‘When you get the relevance right the consistency pays off in spades’ – Coca-Cola’s Wendy Clark on keeping the brand fresh

When it comes to marketing at Coca-Cola relevance and consistency are the secret recipe for success according to VP sparkling brands Wendy Clark.

Addressing an audience at Cannes Lions today (24 June), Clark said that in order to stay fresh as a 123 year-old brand the two parts need to come together with scale to keep engaging Coca-Cola’s target audience.

“It’s actually one of our core strengths,” she said. “Consistency, times relevance, done at scale and done over time - those four things have been at the core of what Coke has done…No brand manager comes to Coke and says I’ll change the logo, it just doesn’t happen.”

To stay relevant. the brand looks to the passion points that appeal to teenagers and young adults and wraps it marketing around those elements to avoid becoming a “grandad brand”.

“There’s not a set of levers that’s available to you so what you have to do by definition is make it so relevant for the next generation that it can maintain its place in the marketplace, because if you don’t you are dangerously close to becoming a dad’s brand, your grandfathers brand .

“The number one and two passion points for teens are sports and music, which is why Coke is all over sports and music. So it’s about where you put that really consistent brand. When you get the relevance right, the consistency pays off in spades because it becomes iconic instead of old. And iconic can be cool, old is not cool.”

Clarke also urged marketers and brands to be brave but authentic in their marketing campaigns or risk losing out to the competition.

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