So far, the Coca-Cola Company has been pretty efficient with its verbal and written communication. The communication analysis has shown its strong suits that should be capitalized upon and make part of subsequent strategies. Firstly, the Coca-Cola Company might want to develop the ideas of diversity further, demonstrating that it is not gatekeeping any particular demographics. For this, the company can entertain the idea of localization of advertising. For example, customers in a country whose culture is different from that of the US might not understand the cultural code embedded in advertisements. In this case, local affiliates should come up with something that would speak directly to the customer segment and would make them feel seen and heard. Secondly, the Coca-Cola Company should continue its trend of tying emotions and products together. It is a century-old tactic in marketing, but its longevity and efficiency are amazing. In both verbal and written communication, the Coca-Cola Company should keep on appealing to emotions and show beautiful life moments that can be improved with its product. Lastly, the company may create more advertising campaigns in which customers are allowed to co-create value and chime in with their ideas.
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The key values that the Coca-Cola Company needs to adopt to act on its mission and vision are transparency and accountability. As it has been mentioned in the communication analysis, the aspect in which the company falls short is being genuine and honest with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. The new ethical framework should address two issues that have yet to cease to plague the organization and that impede its growth immensely. First of all, the Coca-Cola Company needs to address the bogus environmental claims that it has been making for the last few years. A nicely arranged business report can indeed feign environmental awareness: this is what Coca-Cola has been doing for quite an amount of time, skewing the data. Unfortunately for the organization, in this day and age when information is of high importance as ever, it is no longer acceptable to manipulate facts. For example, MacDonald (2018) conducted an extensive fact-checking regarding the company’s claims about water depletion and debunked many of them. This is not to say that the Coca-Cola company should only publish negative things about itself. What is required here is taking responsibility for its actions. To do so, Coca-Cola should talk more openly about the negative impact of its business operations and refrain from exaggerating its environmental accomplishments.
Another aspect of business operating that the Coca-Cola Company needs to fix is the attitude toward its employees. In the communication analysis, it has been shown that the company makes it a point to show potential employees that it cares about the work environment and growth prospects. However, in reality, it may not be as dreamy as it is portrayed on the company’s official site. As Business & Human Rights Research Center (n.d.) reports, throughout the last few decades, the Coca-Cola Company has been confronted with many racial discrimination lawsuits. One of the issues was that Black people were cut off from promotion paths by the so-called glass ceiling – barriers to career growth imposed by white managers. People of color were misrepresented among the top management and were paid less. The new ethical framework should oblige the company to get rid of racism in the workplace instead of settling court cases.
Rapid response to accidents, catastrophes, complaints, and scandalizing cases is the cornerstone of reputation management and effective communication. In the corporate world, silence means agreement with the situation and refusal to acknowledge the company’s fault. Neither silence nor delayed responses are acceptable if the Coca-Cola Company cares about its communication with clients and employees. Below are some strategies to ensure rapid response:
- strong social media presence. Nowadays, it is a common practice for large companies to have multiple social media accounts to interact directly with customers and employees. In this way, if something goes wrong, the Coca-Cola Company can reach out to the unsatisfied customer right away before the incident reaches the press. Social media can be used for positive engagement as well and not just to avert accusations. Coca Cola has already had successful cases of using social media such as ordering customized bottles through Facebook;
- speaking out about issues. The Coca-Cola Company should not and cannot wait until magazines and social media platforms take a grip of the narrative. Instead, it makes sense to gain control over information by agreeing to interviews, publishing its newsreel, and being honest and genuine about what is happening;
- highlighting changes. As much as transparency and accountability are valuable, they are not the end-all-be-all of effective communication. Coca-Cola might want to consider a practice in which it publishes reports right after an incident, talking about the changes it has made to rectify the situation.
Business & Human Rights Research Centre. (n.d.). Coca-Cola lawsuit (re racial discrimination in USA). Web.
MacDonald, C. (2018). Inside the bad math that lets Сoca-Сola say it gives back all the water it uses. Web.