How to Increase Market Share by Story Telling

Coke’s “Small World Machines” Campaign creative. Picture Courtesy: Campaigns Of The World website

Case in Point: Coke’s Small World Machines Campaign

With the worldwide economic recession in the year 2008, the weakened economy was slowing down the sales of soft drink sales. Coca- Cola reported 18% decrease in its profits in 2008 and trimmed its US workforce by 1500 jobs. The sales in Europe fell by 4% during the same time. Coke’s Europe and North America divisions were hit the most during recession.

But all the above measures only affected the bottom line and were not targeted towards increasing sales. One of the dilemmas that they faced was whether to continue the cost-saving methods to add to the bottom line or to invest in further marketing efforts to increase market share? Continuing with the cost-saving measures would also mean slashing down the marketing efforts, open an opportunity for competitors and losing the top of the mind recall. Like any company this was a very difficult decision to take.

Coke saw it more as an opportunity to grow using the markets that were not hit severely by recession. In 2009 Coca Cola launched its “Open Happiness” campaign, a globally integrated advertising campaign, which proved to be the most successful campaign in driving the sales of Coca- Cola products worldwide. Coca- Cola wanted to duplicate the success of the happiness campaign without fatiguing the audiences with similar advertisements and messaging.

In 2013, as a subset of the “Open Happiness” campaign, Coca Cola launched a “Small World Machines Campaign” with a loftier goal of supporting world peace while still harping on the success of its happiness campaign. The marketing objective was to increase market share through emotional appeal in Pakistan as it already had a high market share in India. But instead of tackling two countries separately, they created a shared experience. Along with agency Leo Burnett, Coke created “Small World Machines” (vending machines with 3D touch screen technology), one placed in India and the other in Pakistan (two countries embroiled in political quarrel), that turned into communication portals. When audience from these two countries would complete a shared task, Coke would be dispensed.

The machines were placed in a crowded mall and saw people completing shared task instantly. The whole phenomenon was recorded at the mall from both countries. The video was then uploaded on its YouTube Channel and garnered one million hits on Day One. On Facebook in the first 15 days the video received 26,205 likes, 6608 shares and Facebook Page received a staggering 1,676,689 new likes. Along with increased brand awareness in Indian and Pakistan, Coke was able to increase its market share from 24% to 32% in Pakistan.

Coke was able to create emotional appeal through shared experience in turn helping achieve business a learning for small companies and start ups that if your content and campaign is relevant, story telling can do wonders! In the era of social media, marketing is more like a driving force than a cost centre. This story just proves that!

Share and like this article if you have a great story to tell.