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Introduction

For the majority of both big and small organizations, communication is the key with the help of which they work up all the important resources they need to function. Without an efficient and complex communication system, an organization will face difficulties in developing an appropriate model for its corporate communication strategy. Corporate communications necessitate selectively communicating the organizations views and objectives to its stakeholders. Communication can be described as a major management strategy (Gensch 2001).

This essay critically assesses Coca-Cola corporate communication strategy through the evaluation of the frameworks of communications and its models. The study report will get an insight into the inner structure of the Coca-Cola Company organization, and how it uses corporate communication strategies to improve their reputation and exemplify their corporate image to stakeholders. The study also looks at the background of the corporation and examines the ways corporate communication management influences the organization.

Background Information

On May 8th, 1886, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA Coca-Cola was invented. It was first offered as a fountain beverage which was a mixture of Coca-Cola syrup and carbonated water. In 1887, Coca-Cola was registered to another businessperson; a pharmacist, Asa Candler bought the formula from the owner and inventor John Pemberton for $2300. In 1893, it was registered as a trademark, and by 1895, it was being sold around all the North American states. By the end of 1890, Coca-Cola was one of the most known drinks; this was majorly contributed to Candler’s aggressiveness in marketing of the product (Ingene & Parry 1995).

Due to popularizing, the Coca Cola company sales increased by 4000% from 1890 to 1900. The Coca-Cola Company started  bottling operations in the United States. Today, Coca-Cola runs its services in more than 200 countries and markets more than 3000 beverages and 500 brands. The company has 92,400 associates worldwide and serves on average 1.6 billion customers per day with net operating revenue of $ 31.9 billion as at 2008.

Methodology

In the modern world, people are daily overwhelmed by a huge number of advertising campaigns on the TV and radio, in magazines and newspapers, and, finally, on the internet. The increase of advertisements is especially apparent during major events such as sports events and music concerts. Due to the recent sports activities around the world, Coca-Cola has been one of the pioneer sponsors of the games (Lodish 2001). This drew my attention despite the fact that there is a great amount of other brands on the market. The determinant factor in drawing the conclusion was the advertising campaigns. This along with the consiferable amount of the advertisement created in an effort to persuade consumers to buy products led me to the focus area. Thus, I decided to investigate the extent to which advertising campaigns affect consumer preference. Another reason for the chosen topic is that as products become more homogeneous, advertisement improves, and competition increases, thus companies find new ways to make a distinct way of penetrating  market (Guha et al. 1997).

Literature Review

The uses and gratification theory focuse on why people use the internet and mostly how it fulfils a need or want. It is important that Coca-Cola Company investigates the market through the social media to understand what the users and potential audience members need. Through understanding a need or want, the company increases its brand awareness and appeal to users. The ethical aspects of viral marketing campaigns are examined and explained.

Research Methods

In this research, I have used explanatory information to gain a thorough insight into the characteristics of Coca-Cola  marketing and currently untargeted markets of students aged 15-30 years. The aim is to identify reasonable means to solve the marketing problem in an attempt to gain a share in this dynamic market. The methods used will be the best appropriate for this research as it concentrates on present market trends, consumers’ buying habits, and preferences towards the soft drinks brands that are currently available in the market (Lodish 2001).

The main research method is the monitoring of the initial general ideas. The techniques used are as follows: online questionnaires, secondary data, and face-to-face interviews. These methods were chosen basing on funding, resources, time frame and objectives of the problem in question. Due to the resources, minimal funding and limited time frame, I decided to conduct the research using lots of questionnaires in order to gain more data that I will use to get effective and accurate analysis.

Questionnaire

The questionnaire sheets were distributed by hand among 100 participants aged 15-45 years. In order to get the most comprehensive information about the soft drink consumers of both male and female genders, each field worker was allotted to collect fifty questionnaires filled in by women and the same amount filled in by men. The selection was conducted on first come, first serve basis (Ardichvili et al. 2009). The participants were welcomed kindly and asked if it would be possible for them to participate in the research. If the participant was willing to participate, he/she was handed a questionnaire to fill it in; and we asked them in a kind way if they were done with completing the form to return it to us. By doing so, we gave them sufficient time to fill in the questionnaire. Upon collection of the filled forms, we told the participants that the information that they gave was discrete and we would consider client privacy (Harris 1995).

Online Survey

The online survey was distributed among blog sites with the approval of the site owners and  through social media sites like Tweeter and Facebook. Although we expected to engage more than two hundred participants, the survey process was a bit slow, so we cut it off at 15,000 counts, which contained sufficient information. The filled online survey records were logged in to make them accessible on online data storage site, where we were able to get the data back at any given time (Knox & Gruar, 2007). We used Microsoft Excel to analyse the data that were collected.

Hypothetical Laddering Interview

The process of this form of data collection is more complex as it requires more time and accuracy. In this type of data collection, we selected fifty willing participants. Before engaging the participants into the interview, they were kindly asked if they had extra time to spare so they could participate in the Coca-Cola brand survey.. If the participants accepted the rules, they were assured that the information they provided was confidential. The volunteer students were asked to answer a series of questions that had already been set for the Coca-Cola market. All the collected were hand recorded; although the process was time consuming, we had to assure a high level of accuracy of the information recorded. All data were collected in accordance with the Mecca’s model (Eliashberg & Steinberg 1987).

Research Limitations

I have tried to minimise the data collection errors as much as I could to be able to produce reliable and valid information taking into account the challenges the company faced. Although the research contains a critical element that should ignored, its results will be used to support any actions the company undertakes. The research methods I used faced some constraints/limitations.

Questionnaires Limitations

1. As this form polling is standardised, it is impossible to explain some questions that the participants could misinterpret.

2. The fact that I designed the questionnaire means that there was some prejudice meaning that I never gave an opportunity to the respondents to provide another point of view.

3. The sampling used a relatively small number of students compared to the population of students in the United States. The information collected was not sufficient to generalise the analysis.

Online Survey Limitations

1. The unlimited control of the source by its provider deprived us of the opportunity to stipulate how, what, where and when the questionnaire is will be displayed. Thus, we were not able to control the time frames of the study.

2. Due to the financial limitations, this method could not be utilised fully as the costs for the usage of the web sites were high. Therefore, the analysis was conducted through basic graphs and by hand calculation, meaning that the analysis had some calculation errors.

Face-to-Face Interview Limitations

1. Face-to-face method is not liable enough as the interviewers are likely to have biases concerning differences in their questioning methods or the ways they interpret the responses.

2. The participant may feel being pressured to answer a question in a particular way.

3. Qualitative data analysis can be subjective as the information may be divided into small parts due to the colloquial style of some responses. The anonymously answered questions may cause difficulties, as well.

Findings

Coca-Cola ads campaigns have been set up in order to achieve precise objectives. It is clear that the main goal of the Coca-Cola Company as a business organisation is profit maximization. The role of advertising in the attainment of the principal goal is the following.

Reputation. Coca-Cola uses advertisements specifically to satisfy its secondary objective, namely, raising awareness about the corporation and its merchandise. Thus, the objective is to make all the numerous brands equally popular (Ardichvili et al. 2009).

Competition.  – Creating awareness about those company products that are available on the market. As competition is one of the global threats to the company, Coca-Cola has worked out intensive marketing strategies in order to be top in the global market of beverages products.

Shareholders. The marketing objective of advertising is increasing the companies’ sale per year that will result in high operating profits. This will lead to the raising in shareholders price per share and increasing the general capital for the company (Vedwan 2007).

Consumer awareness. The goal of this strategy is to inform the consumer of the product health benefits and nutritional aspects. This acts as a persuasion of a new customer to try the product (Yeung & Mok 2006). In addition, the Coca-Cola Company uses advertisement to maintain customer loyalty by reassuring customers and reinforcing their particular buying behaviour. This is achieved through integrating the drink in the customers’ daily life.

Conclusion

Coca-Cola social media presence and its commitment to the consumers can serve as an example for large organizations. This essay studied social media marketing and featured case studies of Coca-Cola (Boney 1987). Best practises for communicating on social media such as use of blogs, news journals/articles, newspapers, social media sites such as tweeter and Facebook were examined and analysed. Coca-Cola seemed to be involved in all these aspects through its marketing campaigns (Vedwan 2007).

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