Coca-Cola Company is a global producer of soft drink beverages that operates worldwide. It operates under the beverage industry and some of its products include the coke zero, minute maid, sprite, Nestae and Fanta among other soft drinks. The company began its operations in 1889 and it has managed to manufacture and distribute refreshments for a long period. The official company website is where it publishes most of its information. In 2005, the Coca-Cola Company made distributions to around 200 countries in the world (Patscheke, 2011). In 2013, the company accumulated around $46.854 billion as revenue earned. (Patscheke, 2011) estimates that the company has employed over 136, 000 staff globally.
Coca Cola Company has embraced a number of marketing strategies depending on the evolving socio-cultural aspect; from the era of advertising the products on a baseball game in the late 19th century to the current budding online platform. In the same breadth, the Coca-Cola Company is involved in research and development to keep up with the rapidly advancing technology. Communication has evolved and it highly relies on technology to convey information from one point to the other. From the initial stage of producing bottles, making of the syrup, mixing the concoction, and packaging to the distribution to the end-user requires information technology. Therefore, this paper highlights how the Coca-ColaCompany employs the use of social media in its operations. It is quite significant that social media is an integral unit of marketing; hence, it is important to identify its pros and cons in an organization.
How does Coca-Cola Company use social media?
The company uses the Integrated marketing Communications in order to communicate with its target. The IMC comprises of advertising, print media, and banners which are integrated together (Elenkov, 2005). Coca-Cola creates an advert which in both print and mass media and it is floated on social media networks. This aids in triggering emotions from the consumers; hence, getting feedback via the same platform.
One of the most significant things that are stipulated on the Coca-Cola company social media website is that they use it for communication. “We have more than 150,000 associates in over 200 countries, how do we communicate to each other; the answer is simply social media.” (Elenkov, 2005) asserts that communication has been cited has the back bone of any firm that is successful. Social media enables the C.E.O to know what the end consumer feels about the product. For example, the recent Coca-Cola promotion labeled “share a coke with” relied much on social media. This is because the company could not compile all the names in the world, but people forwarded suggestions to the company. (Elenkov, 2005) calls this crowd-sourced content where the public aid in developing the content. The Coca-Cola Company will get information from what the public feels and acts upon to their satisfaction.
How does Pepsi (the other company) use social media?
Pepsi has proven the test of time to the prevailing Coca-Cola’s competitor. It is a tough journey competing with an established company such as Coca-Cola, but Pepsi has persevered. Actually, it is the closest beverage company that Coca-Cola outlines in its SWOT analysis. Social media is common in both companies, but their engagement differs depending on their needs (Subramani&Rajagopalan, 2003). Pepsi uses the Dynamic Consumer Engagement method that meets the online community together. The company has coined a slogan that in order to reach the online community, it needs to be present in their platforms. This led to the sponsorship program for The X-Factor and a series of Pepsi concerts where the winners are chosen via tweets by the audience. Pepsi remains on the center stage of this activity and it enables the consumers to obtain information about the product and relay their feedback.
Similarly, Pepsi uses crowd-sourced content just like Coca-Cola, but the call it User-generated content. This means that the comments, feedbacks, reviews, suggestions, and any other input from the customers aids in ensuring the product is up to the game (Elenkov, 2005) thinks that part of the innovation from the company is initiated by the user-generated messages from Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, there is a geo-local reach trend incubated by Pepsi which is referred to as SoLoMo. This technique targets the large use of smartphones where Pepsi integrates social media with location-based marketing. This involves incorporating people from the same geographical area and market by reaching those populations.
How might the use of internet/social media present ethical problems?
Social media is paramount to the success of a company and still it has some adverse effects that may risk a firm’s operations. The ubiquitous availability of smartphones makes the use of social media and the internet inevitable in the working place (Borgati & Molina, 2003). To start with, there is a risk of disclosing confidential and non-public information to the limelight. There is sensitive information that can harm its image, competitive advantage, or their fair disclosure rights. For example, the Coca-Cola Company has maintained the formula of its syrup as a great secret which acts as their competitive advantage. Such disclosure may be consequential to the organization risking its operations.
Secondly, the ethical code of most organizations encourages employees to use the assigned work time in enhancing productivity. The rise use of internet may encourage laziness among employees and misuse work time. Accessing the social media just like Twitter may be time wasting as employee may spend most of their time on social media sites. Referring the information or maintaining records is a challenging affair while communicating via social networks sites(Borgati, & Molina, 2003). Social media does not hold or maintain its own records; for instance, retrieving tweets that were sent a while ago may be difficult. The other ethical problem lies on conflict of interests where many categories of misconduct can happen. In this era of blogging and developing personalized websites may contradict the company’s ethics. An employee may post something that criticizes or contradicts with the firm’s interests. Similarly, an employee may accept a competing company to advertise on his or her blog which may be contrary to the loyalty clause. This is one of the controversial ethical aspects where employees may share a product on social media which is a competitor to his/her employer.
Technology that exists Coca-Cola should know about
Traditionally, organizations have relied on push or out bound marketing which suppress consumers to buy the commodity. The push methods involve bombarding consumers with banners and TV adverts which have become very common (Miller & Lammas, 2011). Conversely, the inbound marketing is a “softer way of courting” consumer into buying the products. The current consumer is enticed by an organization that listens to them. In fact, they are happy with direct channel conversation because it builds trust and loyalty. The inbound marketing is an engagement model that involves offering a listening ear to the consumer (Miller & Lammas, 2011). Coca-Cola can benefit from incorporating this technique.
Diversity on social media choice
The globe has an array of different cultures, beliefs, norms, demographics, and socio aspects. Social media is a platform that is able to reach all these people and unify them into one community (Smith, 2009). However, there is a great challenge with the content that is distributed to these people. Cultural aspects and beliefs are among the things that Coca-Cola should be sensitive when making a social media choice. This is embedded on the message that is published on their sites. For instance, it would be unfair making an advert that shows Coca-Cola helps in gaining weight and distribute it among obese people. The use of social media must be selected wisely for positive impacts.
Social media is an inevitable tool in marketing, distribution, and all other stages of production. This is due to the fact that it enhances communication in the firm. Social media is increasingly becoming the backbone tool for marketing due to its wide scope of users. That is why Coca-Cola has invested on social media communication as it is the easiest way of reaching consumers. In fact, it is one of the surest ways of ensuring that consumers receive any information communicated by the firm. However, it has some down falls such as the ethical issues which should be considered before using it.
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