Friday, 16 December 2011

Creating a culture

I couple of days ago I had the chance of watching  a movie about Coca - Cola and the whole campaign that took place in the US concerning the changing of its initial flavor. Consumers were really upset about the fact that Coca Cola shifted from the traditional to a new flavor. Demonstrations took place around the country and a big national movement against Coca Cola was developed. Finally, Coca Cola decided to drop the project and return to the old flavor.

The movie also consisted of some interviews of people who actually participated in the movement. One of the interviewees mentioned something that really captured my mind: "They did not realize that they were creating culture and not just producing a product". I consider this a very powerful concept that definitely brings a new dimension in the marketing theory perception. How can a company create culture and not just products?

We are looking in the perception of a culture - oriented company rather than a product - oriented company. Coca - Cola has managed to "penetrate" every house, every family, every social, national, international event, every human being. It is literally impossible not to meet a single person around the globe who has not even once had a glass of Coca - Coal in his/her life.

Taking a closer look in the US country itself we can see multidiversity, multinationality, multidimensionality. Coca - Cola has managed to change the rules of the game by bringing to the customer/consumer a sense of belonging, the feeling of being part into something big, the perception of participation and personal wellness through a simple product. Watching the movie, I cannot recall any other such national movement in any place around the world of people being conscious and really being in need for a product which became an integral part of their lives, a product that identified the wants, dreams, fears and hopes. A product that is ultimately related to the great American dream, the land of opportunities, the land where everybody is welcomed, the land of prosperity, the land of hope.

Coca - Cola managed to bring together a nation, it has created around its brand name a world where the consumer is an entity within his/her own comfort zone. Without even studying the corporate part of the story we have realized that for this particular person, consuming Coca - Cola was much more than having a fizzy sweet and even unhealthy drink. Coca - Cola became the incubator for values, for putting problems aside, for bringing happiness and for creating moral standards.

I believe that this is not the time nor the place to analyze whether Coca - Cola is a good or bad product or to go through any unethical behaviors and practices. The aim of this small contribution is to try and see things from a different perspective and understand how such a small product turned out to be a world leader in the refreshments industry and how it managed to be a part of nations life and perceived not only as a simple product but as a means of identity.

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