Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry is increasingly using digital marketing
strategies to engage its customers. Internet methods of marketing are quick and can reach
many potential customers in a short time. The use of these channels allows customers to
engage brands in real-time. Companies can respond directly to their customer and create a
personal and long-lasting relationship online. However, uncoordinated online engagement
can be harmful to the company. There is a need to develop holistic FMCG digital strategy
that both influences the consumers and engage them. As one of the biggest multinational
corporations, and one of the most effective companies in digital marketing, Coca-Cola
provides a good case study for examining how social media can be used to engage consumers
and increase sales online. The company uses digital media such as Facebook, Twitter, and
Tumblr to post its promotion messages and engage its customers. The use of creative and
cohesive content across all its communication channels has made Coca-Cola one of the best
brands in the world. It is recommended that the brand can reinforce its image through the use
of mobile marketing. A large population in the world has access to mobile phones. The use of
instant messaging apps and other channels available on mobile phones can enhance
personalized communication with customers.
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FMCG Digital Marketing 4
Section 1: Introduction
Digital media has transformed marketing everywhere, especially in the Fast Moving
Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. Traditional marketing approaches that relied heavily on
the right mix of 4Ps (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion) to target and influence consumer's
decisions are becoming less effective with the digital revolution. Today, buyers are making
decisions differently, and thus, there is a need to change strategies meant to influence this
process. A modern consumer is more exposed to the screens of their laptops and phones than
they are to traditional communication channels such as billboards, televisions, magazines,
radios, and newspapers (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). Additionally, a growing number of
consumers are opting to shop for FMCG online than visit a physical store. A study conducted
by Google and Bain & Co. predicts that more than $11 billion of sales in the FMCG sector
for hygiene and beauty products will be conducted online by 2020 (Jain 2016). This figure
presents more than 60% of the total sales of $17 billion expected in the hygiene and beauty
industry by 2020. This data indicates that online retailing is growing rapidly and there is a
need for organizations to embrace this new channel in order to compete. Companies that
ignore digital marketing will see their profits decline as more consumers shift to ordering and
purchasing products online.
Online and digital marketing channels offer many advantages to businesses, which
cannot be harnessed using traditional approaches (Kapferer 2012). Digital channels provide
entrepreneurs with easy access to different markets. Companies can target a large number of
customers using a single channel of communication (Freeman et al. 2014). Internet methods
of marketing are quick and can reach many potential customers in a short time. Social media
marketing using tools such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn has made it possible
to target audience online (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). Through these channels, it is possible to
do direct advertising and create brand awareness among target consumers (Christodoulides
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2009). Advertisements are more accessible to the target audience at any place and any time
when using online methods. Digital media has no time or place limitation (Solomon, Russell-
Bennett, & Previte 2012). The perpetual display of the brand image can help to improve
awareness. One of the most important aspects of digital advertisement is the ability to
broadcast the message internationally and expand them across geographical boundaries.
Digital marketing is cheaper and cost-effective than traditional channels such as banners,
magazines, radio and television (Armstrong, Adam, Denize, & Kotler, 2014). Digital
marketing provides an opportunity for retailers to direct its customers on how to purchase
online (Kapferer 2012). Online stores are becoming popular as consumers continue to seek
for convenience when purchasing FMCG. However, with increasing competition online,
businesses need to master the right strategy in order to stand out. FMCG companies need to
find a way of integrating the traditional 4Ps marketing mix into the new channels of
communication. There is a need to develop holistic FMCG digital strategy that both
influences the consumers and engage them. As one of the biggest multinational corporations,
and one of the most effective companies in digital marketing, Coca-Cola provides a good
case study for examining how social media can be used to engage consumers and increase
Section 2: Engagement Theory and the Use of Social Media as a Digital Marketing Tool
Consumer engagement has attracted considerable attention in recent marketing literal
work (Dessart, Veloutsou & Morgan-Thomas 2015). The consumer engagement finds its
roots from the early concept of relationship marketing. It offers a further understanding of the
theories of the brand and consumer relationships. This concept explains the experiential and
interactive nature of relationships between brands, but it is not limited to purchase situations
only. The concept has a wider application to include the whole of buyers' decision-making
process. Through engagement, consumers portray behaviors that transcend the traditional
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expectations. An engaged customer is a royal one, and more likely to recommend their
friends (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). From a pragmatic perspective, an engaged consumer base is
becoming the goal of many marketing initiatives. Research has shown a positive association
between customer engagement and improved performance of the brand. These outcomes are
driving further research to explain the relationships between customer engagement and brand
Social networking channels have attracted a lot of interest as tools for enhancing
consumer engagement (West, Ford & Ibrahim 2015). Social media networks such as
Facebook and Twitter offer a new way of connecting brands and consumers. Social media
engagement offers opportunities for organizations to build long-term relationships with their
customers. Organizations can use social networks to build a unique customer experience. A
study by Social Sprout indicates that customers are increasingly using social media channels
to engage brands (York 2017). The attached Appendix A indicates that about 34.5% of
consumers use social media to contact customer care. Emails, live chats and store contacts lag
behind the use of social media channels. This observation indicates the importance of digital
marketing for customer engagement for companies.
Section 3: How the Coca-Cola Company uses Social Media as a Digital Marketing Tool
The Coca-Cola Company is an American manufacturer, marketer, and retailer of non-
alcoholic beverages. The company produces a syrup concentrate and sells it to various
franchised bottlers in the world. In addition, it has acquired companies such as Minute Maid,
Barq’s, Thums Up, Fuze Beverage, Odwalla, ZICO, Suja Life and Honest Tea. In the United
Kingdom, the company operates under the Coca-Cola European Partners PLC. Some of the
notable products marketed by Coca-Cola are Coke, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite,
Ciel, Dasani, SmartWater, Simply Orange, Minute Maid, and Honest Tea (Hepburn 2017).
The attached Appendix B shows some of the products manufactured and marketed by Coca-
FMCG Digital Marketing 7
Cola. The company uses digital media to encourage conversations about its brand. It uses
multiple digital channels to disseminated marketing materials that are engaging, relevant and
viral. One of the most elaborate and viral digital campaigns that Coca-Cola has ever
conducted was during the London Summer Olympics in 2012. The "Move to the Beat"
campaign generated more than 112 million impressions online over the world. The vision of
the London Organising Committee for Olympic Games (LOCOG) was to make the games
inspire the youth. The Coca-Cola Company aligned its marketing message with this vision by
trying to bring the youth close to the Olympic Games. The Company created digital content
that has relevance globally and forged an emotional connection with the audience (Hepburn
2017). The company made the movement central to its brand message to align itself with the
commitment to promoting active and healthy lifestyles. The strategy of digital marketing
adopted by the company was to harness the passion of teens through music. The "Move to the
Beat" campaign was meant to appeal to the global youth audience while allowing for local
integration and adaptation. The content was shareable across different digital platforms, and
this strategy ensured its longevity. Artists such as Katy B and Mark Ronson performed the
music against the background of the Olympic stadium (Hepburn 2017). The campaign
movement got a lot mentions in blogs and on Twitter. All digital media engagements by the
company have followed similar trends.
The use of creative and cohesive content across all its communication channels has
made Coca-Cola be one of the most revered brands in the world (Shively 2014). Its logo
(shown in Appendix C) is recognizable across the world. The company has millions of
followers on Twitter and posts more than 60 Tweets a day on average. The tweets attract
thousands of engagements and create more than a billion of impressions in a month. The
company runs campaigns on digital content to engage its audience. The company posts viral
content to encourage its audience to share its posts (Shively 2014). This engagement makes
FMCG Digital Marketing 8
customers feel part of the brand and becomes advocates of the firm. Appendix D shows an
extract of a Tweet that was made by Coca-Cola (2014). Appendix D also shows that Coca-
Cola is directly engaged with its audience by replying to their questions and comments. The
company uses this strategy to provide service to its customers as well as to show some love.
This direct engagement strategy has been very successful for the company (Shively 2014).
The retailer also engages influencers such as Ryan Seacrest in promoting brand engagements
(Shively 2014). Through its Twitter presence and engagement, the firm sends a message of
inclusion to all its customers. On Tumblr, Coca-Cola is still one of the best storytelling
brands (Shively 2014). The company uses animations and cartoons to create a sense of fun
online. Apart from promotions, the company shares with its audience random images to keep
the followers happy and engaged.
Section 4: Recommendations for Improving Social Media Engagement at Coca-Cola
The Coca-Cola Company has managed to attract countless conversations online
through its social media engagements. Its brand inspires a moment of happiness and
optimism. It applies the same concept across all its messaging and traditional communication
channels. The consistent of its brand image across all the communication channels has
enabled the company to create a lasting image in the consumers. Despite its presence on
social media channels, the company has not focused on mobile marketing. The use of mobile
messaging apps will help the company reach a wider audience. Smartphones have become
commonplace in all parts of the world. Organizations should make use of mobile technology
such as interactive apps to engage their customers more. Through such apps, it is possible to
introduce personalized incentives that promote engagement.
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Appendix A: People’s Top Choice for Customer Care
Source: York (2017)
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Appendix B: Products offered by Coca-Cola
Source: Hepburn (2017)
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Appendix C: The Iconic Logo of Coca-Cola
Source: Shively (2014)
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Appendix D: An Extract showing Coca-Cola Engagement on Twitter
FMCG Digital Marketing 13
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