The soft drink industry has experienced exponential growth in the last few years. This growth can be attributed to many factors such as aggressive marketing, availability of the drinks, and consumer preference However, one of the most significant factors for the growth in this industry is the demand for drinks that do not expose consumers to health risks.
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This is because consumers are increasingly becoming aware of lifestyle diseases especially those associated with dietary habits. As such, consumers are shunning drinks that contain harmful ingredients such as calories, cholesterol, and sugars. They are instead demanding for healthier drinks that contain minimum or no amounts of these ingredients to safeguard their health.
Manufactures have therefore responded to the new market demand by producing numerous drinks to target the widening consumer base. Despite the influx of the soft diet drinks market by a myriad of drinks, some products have totally dominated the market.
One of such drinks is Diet Coke, a product of the Coca-Cola Company, the leading soft drink maker in the world. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of this unique brand and explain why it stands out in the market against its competitors.
Diet Coke provides an interesting case study as the most successful brand of health drinks in the world since its inception and introduction into the American market 27 years ago. Its success was so instant that it was introduced to the world market in early 1983. This success hinged upon the promise to offer consumers the original coke quality without any calories attached to it.
Its unprecedented success was so magnanimous that it has been credited with revolutionizing the soft drink industry. Many other soft brands, most of them by the Coca Cola Company followed its introduction and the market has reached saturation point (Hanlon, 2007). This product contains fewer amount of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee or tea.
It also contains such other useful ingredients as sodium, aspartame, preservatives, colors, and citric acid. It also contains other minerals such as vitamins, albeit in limited mounts. It is the most favorite sugar free drink. It does not have any fibers, sugars or the much-dreaded cholesterol (Living strong, 2010). The brand has continued to enjoy impressive performance in terms of market share.
In the soft drinks category, it has occupied third spot earning a consistent 9 points in market share capitalization worth $936.3 million (Bauerlein, 2010).
The success of this brand relies on a number of both internal and external factors. The most influential reason for the success of this brand is the secrecy that surrounds its formula. The formulation of this drink has been a secret since it was invented. To help in maintaining the secrecy, Coca Cola avoided patenting the formula and instead chose to keep it a secret (Strassman, 2011).
Coca Cola has one of the best internal appraisal mechanisms that not only guarantee that its products undergo a continuous process of improvements but also meet consumer demands. These products include Diet Coke, which has undergone several improvements to match new market trends. Some of these improvements include changing its packaging in cans from bottles (Web books, n.d.).
The Coca Cola Company has been known to respect the different cultural orientations in fashion its products in response to the needs of those cultures. The situation is no different for one of Coca Cola’s trusted brand, Diet Coke. In respect to the wishes of customers, Coca Cola produced a drink rich in taste but with negligible additives that contained such ingredients as calories, sugars, and cholesterol.
Diet coke also assumes different names in different countries such as Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Light and Coke Light. This is in line with its intention to recognize cultural sensitivity. Coca Cola sells Coke Light in countries like Belgium and France. This is due to the fact that the term light in these countries may actually mean diet (Fodor, 2011.).
Market opportunities for this brand are under a new threat. Kiley (2006) argues that the company’s gross sale has decreased by 3% and that reinventing Diet Coke through innovative adverts is likely to prove futile. Diet Coke will have to get the best out of the decreasing sales. The dwindling market opportunities can be attributed to constant changes in advertising strategies.
Such inconsistency creates an element of distrust amongst consumers. As earlier mentioned Diet Coke targets consumers who are conscious of their health and would not want to consume any drink that exposes them to health risks associated with intakes of excess sugars, calories and cholesterol and fats. These target consumers include the middle aged especially women who are running the risk of heart disease (Warner, 2011).
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The market for health drinks is categorized into three. There are those who take it moderately, those who do it rarely and those who consume a considerable amount. Diet Coke targets the segment that wants to consume a considerable amount of diet drink that is rich in sugary taste without the worry of increased intake of these harmful products.
With the influx of soft drinks in the market, the competition for Diet Coke is increasingly becoming significant. Consumers have a variety to choose from and are spoilt for choice. Brands such as Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew offer Diet Coke competition in the diet drinks market.
Products such as Coke Classic, Pepsi Cola, bottled mineral water and of late, iced tea are also significant competitors of this brand. These products are offering a different variety of benefits and priced differently thus attracting the soft drink consumer (Pride & Ferrel, 2010).
Companies that have multiple brands will always have a problem positioning new products in the market without affecting the sales size of existing targets. Coca Cola is no exception. However, it came up with a creative e campaign that marketed the brand as the only real diet drink and thus created the impression that the others were just imitations.
It argued the consumers to drink just for the taste as it had the original rich coca coal taste but with only one calorie per Diet Coke bottle. This strategy worked as the brand attracted both men and women who wanted an original die drink (The Irish Times, 2000).
Diet Coke has dominated the market since its inception because of the trust it has gained from its consumers. Despite the dwindling fortunes, it is a worthy drink and its marketers should continue to market it aggressively.
This is because this category of consumers is increasing in numbers every day and thus the market for diet drinks is growing. As such marketers should be at the forefront in conducting market research so as to stay at the fore front in soft drink innovations.
Bauerlein, V. (2010). U.S. soda sales fell at slower rate last year. Wall Street Journal. Web.
Fodors (2011.) Diet Coke vs. Coke Light. Fodor. Web.
Hanlon, M. (2007). Diet Coke turns 25. Gizmag. Web.
Kiley, D. (2006). Diet Coke: It is possible that a major brand has nowhere to go, but down. Bloomberg Business Week. Web.
Livingstrong (2010). Ingredients & nutrition facts of diet coke. Livingstrong. Web.
Pride, P., & Ferrel O. (2010). Marketing. Ohio: South Western Cengage Learning.
Strassman, M. (2011). Coca-cola secret formula hidden in plain sight? CBS Evening News. Web.
The Irish Times (2000). Just for the taste of it. Dostoc. Web.
Warner, M. (2011). Have a (Diet) Coke… and a Stroke? Bnet. Web.
Web books. Managing new products: The product life cycle. Web.