By Matt Gillis
As the marketplace continues to gain competition, companies are required to maintain a positive brand identity in order to survive. While advertising makes up a large part of a brand’s awareness and image, a company’s corporate social responsibility creates a positive perception of the brand in the minds of consumers. Being perceived as a well rounded company that is willing to help the public is now a necessary factor in the success of a company.
Coca-Cola Inc., along with several other soft drink companies including PepsiCo Inc. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc., have suffered a decline in product sales this year despite new marketing efforts. Coca-Cola has sold four percent less soda in North America compared to last year, which is a continued trend since 1998. Experts suggest that the decline in soda sales is due to its unhealthy nature and the wide variety of beverage choices, but Coca-Cola has begun targeting bottled water, tea and sport drink consumers in order to sell more drinks and boost their sales.
However, despite the company’s decline in sales, Coca-Cola has decided to donate their entire brand advertising budget to the Philippines to aid in typhoon relief efforts. Coca-Cola announced that starting November 18 the company will no longer spend money on advertising efforts leading up to the holiday season. To date, the company has donated more than $2.5 million in cash and contributions to the country.
Coca-Cola FEMSA is one of the soft brand’s bottling companies located in the Philippines. Carlos Salazar Lomelin, Chief Executive Office of the bottling company, said, “It is in times like these when the Philippines sets an example of resilience and good spirit, and where our values of supporting ourselves as a team come at its best.”
Typhoon Haiyan, which has been labeled as one of the strongest storms on record, currently has a death count of more than 5,000, with 1,611 people still missing. The cost of damage resulting from the typhoon is estimated at $5.8 billion for the Philippines.
While Coca-Cola’s decision to end its holiday advertising efforts may seem like a mistake when referencing their decline in soft drink sales, their support in typhoon relief has given them far more publicity and positive brand perception through news outlets and social media with its consumers than any advertisements would have. Publicity reaches a larger market and is perceived as more credible because it comes from a trusted outside source. People are going to recognize Coca-Cola’s social awareness and support the company’s products to embrace their positive efforts.
– Goldberg, Eleanor. “Coke Suspends Ad Campaign For Best Reason You Could Imagine.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/coke-ads-philippines-_n_4338746.html>.
– Winograd, David. “Soda Sales Continue To Decline Despite Flashy Marketing.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 July 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/soda-sales_n_3645822.html>.