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Business Ethics MemoBusiness Proposal

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¶ … Coca-Cola brand value by its Corporate Social Responsibility

Coca Cola is one of the world's largest transnational corporate giant and the world's largest beverage company. Over the years Coca Cola has established itself strongly in the market with its aggressive marketing strategy and a strong network of corporate liaisons and commercial relationships. A very important part of the firm's long-term sustainable strategy is its corporate social responsibility. While some companies are socially responsible others are socially responsive. This means that some companies only take care of the social costs and benefits to the extent to which the law takes care of them. On the other hand, there are companies such as Coca Cola that take social initiatives beyond the bindings of law.

The mission statement of Coca Cola, according to the company's official website states that the company aspires to inspire moments, promoting positivity, make a difference in the world and adding value. The mission statement itself gives a clear indication of the importance that the company places on being socially responsible. Two very important aspects of Coca Cola's social responsibility are its steps taken for wildlife protection particularly Polar Bears in the North American region.

Environmental Protection

For a long time Coca Cola has taken various steps to take environmental protection plans around the world such as reducing gas emissions, revisiting its packaging resources to increase dependency on recyclable products, conservation of endangered wildlife species, energy conservation and exploration of alternate energy sources, sustainable development and growth, water purification projects etc. Most of these projects are launched and operated on regional basis and are targeted. This means that the environmental problem that is serious for a certain region is addressed by launching and operating a social project in that region. Some examples of such projects include launching energy conservation and alternate energy projects in India, Clean water projects in Philippines, Combodia and Kenya and Polar Bear conservation in North America, being the most recent and the most talked about in the recent past.

The Coca Cola Company partnered with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to protect the endangered species namely Polar Bears in the North American region. For this purpose, the Coca Cola Company has launched a comprehensive campaign under the banner of 'Arctic Campaign', the campaign encompasses several sub-projects that aim at contributing in the efforts of conservation of Polar Bear and creating mass awareness about the said endangered species.

Coca Cola mainly took three major steps in this direction. The first one involved partnering with the largest convenience retail store chain, 7-Eleven, to launch the snowball effect application for tablets and smarphones and creating the Coca Cola Arctic Home. Another major step in this direction involved partnering with IMAX and Warner Brothers in production of 'The Arctic 3D', a movie that revolved around lives of Polar Bears. The third major step taken was to change its 125-year-old trademark red packaging to Ice white to mark the brand's association with the Arctic polar Bears. Besides these practical moves, Coca Cola also made and promises to continue to make monetary donations to the World Wildlife Fund in order to support the efforts to conserve polar bears.

The first project in this regard has been a very well received one and contributed immensely and positively to both, the cause itself and to the company as well in terms of generating higher sales volume. The Arctic Home project launched in partnership with one of the most renowned and largest retail store 7-Eleven, involved launching of the snowball effect app, a game that revolves around the life and habitat. Users, could download the app on their tablet gadgets and smartphones and play the game with their friends, for which they will have to send app requests to their friends. In order to solve different game levels, the customers are required to discover the clues and codes which are hidden in the packaging of various Coca Cola products. This means that in order to cross to a further level, the user will have to purchase a certain Coca Cola product, thus contributing to the company's sales volume. Moreover, the different levels of game also contribute in creating mass awareness about the product as the users pass on the app from one person to another. The users are motivated to play more levels by rewarding redeemable points on winning of each level of the app. Moreover selected winners will be awarded prizes such as Ipods and Ipads. This particular project was very well received by the consumers of both 7-Eleven and Coca Cola.

The second project that involved Coca Cola's collaboration with IMAX and Warner Brothers is also being looked forward to by the media and the animated 3D movie fans. This project has indicates a positive outcome as in the recent past 3D animated movies have enjoyed greater success than the regular ones. Moreover, the film's nature allows universal viewership. This will not only allow creating greater awareness but will also allow to generate funds for the cause. Moreover, it can be used as a great marketing tool for Coca Cola. Coca Cola's sponsor tag will be there on all film's promotional material. In case if the film becomes a success, it will create consumer loyalty towards both the brand and the cause as both will be in close association with the film.

The third step, which involved changing Coca Cola's 125-year-old trademark red packaging to white, was a gamble that backfired. Not only it was badly received, the consumer backlash was so strong that Coca Cola was forced to old conventional packaging. The company planned to incorporate this move as a full fledged marketing strategy giving polar bears a status of a mascot. The drink cans were turned ice white showing a mother polar bear with two cubs in the arctic region. There were primarily three aspects of this move being backfired. Firstly, a significant number of customers complained that the new can of the regular Coca Cola was in stark similarity with the existing silver Diet Coke can. As a result, customers complained of ending up picking the wrong product off the rack. This was a greater concern for people who were either diabetic or calorie conscious. The second criticism towards this strategy was more of a psychological in nature. Many regular consumer complained that the drink tasted different when it was in white can and that they did not like the new taste. This was however not the case as the company clarified consistently that nothing except the packaging was changed. This was possibly because the trademark red can had been there for more than a century and generations have had an image of it being associated with the Coca Cola Company. Since packaging is an important marketing 'P' with significant effects there was a psychological impact on consumers making them think that they are consuming something different than normal. There was also a third group of regular consumers which simply did not like the new packaging as they thought it deviant from what has been there household icon for a long time. A relatively small group of consumers however also emerged after Coca Cola called off the new packaging and returned to the old one, who supported the new packaging for the cause. By reverting to the original packaging Coca Cola did not completely eliminate the Polar Bear aspect from packaging and instead printed just the polar bears in white on the regular red can thus maintaining a consistent standing with the cause. Coca Cola's decision of stepping back was understandable and inevitable as it was resulting in serious fall in sales revenue and was adversely effecting its brand loyalty as many consumers now avoided going for the product.

Besides everything else, the third move of packaging change… [END OF PREVIEW]

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