Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brand Image

According to the Market Research Glossary, brand image is defined as "The total impression created in the mind of a potential consumer by a brand and all its functional and emotional associations. The total image can be seen as the sum of several images such as the product, user, occasion, service and personality images." Coca-Cola Company is one of the most recognized brands in the world. Coke prides themselves on selling life enhancing products that the entire world can enjoy. Instead of focusing, on the entire companies image, I have chosen to just look at the Powerade Brand.

The drink is marketed as the best sports drink for athletes. It was first introduced in 1990 and it's major competitor is Pepsi Gatorade. The Public Relations department worked to get Powerade as the official sports drink for the Olympics. In July 2001, Coca-Cola Company launched a new formula for Powerade including vitamins B3, B6 and B12, which play a role in energy metabolism. The company wanted to make it seem like Powerade is a healthy alternative for athletes to drink instead of just water. After the press releases and new releases that were announced on the revamping of the classic Powerade, multiple press stories came about. Although, I could not read the entire stories due to having to sign up on the website and pay, I found multiple stories. This just shows that all the work the PR committee did for the launching of their new and improved Powerade, it paid off.

In 2005, Coke created a new bottle for Powerade. Here is the actual press release for the creation of the new bottle. Due to this multiple stories were also sprung. However, due to not paying to view news article, I can not post a link to see them. Basically, every year or two years, the scientists at Coke are coming up with new and improved ways to make Powerade.

Here is are some to lists, which after researching on the Internet, I found stories in newspapers for each release:
  • In 2008, Powerade Zero, a zero-calorie sports drink with electrolytes and no carbohydrates was released.
  • In 2009, Powerade was relaunched as Powerade ION4, a formulation that contains four key electrolytes in the same ratio that is typically lost in sweat
  • Late 2009- Early 2010, Coca-Cola will expand the Powerade Zero line with two new flavors - lemon-lime and orange. Also planned is a mid-calorie youth formula in 12 ounce bottles.
With the company improving the product every couple of years and the Public Relations team successfully selling the information to the media, Powerade has a good brand image. Powerade is placed in very successful industries to market to the biggest amount of people. Since creation, like stated earlier, Powerade has been the official drink for the Olympics since its creation.

They have an official website for Powerade. On the main page you can pick to go to the different countries in which Powerade is sold. The one for United States, just states what it is and the different flavors. Other websites, such as Spain, had more to it. I just looked around because I couldn't understand anything that was being said. It had athletes and different information actually explaining what is in each drink.

Overall, the PR team has done a great job maintaining the brand image for Powerade under the Coca-Cola Company. The only trouble that there is to this name is the competition between Gatorade.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crisis Management

A crisis can happen at any point to any company. You can not predict what exactly will occur but you can be prepared. Before explaining what happened to Coca-Cola, it will be useful to give some background information about Coca-colas presence in India.

Coca-Cola was the leasing soft drink brand in India until 1997. The corporation decided to leave rather than reveal its formula to the government and reduce its equity stake as required by the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act. Finally, Coke returned in 1993 which insured that Coke was now the leading soft drink brand of the world. From 1993-2003, they invested more than US$1 billion in India, making it one of the country;s top international investors. By 2003, Coca- Cola India won the Woodruf Cup among 22 divisions of the Company based on three broad
parameters of volume, profitability, and quality. They achieved 39% volume increase in 2003 while the industry only grew 23% nationally. Because of these statistics, Coke planed to double its capacity at an investment of $125 million between Sept. 2002 and March 2003. In 1998 the consumption of bottles was 5,670 million and that increased to over 10, million in 2002.

Now on to the actual crisis. On August 5, 2003 The Center for Science and Environment (CSE), an activist group in India, issued a press release (pg 14) stating: "12 major cold drink brands sold in and around Delhi contain a deadly cocktail of pesticide residues." This caused a title wave to sweep through Coca colas profits in India and the stock market back in the United States. The facts are that three samples of twelve Pepsi Co and Coca-Cola brands from across the city were
found to contain pesticide residues surpassing global standards by 30-36 times including
lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos. These four pesticides were known
to cause cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects, and severe
disruption of the immune system. Due to these finding, the India government decided to ban these products. The share of Cola-Cola dropped $5 in the stock market and the huge market and potential expansion of the India market was in jeopardy by not only Coke brand but Pepsi brand as well.

Coke immediately took action. However, in my opinion, Coke made a terrible mistake from the beginning. The following day of the accusations, Coke and Pepsi had a joint press conference. Instead of telling the public they are looking into the allegations against them and will try to insure there beverages are safe for everyone, they attacked the credibility of the CSE and their lab results, citing regular testing at independent laboratories proving the safety of their products. They promised to provide this data to the public, threatened legal action against the CSE while seeking a gag order, and contacted the United States Embassy in India for assistance.

Here is the statement that was published by the CEO in India for Coca-Cola.
"You may have seen recently in the media some allegations about the quality standards of our products in India. We take these allegations extremely seriously. I want to reassure you that our products in India are safe and are tested regularly to ensure that they meet the same rigorous standards we maintain across the world. Maintaining quality standards is the most important element of our business and we cannot stand by while misleading and unaccredited data is used to discredit trusted and world-class brands. Recent allegations have caused unnecessary panic among consumers in India and, if unchecked, would impair our business in India and impact the livelihoods of our thousands of employees across the country. This site is about the truth behind the headlines. It provides some context and facts on these issues and we hope it helps you understand exactly why you can trust our beverage brands and continue to enjoy them as millions of Indians do each day. Sanjiv Gupta, Division President, Coca-Cola India"

While the products were being tested, Coke decided to run campaigns to gain the public interest back. (Facts and what should have been done from India Resource Center) They took out full page ads, directed people to their website so they could view the test results themselves. On page 29 of the article posted above lists what was place onto Cokes website. It was a list of myths and facts about the company's toxic allegations and how they treat the marketplace in India. However, what happened next is very eye opening. They never did anything after the statement was released. The company just campaigned to get the bans lifted. To this day there is still a ban in Parliament cafeteria and residents are campaigning to ban Coke entirely. They have done nothing to change it. Coca-Cola maintains that its products in India are completely safe, and that it has one global standard for all its products.But looking at the actual data that no one really wants to see, tells a different story.

Coca-Cola India is diverting the attention given to this crisis, but they are alone in that. The United States will not allow products made in India by the Coca-Cola company to be shipped into the country,
close to 20 colleges and universities in the US and UK have rejected contracts with the Coca-Cola company until they clean up their act. They are now facing another crisis in India, with the usage of water around where the factory is, their waste residue and how they are effecting the lives of India's population because they are taking up water and producing toxins. I firmly believe if Coca-Cola took the right actions the first time around and cleaned up their act, then this new crisis would not be forming. This is how I would have took on the first crisis. Come out to the public announce that it is sorry and will be doing its own testing to just verify if this information was correct. After results were found, I would then release it to the public and fix the problem. As the company was fixing the toxic problem release monthly reports on how the company is doing. This would have allows customers to remain faithful that Coke cares about the consumers and is doing everything possible to be a sage product. .(Old and New Crisis - To similar)

Cokes PR has spent millions of dollars campaigning about how great their products are. They are wasting money on these campaigns that should go towards improving their products. If everything continues to go as it has been going in recent years, soon Coke may become nonexistent. The brand is slowly starting to lose alliances with colleges, schools, gover
nments all over the world. Although, this is highly unlikely because products in the U.S. are made correctly.

The Public Relations team representing Coca-Cola has done a terrible job. To this day when the company was asked by The India Resource Center, publicly, to share the studies that must have conducted to convince themselves that the average Indian can consume poisons at a level 30 times higher than the average European and American.

All they have heard was silence.

Here is an entire website full of anti-coke: videos, articles, photos and more.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Investor Relations

An important part of a companies business plan is their investor relations. Companies want to keep the media, public's, investors, and employees informed of all the companies financial information. This is very important relationship that should be taken seriously. Coca-Cola company does a great job at keeping everyone informed. If you go to investors page there are many different links for someones knowledge. There are links to the multiple countries factories and of the annual report as a whole. Coke has an annual report that it puts out each year. First, they start out by stating what their plans are for the future. Coke is calling it 2020 Vision. It is more of a marketing strategy. To show the public's, investors and employees how Coke Brand is changing with the times.

Coke then goes on to talk about the actual numbers and the new products that were launched in 2009. It also continues to discuss what changes they are making to make there brand more environmentally friendly. Coke also describes in each different page, about the factories that are in different countries. It talks about what they are doing and then has tables for different elements. It is more of a marketing ploy to show anyone who is interested in what is happening financially within the company.

In the complete Annual report document, the letter to the CEO is one of the first things that is available to read. This is extremely important document because it is one of the only times a year a shareholder will hear from the person that is in charge. In Coke's case it is Michael Kent, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. Here he is talking about how entering 2009, one of the wrost economic years, Coke wanted to focuz on what they could control. According to the CEO, Coke "worked to ensure that we came out of this crisis in an even stronger position by communicating with our consumers and retail customers; investing in innovation; and enhancing our distribution, sales and production capabilities around the world." He continues to target the investors interest by noting the amounts of profit that was made in 2009 and what they plan to do in the upcoming years. I think that by shareholders and investors reading this it will give them confidence in Coke. It will insure that they are making the right choice by choosing to invest in Coca-Cola.

On the website they have multiple press releases available to the public about the company. The news release that was written for the annual report was published on February 9, 2010. This is a way for the general public to understand what is happening with in the company. They are using plan terms that describe the profits and how Coca Cola is changing. It also has a chart to show the financial highlights and notes about the news release to explain certain statistically numbers. There are two quotes that are said by the CEO. The first one is talking about the past year and how they ended it on a high note. The next quote is a paragraph adn it is explaining what tey hope to achieve before 2020. It is a way for the everyone to have faith within the company, that big things are going to happen in the future.

The news releases, CEO letters, and annual reports are to show the shareholders that the company is not trying to hid anything that is happening. They want to get all the information out so that everyone knows what is going on with the company. Also, what they plan to do for the future. Coke does a great job at Investor Relations and it shows that they do care about their consumers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Improving their reputation

The Coca-Cola company is a huge corporation. They have multiple projects and efforts that they are doing in relation to the community. The Coca-Cola Company Foundation, helps in
various organizations. They donate to community initiatives, education, environment, disaster relief, health care, HIV/AIDS and active healthy living. In 2008 alone, the Coca-Cola Foundation donated $82 million to the above initiatives. Recently, Coca-Cola donated $1 million to the disaster relief in Haiti after the earthquake.

A major focus is on the environment. All throughout their sustainability page they talk about what they are doing to make their products and factories more environmentally friendly. Also, how they are helping around the world in environmental efforts. We all know and love those Coca-Cola commercials with the polar bears, the penguins and the seals. They are a classic. However, in reality, these animals are suffering and may not be around much longer. By then, those cutesy commercials with the animals drinking coca-cola will not be so funny anymore. One of Coke's environmental issues they are helping with is Climate. On this web page you can see that the first picture is of the polar bear. In this page, along with the other pages listed on the left hand side, have all the information on what Coke is doing to help change their products and buildings to help the cause. Here it is stating that Coke has partnered with the WWF to help save wildlife. This is showing the community that yes, even though we are creating products, we can create these products in a better environmental way. There are people who care about the environment, people who are nutty over the environment and those who just really could care less, but Coke's environmental campaign will help in all those areas of people. It shows the environmental nuts that coke is helping and you should buy from them because they are the more environmental safe product and the ones who don't care about the environment, well they will buy coke no matter what.

Not only is the company as a whole improving their products and manufacturing practices to be environmentally safe, but the company employees are also giving back to the community. In 2008, company associates volunteered 273,000 hours of community service. This is telling the community that not only does the brand care about helping out, but the people who are working for this brand care. It is a network of caring that will help to improve the conditions of the community. What is not only a good community relation tactic but a good employee relation tactic, is that if a employee wants to make personal contributions to qualified organizations, then the Coca-Cola Gift Matching Program will match those contributions on a 2-for-1 basis. This will not only get the brands name out to the thousands of organizations, it helps out on a larger scale but also, the smaller organizations that need help. Employees from the company are also helping out with the WWF. This is showing how the company and its employees are reaching out o the community to make the enviornment a better place to live. here is a video that is talking about the partnership between WWF and Coke.

I think that the Coca-Cola Company is doing a great job at community relations. They are touching on a variety of areas that will effect more people. The company brings in tons of revenue each year and it is a great thing for them to give back to the community that helps put money in their pockets. I especially think it is such a good idea that not only do they help initiatives and people who need help each year, but they are changing their product manufacturing practices and helping to improve the planet around them. I think it is a good idea for them to come out and say that we are cleaning up our factories and they have set goals that they want to achieve by certain deadlines. For example by the end of 2010 they have to have 40-50% improved energy efficiency. From a Public Relations perspective, this was a good move for the company. It is making their reputation a reliable one. As before they started these initiatives, there was many criticism of the company and its product. To the right is a picture making fun of how Coke for all of the environmental issues their product caused. Now consumers can investigate the website and see for themselves all the initiatives Coca-Cola is taking to improve their environmental contribution.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get Your Hearts in Gear and Grab a Diet Coke!

Now-a-days the media is running amok with the new fad to be thin. Personally, i am proud of my curves and my certain features that I was graced with. Plus, I am to in love with food to ever give it up to be a stick figure. Due to this new look many junk food industries are hurting. However, some are adapting their products or creating new ones under their company to change with the times. The Coca-Cola Company has always had diet drinks but now they have Vitamin waters and other forms of beverages not considered soda. The campaign/event that I am talking about today is the Heart Truth Campaign.

Each year, Di
et Coke is proud to sponsor The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show to raise awareness for women's heart health. Celebrated women wear one-of-a-kind red dresses designed by America's top designers. Diet Coke has helped sponsor this event for the past three years. The Coca-Cola company sent out its Press release about them working with the Heart Truth on Febuary 4th, 2010. It was about how Diet Coke is partneing with the Heart Truth to put on the fashion show and what other programs or advertisting that Coke would do.

There were two quotes within the article that would draw attention. One was from Heidi Klum herself, about how she is honored that Coke is an ambassored for the program. Also, the second one was from the Brand Director of Diet Coke North America. You can read both of these quotes and the press release here.

At the actual event the background to the red carpet and posters on the catwalk had Diet Coke's symbol on it. This was showing everyone who either watched the fashion show on TV, were participating in the event or heard about the event that Coke cares about people's health and is trying to help make strides to make everyone in the world aware of this. I watched a video on Diet Coke's Website that was taken at the event. There was a woman who was speaking about Diet Coke and how it is a part of the healthy lifestyle. Click here to watch the video and see pictures from the event. CLICK ME!!

Not only was Coke publicized at the event by showing their sponsorship but it is being spread worldwide. First off, there will be limited edition packaging that will tell about one woman's journey from heart health awareness to empowerment to advocacy. Also, on 6 billion cans throughout the year the Heart Truth's logo will appear. The website for Diet Coke is also on the can to promote its website.

This is another good PR move. Not only are the cans going out to millions of people but it says to find out more about how to keep your heart healthy go to their website. Once you are there the main image is of the Heart Truth. They have a calendar of different activities to do each day to maintain heart heath and how to basically live a well balanced life.

I believe that the PR team is doing a good job. Not only will everyone know from the advertising that coke is doing to promote the Heart Truth and a healthy lifestyle but the Press release and pitch letter that were made to the media is helping to get the point across to more people. If you just type in heart truth or type in heart truth and coke many articles from different newspaper and online publications come up. It sparked interest in reporters which led them to help market the event further. There are also two commercials that were made that can be seen on you tube and Diet Cokes website. One was aired during the Oscars that tried to convince people to go out and buy coke and use the rewards to win Heidi Klums dress that she wore for the Fashion Show. This is a link to the other commercial HEART COMMERCIAL!!

Go to for more information about what they are doing to help promote awareness. Also, go to to learn about your hearts health!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coke and Social Media

Coke has always been known for their commercials. Many of their commercials deal with singing, everyone uniting or the kindness and love of a friendship. One of the first commercials have three women singing and promoting their slogan of the time. it was "Thirst Asks Nothing More." The tone is catchy and will be stamped into the costumers head so they remember this product. Coke has a commercial called "I Like to Teach the World to Sing". This has been remade a couple of times. This is showing a couple of things. It is showing how coke is unifying the world and that coke is for everyone, they are showing how their change commercials for the season because it says Season Greetings and it is showing how it is a catchy tone that is a feel good commercial. If you even look at the recent commercials from the Superbowl with the Simpsons and how the town comes together and gives the guy that is mean to everyone a coke to fit in. Another way that the commercials have changed for season is the most famous of all. The Polar Bear commercials. This are by far my favorite commercials during the holiday seasons for coke. What is making this New and social media is the fact that these commercials are posted on youtube and on their website. They have links to commercials from their site to youtube and the most recent commercials on their website. It just reinforces the adverting and the use of the Internet to promote their product.

On their website they have many links that direct you to their use of the new media. On the bottom of the homepage there are tabs that are colored to make it more eye appealing. They direct you to different categories. The first is the blog that is read directly off their site, the next is advertising, our system, leadership and finally Coca-Cola on the web. The best part of this tab is that it just doesn't direct you to the link for Cokes twitter, facebook, flickr, youtube or myspace account. It has a link to all of their companies websites. These websites have just as much detail and links to their own social media sites right on their website. For example look at the fanta website. It has the theme song that everyone knows how to sing and the girls right on the first page. Also on the first page is the links to facebook and myspace.

In my opinion they are utilizing the web to its full potential. They have certain employees monitoring these pages constantly and keeping it up to date. On the fantans facebook they updated it everyday counting down the days till the contest was over to be the next fantana. It also told them to watch MTV made to view their newest commercial. On the Coke's Twitter the company is tracking what people are saying about their products. If people have questions they are answering it right away and if they are saying something good about their company they write a tweet thanking them. It is showing that they care about their customers. They are utilizing the media relations the best way.

The company is also using rich media. They have a virtual tour of their products.. Here they are using flash and shockwave to allow their costumers to interact with their website and products. I never knew all the products that the Coca-Cola Company had until playing around on this website and finding their descriptions. The company is also using the RSS feeds for people who want to stay up to date with the news about the company. When i clicked on it it asks you which type of homepage you would like to put RSS on. This allows people to see the company in the news every time they log onto the Internet. With people being online all the time this is a major accomplishment. If they click on a link it will bring them to the website and to the vast opportunity to click on any one of their other new media lists.

The PR person for Coca-Cola is doing an outstanding job and I do not think there could be anymore for the company to do. They are all over the Internet on different websites and are keeping those websites up to date and the costumers that communicate with them there happy. This is a success story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome to the Coke Side of Life

This blog will be about the Coca-Cola brand. It will focus on what the company is doing within the media and what promotions they are having that are newsworthy (or PR-worthy). I have selected this company because first it was familiar to me. Even though I have never been on the website to actually look around before this assignment, I knew the brand and have heard about it in the media. After examining the site, I found alot of interesting information about the company that helped persuade my decision.The companies business is pretty obvious. They are the Coca-Cola Brand that makes drinks such as Coke, Vitamin Water, Minute Maid, Powerade, Fanta and much more.

Upon researching on the Internet I have found many criticisms and problems associated with Coca-Cola. Some are obvious while others astonished me that this was alleged to occur. (The following criticisms were found at These include negative health effects resulting from consumption of its products, exploitative labor practices, high levels of pesticides, building plans in Nazi, Germany that employed slave labor, environmental destruction, monopolistic business practices, hiring paramilitary units to murder trade union leaders and marketing unhealthy products to children. Throughout the blog I will not focus on all of these issues that were addressed. I will focus on the main issues that are big right now in the media. They are negative health effects, marketing unhealthy products, and environmental destruction. These will be the main points but I will try to touch upon the other issues as well.

To communicate their reputation the company is using it's websites, brands and who they are sponsoring to show how the company really is. They are using the website to show what they have accomplished throughout the years and what initiatives they are taking to help improve the environment. They have been a sponsor of athletic events since the early days of coke. They are attached to a physical activity that helps them seem not as bad for you. They are also starting a new campaign with Heidi Klum and Diet Coke to help raise awareness about your health. Finally, in the Superbowl commercial they were airing how they are giving back to the community by donating to the Boys and Girls Club.

The PR people are doing a good job with getting this company good PR. They are putting the name on activities and groups that are showing the public that Coca-Cola cares about them and is trying to help them live a better life. Also, that they care about the environment and by changing the way they are producing drinks it is helping to make the environment cleaner.

Check out the website at