How Coca-Cola Uses Storytelling To Sell Drinks

When you pop open a bottle of Coca-Cola, you’re not just enjoying a soda. It’s a whole experience. It’s not just a beverage; it’s a story in a bottle. Coca-Cola has a secret ingredient that goes beyond its famous formula — the art of storytelling. 

From its humble days in a small pharmacy in Atlanta to worldwide fame, Coca-Cola’s rich history is as captivating as its taste. If you have ever wondered why this iconic brand is so irresistible, you need to look into how they’ve perfected the art of crafting narratives that leave a lasting impression on their consumers. 

In this edition of #LearnwithSelar, a biweekly publication that gleans creator and business-focused insights from real-life case studies, grab a bottle of Coke and let’s sip our way through the storytelling techniques that make this universal drink much more than just a beverage.

1.Coca-Cola values its history

All great stories begin from somewhere, and Coca-Cola’s rich history has played a significant role in its penchant for quality storytelling. This dedication to telling compelling narratives is evident even on their website, with entire sections dedicated to the history of the iconic drink. 

Leafing through the pages, we learn that for the first year, Coca-Cola only sold nine drinks per day, and even the name of the drink did not occur by accident. Frank Robinson, the friend of Dr. John Stith Pemberton, (the local pharmacist who created the drink), suggested the name because he thought that “the two Cs would look well in advertising!” He then wrote it down in his handwriting — what is now Coca-Cola’s unique logo. 

We believe this attention to the preservation of its roots has assisted the global icon in invoking nostalgia and trust in everyone who comes in contact with the product, whether in real life or online. The lesson here is this: do not despise the day of little beginnings. Document your journey as a creator. Looking back, the progress you have made will be more meaningful.

Coca-Cola’s brand logo.

2. Coca-Cola understands emotional connection

Do people really care about your products? Or do they care about how they make them feel? You have probably guessed it. The latter. Coca-Cola understands this important psychological phenomenon and has dedicated its marketing efforts to tugging at your heartstrings. Whether it’s the classic “Holidays are Coming” commercials that showcase how people all over the world prepare for Christmas in their own unique and varied ways or the heartwarming “Share a Coke” campaign that shows people connecting with each other over a bottle of coke, Coca-Cola passes across a simple message — that emotions are universal, and when tapped into can resonate with many people.

Coca-Cola also emphasises inclusivity and diversity with their ads. After all, it’s how they conquered the Indian market. Many of their ad campaigns show people from various backgrounds, which emphasises that Coca-Cola is a drink for everyone. They even go as far as creating localised ads that resonate with specific audiences. By doing this, they ensure that the people who see the ads can relate to them in their own unique cultural contexts, thereby making the brand relatable to a broad audience.

Bottles from the Share-a-Coke campaign

3. Coca-Cola’s highlights the role of community

Coca-Cola integrates social responsibility and values into its storytelling. By highlighting initiatives related to sustainability, community support, and environmental efforts, they appeal to consumers who value socially responsible companies.

Coca-Cola engages consumers in interactive storytelling. For example, the “Share a Coke” campaign encouraged consumers to share their stories and photos online, creating a sense of community around the brand.

4. Coca-Cola is consistent with brand imagery

Storytelling is more than just words. It can translate into pictures, too. Coca-Cola maintains a consistent brand image throughout its storytelling. From the iconic red and white colour scheme to the classic contour bottle, this visual consistency reinforces brand recognition and trust.

Coca-Cola has also created timeless characters like Santa Claus, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and the Coca-Cola Elves. These characters have become synonymous with the brand and add an extra layer to their storytelling, especially during festive seasons.

Finally, Music plays a significant role in Coca-Cola commercials. Catchy jingles and soundtracks create memorable experiences and emotional connections with those who hear them, thereby making their advertising a lot more engaging.

Key Takeaways 

1. Tailor your content to your target audience

Coca-Cola has managed to make its narratives relatable and appealing to a diverse global audience. They understand that people connect when they can relate, so they ensure that their advertisement efforts reach the cultural contexts of their consumers. As a creator, be mindful when creating to craft stories that resonate with the cultures and demographics you are trying to reach. You will have much more luck attracting clients by speaking in a Nigerian accent when teaching your courses if your target audience is Nigerians. 

2. Leverage emotions in storytelling

Believe it or not, people love a good grass-to-grace story. They want to know your past, the past of your business, how you do what you do, your lessons, failures, etc. As a creator, you should incorporate emotional elements in your content to establish a deeper connection with your audience.

3. Consistency builds trust

Ever wondered why Salem King films in Black and White or Fisayo Fosudo wears a Black Turtle neck? That’s because they understand that consistency builds trust. Coca-Cola’s consistent brand image reinforces recognition and trust. When you see the red and white, or the contour-shaped bottle, you just know. As a creator, be particular about the brand elements you use and be consistent with them. This will help you to establish a strong brand presence and will make you recognisable to your audience. 

4. Be authentic

Whether you believe it or not, people can tell when you are genuine in your storytelling. It shows in the language you use (is it effortless or contrived), the details you choose to reveal (does it paint everything as rosy, or does it go into the nitty gritty details) and real people and their stories in advertising create a relatable and authentic connection. Creators can consider how genuine narratives can enhance their content.