going to give that some thought over the next couple of weeks. 

Stay tuned.