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‘Share A Coke Is About Making A Brand Personal To Consumers’

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coke 1In January, Coca-Cola swapped its iconic logo with some popular names among Nigerians when it launched the Share a Coke campaign. Quickly the campaign inspired a sharing frenzy among consumers who were excited to share the moment with people that matter most to them. Adjudged as one of the best marketing campaigns, Share a Coke has continued to delight consumers and occupy the front burner of discourse in the marketing world. In this interview, Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Patricia Jemibewon, sheds more light on why the campaign resonates with consumers and why Coca-Cola continues to evolve and stay ahead of trends.

The carbonated soft-drink market in Nigeria is keenly competitive with several brands and products jostling for patronage. What unique selling proposition has helped Coke maintain market leadership?

First of all, Coca-Cola is acknowledged globally as an exceptional beverage for its quality and taste, and consumers love it. I am sure you would agree with that. This fact, coupled with our ever-evolving marketing and advertising campaigns that continually strengthens the emotional bond between the brand and its consumers, has driven of the brand’s success over the past 128 years.
Share a Coke was launched in Australia since 2011. Why did it take you this long to bring the idea to Nigeria?

Share a Coke is a marketing campaign that transforms the global Coca-Cola brand into a special, personal experience for our consumers. By swapping our iconic Coca-Cola logo with personal names, we give our consumers a unique opportunity to connect and share their personalised Coke with the people who matter the most to them — friends, family and loved ones, either in person, or virtually. The campaign has been launched in more than 70 countries since 2011 and, I believe, more countries will still launch it in the months ahead. We felt that this is the right time to launch the campaign in Nigeria and, from the response it has continued to receive from Nigerians, I think one can safely say there could not have been a better time than now for the Share a Coke campaign to launch in this market.

How will you gauge the reception of the campaign in Nigeria?

There are many marketing metrics being used to gauge our consumers’ reaction to any campaign. So there are some scientific indices, there are some softer indices. Again, at the end of the day, it’s all about delighting our consumers, so we look at the responses we get from everyday people to assess how well they connect with the campaign. I can tell you that the Share a Coke campaign is not only generating a lot of buzz, it is also strengthening consumer connection and affinity to Coca-Cola as a brand.
How do you intend to meet up with the rise in demand this campaign could generate/is generating?

One, it is available across all of our packs; so anywhere you can find Coca-Cola, you can find this special pack with a name on it. Two, we have an experiential campaign that is going on a tour of Nigeria. So, if you haven’t found your name or the name of someone very special to you, you can go to any of our experiential campaigns and get one specially made for you or the person special to you. The tour is live now and you can go to www.shareacoke.com.ng to find out where we are.

What is the cost implication of personalising Coke and how do you intend to recoup this?

We have come out with this campaign with the consumer in mind, so we haven’t put any additional charges; whatever you will pay for your bottle or can of Coca-Cola is how much you will pay for this ‘special Coke’ with your name on it! The whole idea is to give back to our consumers and celebrate them.

It has been over two months since this innovation was launched in Nigeria. What has been the impact on your sales volume?

Like I said it has been an amazing campaign to work on and we are very pleased with the multiple points of impact — it is strengthening the interaction between our brand and consumers and enabling consumers to experience Coca-Cola a very personal way. Inevitably one can tell that the campaign is driving sales for the brand, but beyond that it is building stronger brand love and consumer loyalty for Coca-Cola.
How are you managing distribution to deepen penetration and ensure that consumers in all parts of Nigeria get a taste of their personal Coke?

Fortunately, at Coca-Cola, we have, I dare say, the largest and most effective distribution systems in the country. We have leveraged this to ensure that consumers in every village and hamlet experience the Share a Coke campaign by getting their personalised Coca-Cola packs in glass or PET bottles and cans without stress.

For consumers who are yet to find their names, what are the plans to meet their expectations?

There are options available. One option is to go to the experiential activation. Like I said, we have a tour around Nigeria going on right now. We knew that we couldn’t capture the diversity of the entire Nigeria in the names that we put on our packs. So, we have made them available through the experiential activation where consumers can get their customised packs on request. The tour locations are available at www.shareacoke.com.ng. Another option is for a consumer to create virtual Share a Coke cans through an online portal on the same website.

What will it take to bring the tour to my village?

Your village just might be on our route plan already. So, don’t lose hope!
What plans are in place to sustain the concept?

We are listening to both our consumers and our creative genie. So, temper your curiosity and continue to Share a Coke!


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