World of Coke and Ideas for Business

by Tim Turner

When friends or family visit us in Atlanta, we often take them to tourist sites like the aquarium, a Braves game or the World of Coke museum. A few weeks ago I went yet again to the World of Coke. Having been there many times, I decided to take a few pictures to prevent boredom.Bottles

Luckily Coca-Cola is way ahead of me and had changed out their introductory “movie”. It was quite interesting and totally geared towards their global reach and message. It was all about people and how they live and how Coke is a part of their lives. We walked out feeling upbeat and feeling good about the Coke brand and its impact on the world.

After that, we ended up in the area where they talk about how Coca-Cola grew as a business. The initial early history started when Asa Candler bought the company from the man who invented Coke – John Pemberton. So Asa Candler is to John Pemberton what Ray Kroc was to the McDonald’s brothers. He saw the bigger picture and bought the entire company.

Why did he buy it? He loved the taste so much he just bought the company. He knew it could be a big success and he knew he could vastly improve the company through better “marketing”.

If you can see the picture to the right, it talks about how Asa bought the company and began many “marketing activities”. One of his top ideas was to use the logo on every day items, constantly reminding people of the Coke brand.

One exhibit had you looking for the Coke logo in historical pictures of various towns and streets. The logo was on signs, on buildings, on vehicles, and on billboards. And these were really old black and white photos in a lot of cases. As a small business owner, we can’t possibly get our logos everywhere, nor would that help.  We need to focus on things other than “branding”.

Asa the marketing genius also used the idea of sampling to get people to taste Coke. The idea being that once they tasted it they would then want to continue drinking it. Is there a way you can use “sampling” in your business to offer something free or something small to get people to get a “taste” of what you do? Could you give people a taste using a free report, free videos, free webinars, or free consultations? If you sell a service, could you offer some small service for free?

This other plaque talks about the “Path to Innovation”.  It mentions that a lot of trial and error is required. In marketing this is also true.  You have to try a bunch of things until you find what works for you. Too many of us in business try something as a one shot attempt and conclude “it doesn’t work”. The reality is we need to revise and try again. We need to tweak the copy and try again. We need to target a different group and try again. Success is not a one shot deal. Yes feel free to quote me on that.

One of the plaques in the Coke museum talks about the number one key to their massive global growth of Coca-Cola and that is through franchising. They franchised the bottling rights which allowed them to partner with local companies who would be their feet on the pavement stocking, shipping, and selling the product in their areas to everyone’s mutual benefit.

Is there some way that you can use some type of franchising to spread your influence? Can you sell some type of system as an “area exclusive” opportunity? Maybe it is a marketing system to others like you in your industry but in non-competing areas. Maybe you use joint ventures to work with others to bring you mutually beneficial business.

Coke is a global brand and a Fortune 500 company with massive popularity over a long time period. They are an 800lb. gorilla. But don’t think that you can’t learn from what they have done or what they are doing now. We can all learn from other successful businesses, no matter how large or small.

Successful business people are constantly looking at other’s success and thinking “how can I apply that in my business?” Is there something I can learn from them. Being a lifelong learner will help your business and your bank account in the long run.

And if you are ever in Atlanta, visit the Coke museum for the incredible drink tasting room, and also for gobs of valuable business lessons!

Plaque Marketing Plaque Innovation Coke Machines Coke Fountain Bottles Coke Art Coke Ceiling Coke Chamber


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