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Coca-Cola's secret to connecting with moms

Jennifer Marlo
Coca-Cola's secret to connecting with moms Jennifer Marlo

As consumers, moms are shape-shifters. Today's mom doesn't wear just one hat. When she's with her kids, she's a mom. When she's at work, she's a professional. In social circles, she plays the role of leader. And in the store, she's a shopper. Today's mom is astute, aware, and deeply concerned about her world. In order to fit into that world, brands must offer something that improves a mom's community and her life.

Coca-Cola strives to do just that. Part of Coca-Cola's mission statement is to "bring happiness to the world and make a difference." The 120-year-old brand has been giving back to communities for more than a century, but it only recently started promoting its altruistic endeavors.

"We didn't want to look like we were bragging about it," said L. Celeste Bottorff, VP of Living Well, Coca-Cola North America, at the iMedia iMoms Summit in Orlando, Fla."We're very serious about it. It's not a marketing gimmick -- for us [being able to give back] is a measurement of success."

Coca-Cola sells 1.7 billion servings of its products per day and is one of the world's most recognized brands. "With that recognition comes great responsibility," Bottoroff said. 

Coca-Cola's "living well" strategy ensures that the company's products, programs, and policies encourage a healthy lifestyle.

"Without sustainable communities, our business cannot be sustainable," Bottoroff said. Thus, Coca-Cola has forged partnerships with programs like Recyclebank, The World Wildlife Fund, HealthyWeight.net, and Triple Play. The Triple Play program teaches children about nutrition, exercise, and proper social behavior such as learning to argue constructively. Often, these kids take the information that they've learned back to their families, where they will improve behaviors at home. When kids teach, mom listens.

Coca-Cola understands that today's mom lives her life in both the physical and the virtual world. "It's easy to get bad information online," Bottoroff said. To combat this, Coca-Cola created The Beverage Institute For Health and Wellness, where the company offers nutrition and ingredient facts and resources. After all, transparency fosters trust.

The company also encourages philanthropy in its customers: Consumers can donate to their favorite organization or school through the "My Coke Rewards" program, and Coca-Cola will match any donation made to The Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

You might have noticed the winter-themed Coke ads featuring cartoon polar bears. Coca-Cola doesn't just use the polar bear as a tool to promote its product; it promotes awareness of this endangered species. This past January, Coca-Cola drove campaign donations to Arctic Home through a branded Super Bowl mobile site, through which it raised more than $2 million. The dwindling polar bear population has long been a concern for the company -- Coca-Cola has invested in this cause since the 1920s.

The company's mission of "bringing people together" is realized when Coca-Cola acts as an active participant in the world community, Bottoroff said. Moms notice. And as the main household purchaser, that's a very good thing.

Jennifer Marlo is associate editor at iMedia Connection.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Jennifer Marlo

Jennifer received her BFA from UC Santa Barbara and MFA from CALARTS in 2006. Post graduation, Jennifer segued into freelance writing, focusing on various topics such as arts, entertainment, travel, and tourism. Jennifer is a native Los Angelean...

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