The Revolution may not be televised – but it might be in your soda

Societal marketing is a fascinating concept: it creates value for the target audience and enhanced well-being in consumers and society as a whole, whilst remaining true to brand values and objectives. And its blend of brand, societal and consumer welfare considerations also brings learning opportunities for all those involved.

For years, the Coke brand has been leveraging values as a way of surprising – and engaging – its consumers. Coke has a mission to bring positivity and joy to people, and in so doing, to transform its brand into a symbol of sharing and social values.

Interestingly, as we enter tougher times, societal marketing strategies are getting better and better, and more sophisticated. This is true of the global marketplace and diverse sectors and segments.

Take the example of nonprofits. When NGOs put together a positioning proposal, they usually have to prioritize one stance over another: whether to play it safe and aim for likeability, or stick their necks out and adopt a strategy that involves more risks to their reputation. Relief or Advocacy. It often boils down to a choice between being reactive or proactive.

The Coke example demonstrates how a positioning strategy can do both – appeal to the masses, whilst deftly negotiating the choppy waters of negative publicity (of the tooth enamel kind). Simply using a segmentation strategy.

As an American brand, Coke knows there is a huge emphasis on giving back in US culture, but that by the same token, no one is really that interested in rocking the boat. Nonetheless, their contribution to the obesity debate, the Coming Together initiative, is galvanizing the public way more efficiently that the municipalities of New York or Cambridge, Mass.

Meanwhile, here in Spain there’s plenty of talk about changing the world. But the reality is that Spanish citizens aren’t really doing that much, not even giving back to the community.

Isn’t the time right to start doing something? To take on boards and statistics and kick start the Revolution against The Powers that Be? To put our money where our mouth is, instead of sitting back and watching whilst our colleagues overseas take the initiative?. Let’s do the revolution against Chairs and Change Statistics!.

And if it takes a soda company becoming a responsible citizen to make us see the value of adapting to a changing social contract, I for one am prepared to drink to that.

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