Be like Coca-Cola

"You cant climb the ladder of success with the dress of failure" - Zig Ziglar

How many times did you feel like everyone didn't understand how great you are?
You have the skills, the know-how and the will to win... but you're not making an impact. And if you're not making an impact... then no one knows who you are.

In the past, a great company also had this issue. It had a great product but it wasn't making an impact. It's name? Coca-Cola. It's impact in history? Legendary.

Let me show you how you can benefit from Coca-Cola's history, go from being great to be seen as great and change the world!

The Extraordinary Product

In the initial stage of it's history, Coca-Cola was a medicinal product. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health.

Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence.

Coca-Cola was a great product but it was not enough to be legendary.

How does this apply to you?

Allow me to introduce a new kind of brand: the You brand! In the business world, you are a product. People want to buy your know-how, your skills and your services.

So, how can you drive your customers and competition crazy?

You have to focus on being a great product first. To build a great product I believe that you should focus on creating meaning in the world.

You can create meaning in 3 ways:

1. Increase the quality of life
Coca-Cola's primary goal was to create a refreshing and delicious drink that would increase the quality of life and bring happiness to their customers.

Recently, Coca-Cola is sending a team of Happiness Ambassadors around the world to visit 206 countries in 365 days. Their mission: Find out what makes people happy.

Just like Coca-Cola, your goal is to enter your customer's mind and discover what makes them happy.

2. Right a wrong

Coca-Cola works with local health officials and a variety of experts to educate communities on relevant health concerns, tackling such issues as polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and proper hygiene.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has pledged $2.5 million over a three-year period to further develop community HIV/AIDS programs in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.

3. Prevent the end of something good

The Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) is the The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation's flagship water program and is the umbrella under which all future water programs will fall. Launched in 2009, RAIN is a public-private partnership made possible through a six-year, $30 million commitment from The Coca-Cola Company. The initiative will provide sustainable, clean water sources, hygiene education and sanitation services to millions of people throughout Africa .

If you achieve this points you will turn customers into raving fans and your product into a legend.

The Unique Image

Coca-Cola's directors knew that a good product was not enough. They knew that Coca-Cola needed a new image if it wanted to change the world. And it all started with the bottle.

In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for the beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles. A bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was.

The contour bottle, as it's known inside the company, was born.

How can your brand achieve this?

You can improve your brand uniqueness if you remember these 3 ideas:
- Be yourself!
You are the only person in the world that can use your ability!

If you ignore what makes you unique and you try to be all sorts of things to please everybody, how can you differentiate yourself from your competition and offer a unique sell proposition to your clients?

- Be aware!
If you ignore the market changes, your uniqueness will become less relevant.

- Be loud!
Let the world know who you are and why should they care!

Use the medias that your audience use and tell them how they can benefit from using your unique attributes.

The Unmistakable Logo

As the Coca-Cola bottle evolved from a simple medicine bottle to a unique model, the brand image also had several improvements.

Coca-Cola's brand logo is one of the top most recognizable logos in the world, placing Coca-Cola high on customer's buying preferences. In fact, Coca-Cola is recognized by 94% of the world's population and is the most widely recognized word after "OK".

How your own brand and customers can benefit from a unique logo?
- Identity
Your logo should reflect who you are and show what makes you different.

Think about pirate's flags. Every pirate had it's own personalized version of the pirate's flag.

The colors of the flag held symbolic significance and importance. The early pirates sailed under the Red Flags. The color red in pirate flags symbolized bloodshed and a warning. They were a symbol that little or no quarter ( mercy ) would be given. The pirates were looking for an early surrender and an easy conquest through fear and intimidation.

Just like the pirates, think about the message that you want to communicate to anyone that sees your logo. Then choose the colors and symbol that best match your message.

- Visibility
If you don't make yourself visible no one will find you.

Place your brand logo in every outpost that you own. In every comment that you make. In every e-mail that you send.

This will increase customer awareness about your brand. The pirate's flag were hoisted high on the flag mast so it could be seen by everyone.

- Loyalty
If you effectively implemented the all of the previous ideas you have turned your customer into raving fans.

The brand's unique logo will be the key to the mind association between the product or service that you provide and your customers!


A great product isn't enough to change the world. Just like Coca-Cola, you need to realize this first. Then you need to add a unique image to your product, so your audience can see it as great!

I hope that you take this information with you, use your secret formula to build your great product, add a great image to it and change the world!

This is Coca-Cola's secret formula for success. What's your secret formula?

P.S: Understand your customers unconscious minds. Professor Gerald Zaltman worked with Coca-Cola to discover this key point.

P.S: This article was inspired by the extraordinary history of Coca Cola, the irreverent Guy Kawasaki, the one and only Ken Blanchard, the inspiring Zig Ziglar and all the wonderfull people that I was lucky enough to met throughout my life!

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  1. Thanks for pointing me here. Well presented and follows much of my thinking regarding "brand" or as I prefer to present it, "sustainable identity." It's a good read and I will recommend it to others.

    The secret, as you point out, is not in the process so much as in building,defending and sustaining the notion of uniqueness in a changing environment. None of us really controls our brands/sustainable identities anymore, if we ever did, all we can do is continue to shape them within the context of shifting markets and changing loyalties so that their constancy and quality continue to echo in the minds of their consumers and prospects.

    Yes, I did take my first steps for a Coke and I still drink "the real thing"®

  2. Excellent post, Bruno!!! I love how you followed Coca-Cola's history, while sharing their thought process. It's a story that should be modeled by others, indeed.

    You may want to check out "Super Corps" by Rosabeth Moss Canter. She's a Harvard professor who did research on the value of companies who rally around purpose greater than just commercial success. Employees were more motivated & engaged and the world benefitted from social good. Very similar to what you've shared here.

    Nicely done, Bruno! Keep it up!