Coca-Cola: The Original Social Construction Brand

Coca-Cola: The Original Social Construction Brand

At a recent talk, Coca Cola's Director of Knowledge & Insights discussed key macro forces that will shape the next ten years.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 25 may 2010

How can Coca-Cola get from 2010 to 2020? Tom LaForge’s job is to identify where the world is going so Coca-Cola can can evolve within it. As Director of Knowledge & Insights, he studies key macro forces that will shape the next ten years include population growth, spread of capitalism, increased affluence, medical advances.

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At a recent talk he gave before bloggers that PSFK attended, he said that probably the biggest driver will be the evolution of the ‘new consumer’. He said their role as citizen, environmentalist, community member and finally consumer will change the relationship they have with brands. LaForge argues that companies that act as Social Construction Brands that help a consumer do all these things together will be useful.

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What does this mean for business? The role of brands is changing – yesterday brands were residual and defined quality and safety; today brands are dominant and help in personal identity construction, tomorrow brands will be involved in societal creation.

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The role of marketing is therefore changing too, LaForge argues. If we look at history we can see that physical value declined with the industrial revolution, analytical value dropped with the rise of computers and today the only thing a machine can’t do is produce creative value. Marketers’ value derives from doing what machines and computers can not:

* Storytelling and meaning making

* Planet stewardship

* Cultural leadership

* Aesthetic Design

LaForge concluded that Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) was the original Social Construction Brand and had always been so. Through its marketing and product development it has constantly fueling all aspects of storytelling, sustainability, culture and design.


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