Coca-Cola, Red Bull prop up beverage brand value
by Eric Schroeder
NEW YORK — Not surprisingly, The Coca-Cola Co. generated the most brand value among the world’s top soft drinks in 2013, according to BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity database.
In 2013, Coca-Cola generated brand value of $64.7 billion, up 7% from 2012. The total gave the Atlanta-based company the No. 5 overall position among the most valuable global brands survey, trailing three technology companies — Apple, Google and IBM — and one fast-food company — McDonald’s.
Every year, BrandZ and Millward Brown Optimor calculate and rank brands based on their global value. Brand value is defined as the dollar amount a brand contributes to the overall value of a corporation. Research for determining brand value is based on data gathering from more than two million consumers and more than 10,000 brands in over 30 countries.
The 7% growth in the Coca-Cola brand drove a 5% increase in the brand value of the overall soft drink category, according to BrandZ. Diet Coke turned in the second largest brand value in 2013 at $13.7 billion, down 2% from 2012, while Red Bull posted brand value of $10.6 billion, up 6% from a year ago. Coca-Cola’s chief competitor, PepsiCo, Inc., had a 2013 brand value of $9.8 billion, good enough for No. 4 on the soft drink list, but down 5% from 2012. Rounding out the top 5 was newcomer Nescafe, which had a brand value of $5.6 billion in 2013. Other strong movers in 2012 included Sprite, up 9% to $4.1 billion (No. 8), and Gatorade, up 9% to $3.8 billion (No. 10).
Among the strategies implemented by the beverage brand leaders in 2013 were shopper marketing, pairing with food and brand extension.
Coca-Cola, through its “Open Happiness” campaign that uses viral social media, and PepsiCo, with the launch of “Live For Now,” its first global campaign, were among the leaders on the marketing front in 2013, BrandZ said, but it was Red Bull that stood out.
“Not surprisingly, the most daring marketing effort last year came from Red Bull with its sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner, who gained the world’s attention with a 24-mile free-fall to earth from the edge of space,” BrandZ said. “Red Bull moved ahead of Pepsi as the third most valuable brand in the category.”
Several companies attempted to increase volume by marketing connected to meal occasions.
BrandZ said Coca-Cola paired its brand with food, including snacks, and in supermarkets displayed beverages near pizza. The company also opened its Shopper Innovation Experience Center during 2012. Meanwhile, PepsiCo developed liquid meal replacements, combing its expertise with the company’s Quaker Oats brand. Mountain Dew, a PepsiCo brand that turned in a brand value of $2.5 billion in 2013, took aim at the breakfast category with the launch of Mountain Dew Kickstart, a caffeinated — and carbonated — breakfast drink aimed primarily at millennials.
“The attempt to link drink and food relates to larger trends, such as the increase in at-home entertainment, which influences when and where consumers drink and eat,” the BrandZ report noted.
A final strategy implemented by beverage makers to drive brand value was adding new options to meet consumer desire for healthier and functional beverages, BrandZ said.
“Soft drink brands responded to the growing consumer focus on health and new juices, smoothies and enhanced waters, including coconut water, which enjoyed wide distribution in the U.K. and parts of the U.S.,” the report noted.
Innovations noted in the report included the late 2011 launch of Dr Pepper Ten by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (brand value in 2013 of $2.2 billion), as well as a new orange juice not from concentrate marketed under the Minute Maid brand (brand value of $3 billion).
PepsiCo tried to find a mid-calorie position with the launch of the Pepsi Next brand, while Coca-Cola replaced Sprite in the United Kingdom with a reformulated version using a natural sweetener.
The BrandZ report noted interest in additional energy benefits drove the performance of Red Bull and Gatorade G Series Pro Carb Energy Chews.