Importance of the ‘digital arena’ in international business management. Use of social media by Coca-Cola.

Master's Thesis, 2013

54 Pages, Grade: B+

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1. Aims and Objectives

2. Literature Review
2.1 Social Media Marketing Success
2.2 Why People Use Social Media
2.3 Risks Involved in Social Media Marketing
2.4 Social Media Advertising Opportunities
2.5 Social Media Guidelines
2.6 How to Grow Audience on Social Media

3. Case Study Analysis and Discussion
3.1 Coca Cola on Social Media Websites
3.2 Coca Cola’s Digital Marketing Campaigns
3.3 Coca Cola’s Social Media Efficiency
3.4 Social Media Guiding Principles to Grow Audience
3.5 Does Social Media Strategies always Work
3.6 Coca Cola 4R Social Media Approach
3.7 Coca Cola 70/20/10 Approach
3.8 Significance of Social Media for Business
3.9 Does Social Media Influence Coca Cola Sales

4. Conclusion



Coca-Cola Case Study

Coca-Cola is the one of the world’s largest beverage company. Coca-Cola understands the importance of social media to maintain relationship with customers all over the world. Number of conversation takes place on the social networks of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has more than 150,000 associates in more than 200 countries which represents their brand on their behalf. Coca-Cola has set up social media policy in which detailed set of online social media principles to guide their employees.

According to the Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President of integrated marketing communication and capacities at Coca-Cola, None of the company plans are simple social, TV, Mobile or experimental. She said that it is combination of all the Medias. In which social media plays a vital role at the heart of these activities. This helps the company to create impact on market, communicate with customers, brand awareness, and customer’s loyalty.

Coca-Cola’s huge success on social media with 74million likes on Facebook Page, 371,968 followers on LinkedIn, 7,179,847 views and 174,771 Subscriptions on YouTube, 2,037,124 followers on Twitter and 76,821 followers on Instagram. Coca-Cola encourages their employees to explore these social media websites and feel comfortable. It also reminds its employees to ‘Have Fun but Be Smart’. Coca-Cola approaches their customers through these social media in the same way they do physically. Company/s Values and code of conduct are followed in the same manner to be successful on this platform.

Coca-Cola’s has 10 principles guiding the behaviour of certified Coca-Cola online spokespeople. Coca-Cola’s expectations of both personal and commercial communication in the social space, and inspire employees to be friendly yet aware of their ultimate representation of the company. The guidelines are as follows:

1. Be certified in the Social Media Certification Program.
2. Follow our Code of Business Conduct and all other Company policies.
3. Be mindful that you are representing the Company.
4. Fully disclose your affiliation with the Company.
5. Keep records.
6. When in doubt, do not post.
7. Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights.
8. Be responsible to your work.
9. Remember that your local posts can have global significance.
10. Know that the Internet is permanent.

Of that list, #6, #9 and #10 are the most prominent and relevant to recent times. We’ve seen (too often) brands fail to think of the larger-scale implications of the material they post, especially surrounding sensitive events and issues. By reminding spokespeople of the implications a global company can have through its social communication, Coca-Cola is aiming to avoid any significant mishaps or controversy.

Overall, the social media policy for Coca-Cola seems to cover all of the company’s bases – from personal to professional communication by employees. This type of management style seems to be effective in allowing employees the ability to be themselves, while still maintaining expectations and company guidelines. Coca-Cola provides a social media policy that could serve as an example to other brands, the result of which has led to clear success in the social realm.

Task: Using examples from other social media or networking sites, give examples which demonstrate the importance of the ‘digital arena’ in international business management, either from an organisational (B2B) perspective or a consumers (B2C) perspective. You are expected to examine the literature using related theoretical constructs and published empirical data (from trusted academic sources, e.g. Discover), as well as contemporary literature.

Executive Summary

Social media websites are playing a vital role in international business. Different companies have their own social media marketing strategies. This digital platform connects people from across the world on one platform. There are masses of opportunities on this digital platform for the company operating its business worldwide. In this report author has defined the various factors which can help the company for successful social network. The importance of social media websites for the international business has been explained.

Digital platform can’t be ignored by the companies in this modern world. Huge number of audience can be marketed through this network simply. Sometimes social media strategies backfires company as well, which harms the brand image. For successful social media Network Company should consider all the factors which can lead to failure before going online. Successful social media marketing has enormous opportunities for the business in international market.

This report starts with the aims and objectives of the task. In this it is explained that what aspects are going to be learnt, identified, understood and discover from this report. Followed by the Literature review, in which journal articles of different Authors are reviewed. The article’s which can help the author to support the discussion and which is related to the topic is studied. Literature review gives more information and knowledge about the social media marketing strategies.

The next section of this report is discussion over the case study of Coca Cola. In this it is explained how they use social media websites. Coca Cola has different digital campaigns taking place all over the world; some of them are talked in this report. Analysis of these campaigns discloses their connection with people around the world on the social media websites. Importance of social media websites is also discussed further in this section.

Aims and Objectives

Social media is an electronic form of communication through which user can share information, thoughts, messages, and other contents (Joe Cothrel, 2011). Social networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, are exploding day by day. The digital media / social media play a vital role in the free flow of running of the business in today’s world. Organisations are using these websites to maintain face to face networking with their customers to share information and ideas. In this report the author need’s to determine that how important a digital platform is for a company operating business internationally. The main aims and objectives of this report are discussed as follows:

- To study the concept of social networking: In this report the author’s foremost objective is to identify the concept of social media in modern era. This report will enable the author to recognize how the social networking websites are used by companies to communicate with customers. Now days entirely all the organisations are using social networking websites to promote their business. This report will help to determine the various strategies used by different firm’s world widely to link with people. Critical analysis of examples and case studies from academic literature will help the author to study the concept of social networking. Social networking websites are the applications which enable the user to connect with different people around the world. This report will help us to analysis how efficiently and effectively these networks work in international business. Although the concept and ideas of social networking appears to be simple and clear, but not for a firm using social network to promote its business. It is complicated for a business to use social network. Because of which different policies and strategies are formed by the organisation to make best use of this platform. This report will help us to know how different firms are using digital platform and how well they are making best use of it.

- How beverage industry is using social networking websites to connect with the people: The other objective of this report is to understand how beverage industry (Soft Drinks) is using social media to reach their customers. It has become important for the company operating its business internationally to use digital platform to communicate with the people. The case study of Coca-Cola Company is used in this report to study how they are using social networking websites to communicate with their customers. Coca-Cola is the leading brand of soft drinks in the world. To find out how well they are using this digital platform to promote, different articles are read regarding their strategies on this platform. Facebook page of Coca-Cola, Twitter and YouTube account are explored to find out how well they are connected with the customers. The author will explore the accounts of Coca-Cola on these social networking websites. This will lead to understand better how well they are using this digital platform to reach their customers.

- Impact of Digital platform on the organisation: Jim Davis (2013) outlined that 79% companies are either using or scheduling to use social media channels. Only 12% of firms are those which are making correct and effective use of this digital platform. This report will help the author in finding out the impact of the social media on the business. In what way the business is influenced by the social media. To discover the effect of digital platform on the business various journals and articles will be considered. This will help to find out how well organisation is using digital platform, and the effect of that on the business working. Profitability, market share, sales, etc. are the various factors which are affected by the digital platform. The critical analysis of literature review will help the author to discover how this digital platform is affecting the business working internationally in all aspects. Through the discussion over the case study will lead to understand the impact of using social media more efficiently. Both literature review and discussion over case study will help in discovering the influence of social networking website on business operations.

This report will be focused on secondary research based on articles, literature reviews, journals and other academic sources. The use of social networking websites by Coca-Cola is also studied. Large companies are aimed to target audience through the digital platform. This research will help to analyse and study the policies and strategies of companies operating its business internationally. The secondary research is used to evaluate the use of social media by Coca-Cola in digital world.

Literature Review

2.1 Social Media Marketing Success

Collin Cottrell and Brandon Wikman are business experts in online and digital media communication. Wikman, B & Cottrell, C (2013) suggested 5 ways of success of social media marketing. The article talk over the opportunities business has to create good impression through social media. According to Collin and Brandon social media marketing refers to gaining attention through social media websites. Social media is easily available to people all over the world through internet access. Through this platform business can share information and ideas which will attract their customers. This will lead to brand awareness and customers loyalty towards company. Customer service can also be upgraded through social media marketing. Customers who interact with the business through social media help in building up strong relationships between customers and business. Five ways of social media marketing success is discussed below in detail:

- Customer’s Trust: Business by earning the trust of their customer can promote their product through them. Those people will recommend that product to the people they are connected through social media. According to Nielsen Media Buzz Metrics, 90% of people consider these recommendations seriously. Customers buying behaviour changes as there is change in the technology. Because of this technological change business performance also gets influenced in this modern world. Strategies of the business changes from time to time with the change in technology. Social media helps the business in promoting their brand. In this digital platform there is two ways communication involved, which helps the business to target right segment of market. Earning customers faith will help the customer in viral marketing. Customers will share their good experience on these social media websites which will help the business in creating awareness of their brand. Sharing of bad experiences can damage the image of the brand as well. Business has to be very careful using social media to promote their brand and products.

- Measuring Performance: Business can measure its performance through the social media. This platform will help the business to analyse how well they have achieved their aims and objectives formulated. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social networking website can support the business in changing their buying behaviour. Organisation can measures its social media achievement through analytics, posts, shares, likes, comments, etc. Performance through this can be measured in short time as well as in long time period. If an organisations web page has millions of likes that simply means people like to buy their product. Customers buying product will recommend that particular product through their channels. The profit or loss can’t be measured through social media, but social media websites can influence the profit and loss of the business. The performance can be measured in terms of brand awareness, brand recognition, brand perception, customer’s reliability, etc.

- Marketing in Modern World: Technological changes brought new phase in marketing product. Traditional selling is changing with the change in the world of technology. Now marketing has gone beyond the old methods of marketing product. With the social media platform it has become more effective and efficient than before. Marketing in the modern world is marketing to today’s new age consumer. In today’s world it has become more convenient for the organisations to collect data, ideas and views of their customers regarding a product. Posting on the page of social media website will support the organisation to make relevant changes in the product according to the response of the people towards it. Most percentage of the adults between age 18-29 are on these social networking websites. Marketing to this new generation, new world of technology through social media will support the business in operational activities.

- Best Platform to Link with Consumers : Digital media platform is the finest platform for the organisation to connect with the new and existing customers. Social media marketing is the cheapest among other marketing channels available to the organisation. If organisation gets the strong social media channel then that is more effective than other promotional activities. Social media can’t be substituted with other means of communication. As in social media two way communications takes place. Organisation can interact with large number of people all the year every single day very easily and effectively. People being in touch with the social networking website page of the organisation will create awareness among people. The interaction on day to day basis will lead to the customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

- Follow your Customer’s: People spend at least 1 hour daily on Facebook alone. In the research it has been found that 60% of product researching through these social media websites has influenced the behaviour of customer. For success of digital media platform organisation should have proper knowledge of this platform. Organisation should put their time and effort to make their social network strong and efficient enough to achieve their objectives. If company will follow their customers, they will learn different aspects from their consumers about their product. This will help them in formulating new strategies and product innovation. On the social media websites consumers don’t feel shy to share their feelings on the posts or their experience. Through the social media websites opportunities are never-ending for the organisation. A strong relationship can be maintained through this digital platform between business and customers.

2.2 Why People Use Social Media:

Whiting, A, & Williams, D (2013) determines the importance of uses and gratifications theory to the social media. This paper revealed the relationship between the customers and the social media websites. This research paper helps us to understand why people use social media. Whiting and William conducted 25 interviews to analyse and find out the use of social media to customers. In this research they found ten uses and gratifications of social media. These points will help the organisations to understand their customers and form their strategies accordingly.

Uses and Gratification Theory: Blumler and Katz’z (1974) propose that operators of the mass media play a vital part in selecting and using media. Operators take active part in communication process, they use media source to fulfil their needs. In this research paper Whiting and William applies uses and gratification theory to find out why people use social media. Following are the ten uses and gratifications of social media:

- Social Communication: In the research they found out that 88 per cent of interviewers use social media to interact with people. They responded that they use social media to communicate with their friends, family, co-workers, old and new friends. Usually they are connected to those people through social media to whom they can’t meet face to face daily.

- Pursuing Information: 80 per cent of the evaluators replied that they use social media to explore information. They use social media to discover information regarding sales, events, business, deals and products. This information helps them in decision making process and dealing with the general issues.

- Time Pass: 76 per cent of respondents said that they use social media when they are bored. Some said they use social media while on work or class to pass the time. In the ideal time they use social media Facebook to pass their time and free from boredom.

- Entertainment: 64 per cent interviewer responded that they use social media websites for entertain purpose. They often visit these social media websites to have some fun. They responded that they play games with their friends on social websites. Some replies they use it for listening to music, watching movies and for humour.

- Relaxation: 60 per cent of interviewer responded that they use social media to relax. They respond that these social media websites helps them to escape from the harsh reality of the life. These websites are stress relieving, and helps them to spurt the real world.

- Expression of Opinion: 56 per cent of interviewer said that they use social media websites to express their views on certain things. Posting, liking, commenting, sharing their feeling on these social networking websites are more convenient for the users than any other way of communication. They said that they like to express their feelings in disguise on these social media websites.

- Communicatory Utility: 56 per cent of interviewers said that they like social media to gossip with their friends about something in general. Facebook gives the person common things to gossip about that can be regarding someone post or soothing you find interesting u share with your friend. They share with their friends what they saw on these websites and will be exciting for the other person as well.

- Convenience Utility: 52 per cent of interviewer replied that social media’s are very convenient to use now a days. Internet is available in every part of the world, so do social networking websites. Users can connect to the social media website anytime from anywhere. Mobile applications made this easier for user to use these websites.

- Sharing Information: 40 per cent of respondents said that they like using social media websites to share information with other people. This information can be in any form posting something on their profile or sharing pictures varies from individual to individual.

- Knowledge about Others: 32 per cent interviewer said that they use social media website to know what other people are doing. These people use these social media websites to mole on others. This can be having eye on their kids or family what they are doing from time to time.

This article demonstrates how important social media to the users and why they use social media is. The main drawback of this article is that the samples are small. Number of interviewers was only 25, which is not enough for the research. Although the numbers of samples were less, this can help the business to understand the utility of their customers. This research findings by Whiting, A, & Williams, D will give general idea to the organisation to do marketing effectively on digital platform.

2.3 Risks Involved in Social Media Marketing

According to Rusty Cawley (2011), there are some risks involved which organisation should consider before using digital platform. When an organisation starts using social media marketing they are more focused on the opportunities. There is risk involved in using social media marketing tools. Organisation ignores these risks involved and it affects the business. Business should consider these risks in forming their strategies. Rusty Cawley defined eight reasons which should be considered. These are discussed below:

- Network can be Hacked: Social media websites are used by the business to communicate with their customers. Business is directly linked with the consumer with two way communication. The network through which business is connected with their customers can be hacked by activists. Irrelevant posts, comments, blogs, or messages by the activists can damage the brand image.

- Blogging may Harm Brand: Blogging or posing on social media websites can damage brand image. Social media is considered as ethical platform for marketing their brand and products. Business policy of intellectual property is not followed which can create negative impact on business.

- Abuse by the Spammers: Comment section on the posts is considered as feedback from the people. Spammers may use this section to abuse the brand which can give negative impression to other people. Some use it to advertise their products and pages. This makes the objective of social media difficult to achieve for company.

- Respond Time: Customer often posts their complaints or questions on the social media pages or profiles of the organisation. Customers expect quick reply from the organisation regarding the content they asked for. Late replies or no replies from organisation make them frustrate which can lead to losing customers and brand image. Organisation should be prepared for this and has enough front line employees to respond quickly to customers.

- Enough Resources and Time: Launching your business on social media may be economical but maintaining the page or profile is not. Business needs time and resources to share with their customers to make them connected to the business through social media. Audios, Videos, Photos, Texts, etc. are the resources which are required for the social media webpage.

- Business message may become complex: Sometimes posts and messages by the company on its webpage become complex. There starts the never ending conversation between company and audience. This consumes lots of time and affects the company. Company should be careful in posting or messaging any information or idea.

- Social Media Power: Organisation only focuses on the potential of social media. Things change very frequently on digital platform. Return on investment of the organisation can’t be measured through social media. But social media has adverse effect on ROI of the organisation.

- Expose to Self-Inflicted Wounds: Social media may expose company to self-inflicted wounds. On social media organisation has to talk more and remains active 24/7. This can create more chances to make someone annoyed because of some inappropriate item.

In this article Rusty Cawley describes the eight risks an organisation is taking with social media marketing. Despite of these risks involved on the digital platform, big businesses can’t ignore the social media marketing. An opportunity which business has with social media marketing is vast. Organisation can consider these risk factors outlined by Cawley while forming their strategies. If organisation succeeded to overcome these risk factors, then there is massive advantage to achieve its objectives.

2.4 Social Media Advertisement Opportunities:

IAB Australia organised a seminar where individuals from leading industry shared their knowledge about advertisement on social media. It is estimated that the social media expenditure will be rise by $29 Billion by 2015, of which $15 billion increase has been noted in 2012 (Gartner, 2011). According to Gartner’s report in 2012 $8.2 billion has been spent on Ads on social media. This interprets that 55% of spending on social media is on displays/Ads. Social media is providing more opportunities to the business through advertisements. Through this company gets feedback from the people very fast and easily as it is two way process.

According to Neilsen Research (2012), 72% people use social network to keep check on other people contents on these websites. The opportunity for the business is more when people look for contents on these sites. If a business generates contents and avail it on their social media profile, the opportunities for the business is vast. Social media advertisements are likely to be 55% more effective than non-social media advertisements. Consumers are more likely to involve with their products and brand they use/buy on social media. This gives the brand opportunity to make the consumer loyal to the brand/product.

For the accomplishment of social media advertisement goals continues improvements should be done from time to time. Advertiser should follow five simple steps for the success of social media advertisements. Advertiser should plan things first and then apply it in practical. Promoter must keep regular check on the ongoing campaign and take necessary actions. These actions should be repeated from time to time for efficient and success of advertisement on social media websites (Fisher P, 2012).

There is not much difference in social media advertisements and online advertisements. Social media advertisements should more innovative and artistic. So that more people can participate and show their interest in the campaign. High quality of advertisements on social media will result in attaining the company’s goals. The company’s objectives should be clear in the advertisements campaigns. Company wants to direct response of the people or they are branding their product. This should be clear while planning going social for advertisements.

Advertisements on social media have histrionically changed the opportunities for the business. This digital platform for advertising has changed the organization development and buying behaviour of people. Proper expert’s guidance and advice should be considered while advertising on social media. Trying new and innovative things on this platform will help the company to learn new things at each level. This will take the company to new level of success and will gain effectiveness in their advertisements.

2.5 Social Media Guidelines

Social media is has gained popularity from the past few years. Social Media has become dominant device to communicate with the customers all over the world. As large number of people are involved on digital platform legal risks involved in social media also rises. These risks and issues need to be controlled and understood by the company. Some of the legal guidelines are suggested below by Trotter, J (2013):

- Qualified Supervisors for Issues Raised: Employees should be qualified enough to respond to the issues raised on social network. Business executives should provide enough information to their online employees. Social media requires instant awareness. Employees should not harass or discriminate anyone on company’s social network. For legal proceedings internet evidences for discrimination is been considered.

- Don’t Encourage Anticompetitive Practises: Company should make strong policies against the involvement of competitors on their social network. Employee should not comment or involve the rivals into any kind of discussion on company’s social account. No such information should be shared on company’s social account which violates the antitrust laws. Anticompetitive practises are illegal whether it is on social media or on any other media.

- Truth and Accuracy Laws in Advertising: Company should obey the truth and accuracy law while advertising their product. Product information being put on social media should not mislead the consumers. This should be taken into context that the information which is shared with consumers should be true and accurate.

- Company Owns Social Media Accounts: Julie Trotter interpreted that the social media account of the company should be owned by the company itself not by their employees. Employees do get involved with the working of the social media account, but not have possession of it. Any account on any social media website under the name of company or product or trademarks is the property of company.

- Social Media Policies for Employees: Company must form social media policies for their employees to ensure their working effectively and accurately on social media. Policies should encourage employee and save the time. Company’s policies and employees boundaries should be clear to the employee. There should be no confusion in employees mind; any confusion with the policies can affect the company in negative way.

2.6 How to Grow Your Audience on Social Media:

Social media / networking websites have gained popularity in past few years. These websites can be easily accessed all over the world at any time through internet. Facebook is the social media website which has attracted most of the people around the world. Facebook started in 2004 and now it has got billions of people from all over the globe using it. These social media websites are group of networks to interact with people socially (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009). Sharing information on these websites is very easy and convenient for the users (Akrimi & Khemakhem, 2012).

Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc. (2012), published an article in which they described 4 ways to grow audience on social media. These methods are described below in detail:

- Distribute Content: Company on social media should distribute content on their accounts in different social website. Contents being provided on the social media website will help the company to gain more people on their social page/account. To gain more audience on the social media website company should try to generate different type of content to the people. The content provided should not be boring rather it should be entertaining and contains fun. People are more likely to come back on the company social media if they are attainment something pleasurable.

- Engage: Involvement of people on the company’s social media is very important. If people are not engaged with the activities of the company on social media then growing more audience is very difficult. Company should encourage people to comment, share and participate with the activities on social media. If people are involving themselves with the content provided by the company. Then growing audience will be much quicker and easier. Customers on social media may ask any question on the company account/page. Company should be ready to give the response to certain post as soon as possible.

- Community Leader: Social media is the platform which provides the company coverage all over. Company should update all the news, perspectives, photos, videos, events, etc. on the social media. This means company is not only focused to promote the product but also various activities being taken place all over the world. Company should build strong connections with reputed people and companies to grow their audience. Engagement with these people will make the company visible on social media. More people can be reached by the company by this and goodwill also grows.

- Database: People who like or follow the company on the social media are more interested in the content. Company should build their database to deal with their consumers. On social media company should encourage their consumers to sign up for e-newsletters, contests and other promotions. Social media is marketing effort at heart it should not ruin company’s reputation.

These reviewed articles will help the author in further research over the case study analysis and discussion. These articles by different authors will enable me to support my discussion in the further section. This has also provided the author wide knowledge about social media marketing. In doing more research over the case study the knowledge gained from the literature review will be very beneficial. The literature review and discussion over the case study will help the author to critical analyse the importance of social media in international business. It will assist the author in linking the theoretical knowledge gained from literature review with the case study discussion as practical.

Case Study Analysis and Discussion

The Coca‑Cola Company is the world's leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups, and produces over 500 brands (Nielson, 2012). Coca-Cola was established in 1886 by Pharmacist Dr John S Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. Cola-Cola is now sold in more than 200 countries. In world’s top 5 non-alcoholic beverages brands Coca-Cola owns 4 of it (Muhtar Kent, 2013). Coca‑Cola has developed to be the world's most ubiquitous brand, with more than 1.8 billion beverage servings sold each day.

Organisation Perspective (B2B) or Customers Perspective (B2C)

Coca-Cola Company marketing strategies focus on both the aspects B2B and B2C. B2B and B2C go hand in hand in the operations of the business in international business marketing. Coca-Cola practices both perspectives to target more audience, accelerate their growth and raise awareness among people (Lucy Handley, 2012). Coca-Cola doesn’t sell their products directly to consumers. Their products are available to consumers through supermarket and retailers. Coca Cola Supplies their products to supermarkets and retailers to serve their consumers.

Suppliers and Business partners plays a vital role in the success of the coca cola business. They help the company to serve billions of people around the world every day (Journey Staff, 2013). Coca Cola is only directly connected with their customers through the vending machines across the world. Coca Cola is marketed most through the supermarkets and retailers who sell Coca Cola on their behalf. But the main focus of the Coca Cola Company is on consumers. The Consumers which are served everyday through the supermarkets and retailers are the customers of Coca-Cola. That is why Coca-Cola spend huge amount of money on advertisements and campaigns. In the discussion over the case study of Coca-Cola author will focus on the B2C a Consumer Perspective. The main emphasis of the discussion will be on consumers i.e. B2C.

3.1 Coca-Cola on Social Media Websites

Coca Cola has gigantic supporters on the social media websites. Coca Cola approaches their customers through these social media websites as they do physically. Numbers of people engaged with Coca-Cola on the social media websites are shown in the image below:

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People from all over the world engage with the activities on these social media websites of Coca-Cola. Coca Cola is very iconic brand and most popular on social media. Company has some rules and principles set for their employees, how to connect with the people on these social media websites.

Use of Social Media by Coca Cola

Coca Cola’s ways of doing marketing on digital platform is very different as compared to other companies. Coca Cola make new things to engage the customers on their social media page. All the activities used by the Coca Cola to be an active user helps in creating customer relationship. Coca Cola’s fan page is one of the most popular fan pages on Facebook. The main objective of this page is to increase the trust bank (John Sviokla, 2010). Coca Cola doesn’t post things on their Facebook page every hour or day, they leave page without posting anything for a week maximum. They use Facebook page to maintain their brand image and awareness to their customers (David Moth, 2013).

Coca Cola main objective on social media is too aware people about their ad campaigns. Ad campaigns are taking place all over the world by Coca Cola. Coca Cola use these social media as a platform to present their campaigns in front of people. The response Coca cola get from people regarding these ad campaigns is quite remarkable in regard to any other brand. Coca Cola also has pages of their other brands on Facebook like Diet Coke, Coke Zero, etc. Figure below is the overview of the Coca Cola Facebook page which shows clearly the engagement of people and coca cola on this page (Coca-Cola's Facebook Statistics, 2013).

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The Growth rate of Coca Cola Facebook page is enormous from last years. This can be clearly determined from the following graph of growth in number of like has almost doubled in less than 2 years.

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Coca Cola also has 2,133,237 followers on twitter and still growing. Coca Cola tweets 40 times a day on their twitter account. They engage with the people and respond to their queries frequently and as soon as possible. Coca Cola social team hardly posts any marketing messages and instead primarily use Twitter to respond to @mentions (David Moth, 2013). Number of complaints, compliments and questions of the followers are answer every day by the social team. There are still no of @mentions that goes unanswered. Coca Cola is trying to employee more people on their social team to respond 100% to the followers. The summary of the Coca Cola on twitter account is shown in the below image (Twitter Analytics, 2013).

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Twitter account of coca cola is growing at 3% and their profile performance is 73% which is significant. Over the past 2 years followers on Coca Cola twitters has increased more than 3 times. Number of followers on Coca Cola twitter account over a period of time is shown in the below graph.

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The audience following Coca Cola on twitter is clear and can be easily targeted. Coca Cola use twitter to communicate with people conveniently. This helps the company to create brand awareness and build relationship with the people by responding to their queries.

Facebook and Twitter are one of the famous social media websites around the world. Coca Cola is very much successful in their social media marketing through these websites. They are connected with millions of users throughout the world on these networks only.

3.2 Coca-Cola’s Digital Marketing Campaigns

Coca Cola has achieved some notable successes in digital marketing. Some of the remarkable digital marketing campaigns which involve huge number of people around the world are discussed below:

1. Happiness Machine: Coca Cola happiness machine campaign is very effective all over the world. In this campaign the coca cola vending machine delivers happiness into university students. A machine is set up in university campus with hidden cameras to record the reaction of the students towards the happiness they got from the vending machine. The machines not only distribute coke but also flowers, cakes, pizzas, burgers, etc.

According to AJ Brustein, Director of Interactive Strategy Coca Cola, company has spent zero in promoting this campaign. One post on Facebook and one tweet on Twitter and the video is spread all over the world. Within few weeks millions of viewers on YouTube for that campaign video. Paul McClay creative director coca cola, says that the video was to make people enjoy. Anything humour people like to share with others, that’s the reason there were such huge numbers of viewers on the happiness machine campaign (Meaghan Edelstein, 2010).

The reaction of people captured through hidden cameras was later put on YouTube gained huge response of people throughout the world. This campaign helps the company to earn goodwill towards the brand and millions of viewers on YouTube. With low level of investment coca cola enlarged the positive impact of Happiness Machine campaign towards company.

2. London Olympics 2012: Coca Cola is partner with Olympics games from 84 years. In London 2012 games they launched the campaign Move to the Beat. This was produced by Mark Ronson and Vocalist Kate B. This campaign is launched to target the teenagers and youth in UK during the Olympics Games and bring them closer to the games (Tom Degun, 2011).

The key elements of this campaign are Coca Cola Song, The Documentary, The Facebook App and Coca Cola Games Pavilion (Sanjay Guha, 2012). The coca cola song was created by Mark Ronson and Kate B. Mark Ronson travelled four continents to meet 5 Olympic players from which behind the scene documentary is made. The Facebook app was launched through which people can interact with campaign anytime anywhere. Different beats of coca cola songs can be shared with friends. The coca cola set up games pavilion inspired by move the beat.

Coca Cola was the second most spoken brand during the Olympic Games time on social media. More than 25 million views have been recorded for Move to the Beat campaign videos. Coca cola has achieved 242 million social web impressions, 39 million on Facebook and 546,000 on YouTube and Beat TV. Move to the Beat was mentioned 246,000 times on Facebook. This campaign also helps the coca cola to attract 1.5 million additional Facebook fans and 21,000 Twitter followers (David Moth, 2013). Through success of the campaign, Coca Cola aims to be ever more aspiring and growing based on digital trends.

3. Coke Zone: Coca Cola launched a website coke zone ( for coke fans. This online platform is for coke lovers. Coke Zone allows the individual to win prizes and find new videos updated by Coke. Various promotions and new flavours currently running or coming in market can be found on this website (William White, 2013). Coca Cola encouraged people to sign up on this network, which made it successful.

After the launch of the website has got highest number of visitors on any grocery brand three times in a row. In the first year the online presence and number of people engaging with the company is rapidly increasing. This program continues to offer rewards, prized, news and information about the brand to general public (Cathryn Sleight, 2009).

This launched online magazine of coca cola was very successful. Industry-average open and click-through rates 29% and 6% respectively rises up to 49% and 71% with loyalty communication. In the first year after the launch of this website coke zone has received more than 900,000 entries of which they distributed more than 30,000 rewards to their fans. Monthly site statistics show that dwell time averages nine minutes, and prize draw entries total 116,497 (David Moth, 2013).

4. Share a Coke: Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign in which Coca-Cola name on the Coke bottles are swapped with some selected popular names from the country. This campaign made the brand more distinctive and personalised for the people. More than 70% consumers feel that personalised content is more interesting in building relationship customers. The following Image on left side is shared by one of the user on Facebook while sharing Coke with his Mates. The right Image is shared by user on Twitter account.

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This campaign was very successful because of excitement in people for personalised content on Coke bottle. Consumers who watched advertisement on TV was very happy to know about this content. People are more likely to share picture with their name on coke bottle or their friends or family on Facebook and Twitter. In the image below it can be clearly determined how successful this campaign worked on social platform. (Stephan Shakespeare, 2013).

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This campaign was started in Australia in 2011; there was increase in consumption of Coke by 7% by youth. This campaign got 18,300,000 online buzz impressions in total. The Facebook page of coca cola activities increased by 870% and the growth rate of pages likes during the campaign was 39% (Tim Grimes, 2013). This campaign also helped Coca Cola to increase their sales as well. According to IRI Worldwide Data, 4.93% increase has been noted in Coca Cola Sales. In UK alone sales has been increased by 2.75% (Lara O'Reilly, 2013).

5. Super Bowl 2012: In Coca Cola Super Bowl 2012 Ad Campaign two polar bear will react in real time on field action. Coca cola aimed to interact with 60 Million people who will use second screen to while watching game. People can ask questions and post their pictures on Facebook or Twitter. Polar Bear will respond to the question and the picture will be displayed by the bear using tablet (David Moth, 2012). The engagement of people seems to be strong in this campaign. During the games Coca Cola Polar Bear got 9 million checked in on Facebook, Twitter and other digital platforms (Seth Fiegerman, 2013).

6. Tweet Your Christmas Wish: Christmas wish tweet campaign in which people can tweet their wish on twitter, which will be displayed on giant neon sign in Piccadilly Circus. The tweet displayed within 1 hour. People can tweet and see the message on online platform if they are not present physically. There were 94 tweets per day, with total of 864 tweets displayed and total 6278 Views on webcam online. These are not surprising numbers but the campaign was quite neat (David Moth, 2013).

3.3 Coca Cola’s Social Media Efficiency

Social media is playing a crucial role in Coca Cola marketing success. Wendy Clark (2012), Senior Vice President of integrated marketing communication and capacities at Coca-Cola in her interview with Bloomberg TV spoken about how they use social media. Coca-Cola serves 1.8 billion people per day; on Facebook alone they have 75 million likes. According to Nielsen Media Buzz Metrics, 90 % of people consider the recommendations on the social media websites. Clark said that people on social media rate and rank their posts on this platform. More than 75 million people have friends who are not fanning of Coke but if they post or recommend a product of coke to their friends. Then the results will be very positive for the company. As in study it has been interpreted that 90% people do consider such recommendations.

Coca Cola has earned the customers trust one of the key element of marketing success suggested by Wikman, B and Cottrell, C. Clark in the interview said that social media is extremely important to build relationship with customer for Coca Cola. This can be very easily determined by the figures discussed before the engagement of people on Facebook and Twitter with a high growth rate within short period of time. People are attractive towards the Coca Cola profiles on social media just because they trust them. Clark reveals that social media doesn’t cost any money to the company. Whereas digital campaigns which are taking place all over the world are in big digits.

Whiting, A and Williams, D in the study determined that 64% of people use social media websites for entertainment. Coca Cola is providing content to people to have fun on the social media websites. For instance Share a coke campaign in which people share coke on social media with their names on it is very innovative strategy to get people involved on social media. On YouTube Coca cola has Millions of views on the campaign videos they upload. Happiness machine campaign has millions of views on YouTube. People feel the campaign very entertaining and very positive reviews on the video.

Still there are risks involved with such number of people involved on social network with Coca Cola. Spammers or people with bad experience can abuse the company on social media websites determined by Rusty Cawley. In the interview Clark also said that these Abuses can’t be controlled. This has risk to the company, but every positive step is taken to control such situations. Coca Cola engage on the social media websites with their customers all the time. If such situations arise they try to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

3.4 Social Media Guiding Principle to Grow Audience

The recommendations outlined by Trotter, J (2013) and Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc. (2012) to help the company work efficiently on social media. According to Trotter, J, Company should have qualified supervisors and policies should be set for the employees. Coca Cola has very closed supervision over the conflicts that arose on the social media website. They have trained their employees to deal with such situations so professionally that it won’t harm the brand image.

Coca Cola has set certain policies to their social media employees who interact with people on company behalf. As Trotter defined social media policies foe employees is the key aspect for the success of social media. Employees should know what are expected from them on this digital platform. Coca Cola has defined ten social media guidelines to their employees before they go online (Social Media Principles, 2013). These guidelines are strictly followed and supervised by the employees of the company. The social media accounts of coca cola are owned by the company but operated by the employees of the company (Vivienne Storey, 2010). Social media accounts should be owned by the company interpreted by Trotter,J. which is applicable in Coca Cola Company.

Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc. (2012), describes four method to grow audience on social media. To grow audience on social media the first aspect is to distribute content to the people who are linked on the social media websites. Coca Cola is providing fresh and different kind of content to their customers. All the digital campaigns are innovative which engage the customers 24/7 on social media website (Dechay Watts, 2013).

The second aspect was to engage with the people on the social media websites. Coca Cola is 24/7 connected to their customers on all the social media networks. Coca Cola engage with their customers on the social media network through their digital campaigns. Each day people discuss and talk about Coca Cola on social media in thousands of conversations (Tim Davies, 2013).

Coca Cola is providing all the relevant information to their customers through this digital platform. The company is not only focused to promote their product but also their activities all over the world. Last aspect is database, Coca Cola Company also keep all the records of the conversations held on the social media websites. Any interaction with the consumers are recorded which later can be used for lawful activities. Online company statement can help to monitor the working of employees and people response towards certain contents (Chris Boudreaux, 2013).

The key guidelines outlined by Trotter, J (2012) are entirely followed by the Coca Cola. This helps the company to avoid any legal risks on social media websites. As these guidelines are followed by Coca Cola threats and problems involved can easily be controlled and understood by the company. The four aspects suggested by Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc. (2012), to grow audience are strictly followed by the Coca Cola Company. This can be easily interpreted through the increasing figures on the social media website of Coca Cola. The growth rate is constantly increasing from past few years.

3.5 Does Social Media Strategies always work?

As Coca Cola Company is using social media successfully and efficiently does that mean that social media strategies always work for companies? All the digital campaigns and social media strategies of coke had a huge success with short period of time. But this does not mean that social media strategies always work for the businesses. Sometimes activities on social media can went viral in negative manner as well. This can harm the brand image on social media and in other ways as well. Here are some of the digital campaigns by some well-known brands in the world which went wrong:

1. McDonald's #McDStories Campaign: McDonald’s launched campaign #McDStories in which people around the world share their experience with McDonald’s. This campaign backfire the company soon after its launch (Thomas Mucha, 2012). The Hashtag Becomes Bashtag for McDonald’s when people sharing horrible and bad experience they had with them. McDonald’s soon after the launch of campaign realised that it is not helping their company. Within two hours they pulled back the campaign as it started damaging their brand image (Kashmir Hill, 2012).

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In the images above it is clearly shown that people are sharing their bad experiences with McDonald’s. McMuffin has been compared with cigarette; even the follower who worked at McDonald’s twitted a negative message.

Coca-Cola Share a Coke digital campaign and McDonald’s #McDStories campaign are somehow similar. In Share a Coke people share Coke on Coca Cola social media. This campaign was a huge success as we discusses before. So where McDonald’s did mistakes in their campaign that it backlashes. McDonald’s want their customer to engage with them on social media for no reason but to share their stories (Sara C Nelson, 2012). Whereas Coca Cola make their customers to share a coke on the social media. McDonald’s did nothing innovative for which people appreciate them on social media as Coke did by putting names on Coke bottles.

The other reason for the failure of this campaign is that the company failed to explain the true meaning of #McDStories to their customers. The hashtag used by McDonalds released a destructive content towards the brand image (Hollis Thomases, 2012). This was not first time for the McDonald’s. When in the previous year they started a campaign to promote #HeresTheBeef hashtag it didn’t worked well. People responded rudely and most tweets were not linked to the hamburger. It is quite sure that McDonald’s is not able to clarify their digital campaigns to their consumers (Matt Brownell, 2012).

2. PepsiCo. Dub the Dew Campaign: Mountain Dew PepsiCo Brand launched a website in 2012 In this campaign customers will engage on the website and give name to the upcoming Green Apple Flavour of Mountain Dew (David Kiefaber, 2012). This website was hacked by the pranks-’n’-memes factory 4chan or Reddit. On the website they uploaded the video in which Mountain Dew salutes Israeli Mossad for thrashing 3 buildings in 9/11. Not only this they also changed the names on the top leader boarded (Huffington Post, 2012).

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The image above shows the list of top 10 names on the Dub the Dew campaign website. Leader board names ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’, ‘Gushing Granny’, ‘Fapple’, ‘Diabeetus’, etc. were suggested to name the new Green Apple Flavour of Mountain Dew.

Rusty Cawley (2011) outlined some of the risks involved in social media marketing. Some of the risk factors which affected the Dub the Dew campaign were Network can be Hacked, Blogging may Harm Brand , Abuse by the Spammers and Enough resources and time. The website was hacked and the video posted harmed the brand image. It can be said that PepsiCo didn’t had enough resources and time to manage the campaign.. “Hitler did nothing wrong,” “Diabeetus,” and “Gushing Granny” all topped the online rankings to name the new drink. Due to which was hacked and misused. Company soon after was able to shut down the website but it has already harmed the brand (Everett Rosenfeld, 2012).

3 Starbucks #SpreadtheCheer Campaign: Starbucks launched campaign #SpreadtheCheer in 2012 near Christmas. In the campaign a big screen was setup at the Natural History Museum where Starbucks sponsored the ice rink. This big screen displays the Tweet messages with hashtag #SpreadtheCoffee (Telegraph Staff, 2012). This campaign backfire Starbucks as tax issues were raised on the hashtag spread the Cheers campaign. Starbucks has paid £8.5 million as tax from their profits of £3billion in Britain in last 14 years. People who were disappointed with the tax concern tweets on this hashtag, which harm the company brand (Todd Wasserman, 2012).

Some of the negative tweets are shown in the below images. People twitted inappropriate content on #SpreadtheCheers. The messages twitted were related to the tax. They ask the company to pay tax and suggest people to go to local cafes who pay tax.

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Similar campaign was launched by Coca-Cola ‘Tweet Your Christmas Wish’ in which tweets by followers were displayed on the screen in Piccadilly Circus. This campaign was for few days but the response was positive. The main reason for the Starbucks campaign being backfired is that the tweets were not checked. People can Tweet a message directly on #SpreadtheCheers which will be displayed on the screen (Rosie Baker, 2012). Whereas in Tweet Your Christmas Wish campaign message is filtered and displayed within two hours on the display.

4. American Airlines Twitter Respond: American Airlines started responding to every tweet on the way in February. This automated responds thanks people for their support. Even to the critical and offensive tweets American Airlines answer back the same reply. Image below clearly shows that a person making fun of American Airlines on twitter due to their auto respond and they reply the same message (Business Insider, 2013).

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This auto respond activity can results in negative impact on company and can harm the brand image. In the Image above it is clearly shown that, American Airline is thanking one of his followers for making fun of them and being abusive on twitter. Although this was not a big social media disaster but yet it effects the Brand. Auto Respond activity can’t work effectively for the brand with huge number of followers on social media websites.

3.6 Coca Cola 4R Social Media Approach

Coca Cola use 4R social media approach to be successful on digital platform. These 4R are Review, Respond, Record and Redirect. Adam Brown former executive director social media at Coca Cola gave presentation on Word of Mouth Super Genius in New York. In the presentation he explains how Coca Cola is approaching their customers on social media. Further he describes the 4R strategy to make effective use of social media ( Editor, 2010). The 4R Social media approach of Coca Cola is explained below:

1. Review: In review part company evaluates what people are talking about them on the social media websites. Coca Cola monitors programs to analyse their customer’s response (Harry Klein, 2009). As in the image below it can be seen that how Coca Cola is trying to get reviews from their customers.

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In this Coca Cola ask their customers on Facebook page about the next development agenda. People have to give 6 priorities from 15 available programs. As we can see that there are 1713 comments and 296 shares on this post. This means that Coca Cola can now review these comments and the webpage to vote to generate relevant content.

2. Respond: Responding to the people who are connected to the company on social media websites is important. Company should respond to the customer very clearly and full patently. Coca Cola responds to their customers on social media website very frequently and appropriate to the subject (Navarrette, 2012). Coca Cola has set up certain guidelines for their employees who are online on behalf of company. Below is the two images one from Coca Cola Facebook Page and other from Twitter Account.

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As we can see that Coca-Cola despite of having millions of people connected with them on social media websites they do respond. These screen shots expresses that Coca Cola do respond to their customers quickly and relatedly.

3. Record: Short video records which can respond to the conversations held online. The video should be focused and pleasurable as well that educates and enlightens customers. Coca Cola has thousands of videos uploaded on YouTube which has millions of views (Adam Brown, 2010). The Image below shows the short videos by coca cola explain about their recycle plan and other activities.

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4. Redirect: Company should redirect all the content to their customers on social media websites. Coca Cola use ‘Cross Pollenization’ to distribute the content to their customers on various digital platforms. This improves the ranking of the content and easy for the customers to find relevant content (Adam Brown, 2012).

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In the image above the video recorded is shared with the people on different platforms i.e. Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Coca Cola Website. This content can be viewed by user on any media very easily.

The Coca Cola 4R approach is very effective as they are doing very well on social media websites. Coca Cola listens to their customers and respond them frequently, which is very important for the company. The feedback which get from their customers they put them together to make content. The content then is spread on the entire available digital platform (Alina Popescu, 2010).

3.7 Coca Cola 70/20/10 Approach

Coca Cola has a concept marketing strategy which is named 70/20/10. It is a framework which helps the Coca Cola in providing a path to plan the content to be created (Daniel Blinman, 2012). This model helps the company in learn and growth, this has also been implemented by Google as well for source and innovates. Coca Cola is using 70/20/10 approach as investment principle for creating content (Neil Perkin, 2012).

The first segment of 70% relates to the communication and interaction. This content generated from communication is very low in risks. Then next 20% of the content is innovative based on the assumptions and experiences of the company. The last 10% of the content is highly risky. Company needs to be prepared for the success of failure from the content. This 10% can be part of 20% and 70% after being successful in marketplace (Jonathan Mildenhall, 2011).

Joe Tripodi Marketing Chief at Coca Cola said that "We invest 70% of our resources in existing products, 20% in innovations related to existing products, and 10% in pure innovations.’’ (Avi Dan, 2012). This can be described as what company is doing ‘Now’ (70%), what ‘New’ (20%) is and what is ‘Next’ (10%) (Josh Leibowitz, 2013). The 20% content helps Coca Cola to deepen the 70% content. The rest 10% content is which keeps it well-balanced.

3.8 Significance of Social Media for Business

Social Media is the tool which can be used for different business strategies. Although there are firms who struggles with using this digital platform to generate positive results. This digital platform has changed the face of firms operating internationally and domestically. Social media is one of the greatest networking tools. Firms operating internationally need this tool for its development and to operate business internationally (Cindy, 2012). If the Social media is implemented by the company successfully it can help the business in many ways. Impacts of social media on international businesses are discussed below in detail:

- Campaigns: Social media can help the business in building up brand image on this platform. Company can launch and generate different campaigns to gain attention of the people on social media websites. Digital platform provides a huge opportunity to the company to successfully implement their tactics (Admin, 2012). The campaigns are not necessarily to be social; they can be physical and later share on the social media websites. These campaigns provide a vast coverage for the business to connect with their customers.

- Human Resources: According to Mashable, social media also has impact the human resource of the business. The progress of 43% has been examined in the human resources. This improvement is because of hiring employees from the social media websites. People who are seeking for jobs through social media websites are likely to be hired by the firms (Sara Roncero, 2013).

- Sales: Social media has negative and positive impact on the sales. If the company is doing well on social media it can increase their sales to some extent. If company is not doing well or anything negative on social media went viral can affect the brand sales. Social media helps in generating direct sales from their customers connected to them. More than 50% marketers believes that social media has helped them to boost their sales. Dell Co. revealed that their presence on Twitter generated $3Million in PC sales (Allie Russell, 2013).

- Word of Mouth: Word of mouth is better than sales as if something positive about the brand or product have gone viral. It has huge impact over the business. The image below speaks itself that how word of mouth / viral marketing affects the business (Leslie Nuccio, 2013).

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When things go viral it has no limits of targets to it is going to hit. People pay attention to the word of mouth and as more people see the offer more people is going to consider it and refer it to others. This word of mouth if went wrong can negatively affect the business.

- Customer Service: Customer service through social media is very important factor which impact the business. Social customer service will help the brand in making strong relations with the customers and increase their goodwill. In the study it is examined that 71% people who received assistance through social media develops loyalty towards the company. Overall 33% customer feels comfortable to reach company through social media rather than in person or telephone (Ishbel Macleod, 2013).

- Target Customers: Social media has changed the way of targeting marketing for the business. Marketers have increased the budget for paid social media ads for 2013 (Patricia Redsicker, 2013). The budget is increased by advertisers because it is easy to target right audience on social media.

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Advertisers surveyed have revealed that 53% customers are approached through Facebook. Whereas 43% are approached through LinkedIn and 36% are approached through Twitter.

3.9 Does Social Media Influence Coca Cola Sales?

Coca Cola has millions of people connected to them on social media websites. They are very much successful on this digital platform to connect to their customers throughout the world. Huge success on social media websites will definitely impact the sales of the company. This statement is not true with Coca Cola. Coca Cola claims that social media doesn’t influence their sales in short term period (Jack Neff, 2013). Despite of having such a strong network on digital platform their sales are not increasing.

Eric Schmidt, Marketing Strategy Senior Manager and Insights at Coca-Cola, reported the results at a meeting of the Advertising Research Foundation. He reveals that Coca Cola sales are not influenced by online buzz. Social media has only affected the sales of the company by 0.01% (Matt McGee, 2013). He added that they have seen statically any relationship between online buzz and sales.

More than 50% of the marketers surveyed states that social media is assisting them to increase their sales. This statement and survey seems to be false in case of Coca Cola Company Sales. Dell Company exposed that their sales have been increased by $3Million just because of their presence on Twitter. Coca Cola having 76Millions people on Facebook alone claims that their sales are not affected by social media websites.

If social media is not influencing sales that doesn’t mean Coca Cola is wasting their time on the social media websites. Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola’s Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities said that Social media is crucial for the company. She added that their plans are not only social or TV or mobile, but Social media is playing a vital role. It creates impact on market, interaction with customers and brand image (Brafton Editorial, 2013).

Coca Cola Claims that Social Media doesn’t work for sales. A study showed that advertisements on social media work equally as on TV or through other sources (Farhad Manjoo, 2013). A 2013 ‘Digital Influence’ survey found that social media is very effective in generating sales. With 30.8% respondents responded that Facebook influence the buying behaviour of consumers (John Swartz, 2013). Social network allows the user to connect with brand and other users. They share photos, videos, news, ideas, information, and knowledge etc. about the brand which create impact on purchase manners.

It is a surprising thing that social media doesn’t impact sales in Coca Cola. Things are opposite and totally different with Coca Cola as with others. The reason behind this is that Coca Cola is so well known in the whole world. It doesn’t make any impact on short term sales (Ryan Holiday, 2013). There is 1.8billions consumption of Coca Cola brands all over the world.

According to Patricio Robles (2013), ‘S’ doesn’t stands for sales in social media for Coca Cola. This doesn’t mean they are not focused on social media websites. Coca Cola is doing very well and successful on social media websites. If sales are not being lifted by social media for Coca Cola, there are other reasons for which they are focused on these websites. As discussed before they engage with customer to create content. Social media websites is very beneficial for Coca Cola for innovation and development.


This dissertation has described the importance of social media websites for the organisations. Using example of the firm who is operating its business world widely the significance of digital platform is explained. Coca Cola Company case study is taken into context to demonstrate the importance of digital arena in international business management. A number of theories and literature has been studied to critically analyse the social media network of Coca Cola Company. Social media is the best tool for marketing the product and brand. This dissertation has explained how Coca Cola Company is using this tool to reach their customers and how successful they are in it.

Aim of this dissertation was to study the concept of social media websites in today’s world. The concept of social media websites seems to be simple and clear, but in fact it is very complicated for the business to use it for marketing. The main purpose of this study was to find out how beverage industry (Coca Cola) is using this digital platform to communicate with their customers all over the world. This was the interesting thing to find out how they interact with their customers on social media from different countries with different language. This study and case study was designed to find out what is the impact of digital arena on the firms operating their business internationally.

Literatures from academic sources have been reviewed to apply on the case study and analyse and interpret results. Article by Wikman, B and Cottrell, C suggested 5 ways for the success of social media marketing. The result of this article helped the author to support the discussion over Coca Cola Company case study. The five ways which were suggested by Wikman and Cottrell assist the author to find out how efficiency in social media marketing can be obtained. Another article by whiting, A and Williams, D determines why people use social media. They used a theory on bases of that they interview 25 people for the results. They came up with ten key points which showed the reason for which people use social media websites. The results of this study supported the idea of targeting right people through social media. The segmentation for digital platform can be done by considering the findings of this research.

An article by Rusty Cawley about the risks involved in social media marketing found the factors which can harm the business on this platform. This study shows the risk factors involved for the firm while going online. This study assisted the author to understand the risk factors involved in social media marketing. This article also helped the author to find out what measures Coca Cola Company is taking to avoid such risks. IAB Australia in a seminar outlined the opportunities via social media. This seminar enables to find wide scope of advertisement through social media marketing.

Further research on social media contents find out the article of Trotter, J about social media guidelines. This article helped the author to find out the guiding principle which company should for efficient use of this platform. The findings of the research helped in analysing strategies of Coca Cola and their relationship with this theoretical research. Once company have proper guidelines, there requires to know how to gain audience on this platform. Article regarding the methods to grow your audience helps to identify the techniques Coca Cola is to grow their following on this digital platform.

The case study analysis of the Coca Cola Company social media marketing assists in understanding the importance of digital arena in international business. This study focused on the importance from customer’s perception. The study showed how Coca Cola use Facebook and Twitter one of the famous social networking websites. Further research on the social accounts Coca Cola indicated that they are doing very well on digital platform. The growth rate and followers of Coca Cola on Facebook and Twitter is noteworthy. They have got millions of people connected on social media throughout the world.

Various digital campaigns of Coca Cola Company were discussed and results were interpreted. There are in total 6 digital campaigns of Coca Cola digital marketing taken into context. These campaign are clarified the operating of Coca Cola on the digital platform. These findings enhance the authors understanding over the success of Coco Cola digital marketing. These campaigns have got huge success on the social media websites. This helped the company to create get feedback of people and create more innovative content.

The findings of the Coca Cola digital campaign contributes to the current literature. Firstly Coca Cola with huge online network helps then in promote their products and brand through customers. This was supported by the Survey of Nielsen Media Buzz Metrics that 90% of people consider recommendations on social media. The success of Coca Cola social media platform is supported by the key elements suggested by Wikman and Cottrell.

The current findings add extensively to our understanding of why are people connected to Coca Cola. The reason is the innovative content which they provide to their customers on social media entertainment them. In the research by Whiting and William found that 64% people connect with you for entertainment purpose. Crawley outlined various factors which can harm the business with social media marketing. The findings enhance the understanding over what are the measure Coca Cola is taking to avoid such risk. Company is engaged 24/7 with customers, positive steps taken to avoid this, and more employees hired to connect with people.

The current findings add to a growing body of literature on guiding principles to grow audience. Coca Cola has set certain policies and principles for their employees who are representing Coca Cola. As suggested by Trotter that principles and closed supervision should be there, this can be found in Coca Cola. Coca Cola is provides content and engage with their customers very frequently. That is the reason why they have millions of people connected with them on social media websites. This contributes to the existing knowledge of Duncan McIntosh Company provided ideas to grow audience on social media.

Coca Cola Company being successful on social media can teach other firms how to make effective use of it. Some other brands have been considered to recognise the strategies of Coca Cola which makes them different and successful. In the research it is found that what the factors these brands fail in digital campaigns are, as compared to Coca Cola. Coca Cola 4R approach determined the ways the work on digital platform. The 70/20/10 rule clarified the reasons of being successful on social media. Taken together these findings outlined the importance of social media websites in international business.

Despite of having such a huge number of people on social media website Coca Cola is not able to lift their sales as claimed by them. One of the main impacts which social media creates is on sales. This has been denied by Coca Cola by saying that sales are not affected for short term because of social media. Different marketers and advertisers claim that sales of the company are influenced by digital platform. Coca Cola with millions of people on this platform denies this impact.

The current research was not specifically aimed to evaluate the factors related to sales through social media. Study was focused on how Coca Cola use social media and its impact on business. Sales are the important factor which is influenced through digital platform. This research is limited by the sources provided by Coca Cola about impact on sales because of digital platform. Rather than one claim by Coke there were not enough sources of that information. So this research can’t specify more on the impact of digital platform on Coca Cola Sales.


Adam Brown. (2010). How Coca-Cola Empowers Fans From All Over the World. [Online Video]. 20 July 2009. Available from: [Accessed: 26 November 2013]

Adam Brown. (2012). Coca-Cola: Sharing What Matters. [Online Video]. 3 September 2012. Available from: [Accessed: 26 November 2013].

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Importance of the ‘digital arena’ in international business management. Use of social media by Coca-Cola.
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Amritpal Singh Bajwa (Author), 2013, Importance of the ‘digital arena’ in international business management. Use of social media by Coca-Cola., Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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