Coca-Cola: Why isn’t there an App for that?
First of all, I’d like to take this opportunity to express how much I love the Coca-Cola brand. As a young public relations student, I spent upwards of three years studying the branding strategies of this company. I watched hours of YouTube videos highlighting Coca-Cola ad campaigns, studied the types of advertisements that the company used to engage with its target audience, paid close attention to the content of social media posts and read up on any news that came from the company and the wording that they used to inform the public about what was going on in the Coca-Cola Universe. Every decision that the company made while I was studying them seemed so on-point that I came to respect them even more. My brand loyalty to Coca-Cola has become so strong that I’ll choose Coke over Pepsi every chance I get (technically my drink of choice is Diet Coke, but you get the idea.)
Coca-Cola really seems to have their finger on the pulse of what their consumers want and what they have to do to earn the respect of their audience, even in a time when soda sales are on the decline. Even with the current confusion about why the company has chosen to discontinue Coke Zero and instead start sales for Coke Zero Sugar, the majority of the marketing and branding decisions that Coca-Cola makes have had a clear vision and purpose, and their marketing team has always done a spectacular job of communicating that to the public.
In recent years, Coke has transitioned its communication tactics to the digital sphere, and they’ve continued their success online. From posting quirky updates on Facebook about National Burger Day to uploading cooking videos with Coke pairings on YouTube, the company does its best to speak to its target market through popular media, and they’re succeeding.
Even with all of their digital success, there is one department that I really think Coca-Cola could improve on if they really want to up their digital strategy, and that’s by creating a Coke app.
Think about the possibilities that could open up to the company if they created an app; everybody already loves Coke, and giving them a more direct connection to the company right at their fingertips could be the thing that takes the company’s digital strategy from great to extraordinary. So, whether Coke wants it or not, I’m going to lay out my ideas for this, and if somebody on the Coca-Cola PR and Marketing team sees this — look me up if you want to add a smart, well-written professional to your team; I’m pretty awesome and full of ideas. ;)
First of all, as a Millennial, the first thing that I look for in any of my digital interactions with a company is ease, and since I have my phone with me the majority of the time, using it to access information from my favorite brands is the easiest thing for me. I know I don’t speak for every single person in my generation, but research has shown that Millennials are more likely to use apps on their phones than websites on a desktop, because let’s be real, this generation is all about convenience. Creating an app that provides easy access to information about things like nutrition info, rewards programs and vending machine locations could help boost sales and awareness for the company.
Speaking of rewards, this app could become the home of Coke’s rewards program. Submitting rewards on the Coke website is already relatively easy — you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get rewards, you just enter the code on the rewards page and you’re all set. However, holding on to Coke bottles until you can get to a computer to enter the information isn’t always practical or convenient. With an app, customers could simply upload a picture or scan a barcode on the app and — voila — instant rewards. This could lead to an increase in reward submissions, an increase in sales and even an increase in favorable views of the company.
Another feature that could be added to this app is the company’s vending machine locator and vending pass. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out and about, running errands, shopping or working on homework and been absolutely dying for a Diet Coke with no vending machine in sight. As I previously stated, my phone is basically an extension of my hand, and having the location of the nearest Coke vending machine at the tip of my fingers could seriously help people like me who need a dose of caffeine every couple of hours to stay sane. Yes, you can get to the website to look up the vending machine locator from your phone, but getting there is tedious and takes more time than I’d like to spend finding the nearest vending machine. I know that myself and my overly caffeinated comrades would appreciate the ability to find a vending machine before the caffeine withdrawal and the headaches kick in.
Finally, this app could serve as a way to provide Coke’s audience with content, apparel and rewards that are available exclusively through the app. By creating unique content for app users, the company would be showing its customers that it appreciates them and their use of the app, which will ultimately lead to more brand loyalty and awareness. For me personally, I think it would be really interesting to see some content on an app made by the company with behind the scenes videos, messages from the CEO or maybe a customer feature. The possibilities are really endless.
Overall, Coca-Cola’s digital strategy is on-point in so many ways; they engage with customers, they post relevant content and they continue to make purposeful marketing decisions that move the company forward. Creating an app for their loyal customers is the next logical evolution for a company like Coca-Cola, and I truly believe that an app like this would take the company to the next level.