Culture plays a pivotal role in the well-being of any organization. It encompasses the entirety of an organization’s surroundings. In spite of its immense value, it may seem invisible to those whose lives it influences.
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As a result of its invisible nature, many employees struggle to comprehend the organizational their organizational culture and the parts that need polishing. Organizational culture is an amalgamation of several aspects in the corporate world. A culture audit is hence necessary to establish the or rather assess the performance of an organization and identify potential issues surrounding the company (Wilkins, 1983). This paper represents a culture audit of Coca-Cola Company.
125 years ago, Dr. John S. Pemberton created a soft drink with a unique and distinct taste made available for sale at soda fountains. Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta was its birthplace. Frank Robinson who was the accountant is credited with developing the trademark name Coca-Cola, which he perceived would have an appealing look in advertisements (Freeman, 2003). In the same year, “Delicious and Refreshing Beverage” were the first words used to introduce Coca-Cola in the brand’s first ever newspaper advertisement. Asa G. Candler later acquired a majority of the business stake in 1888 which saw distribution expand beyond Atlanta. The biggest hurdles for bottlers then were copying of brands by competitors along with limited packaging consistency. This led to the distinct contour bottle which was trademarked in 1977 (Armus, 2003). It is also in this age when the advertisement of Coca-Cola began to be associated with fun. For example, in 1979, the company came up with the commercial, “Have a Coke and Smile.” “Open Happiness” campaign which serves a global role in promoting happiness.
Initially, Coca-Cola was created as a patent medicine by its creator, Dr. Pemberton. This was in the year 1886. A couple of years later, after Asa G. Candler obtained the majority of the company, he engineered the drinks dominance as a soft-drink using effective marketing skills. The domineering impact it has as a soft-drink in the world today has birthed the three key purposes the soft drink serves today, that is, as a refreshment drink, to inspire happiness among its consumers and finally, to create value and make a difference. Coca-Cola has 102 offices worldwide which provide employment to over 61,000 employees. Its headquarters is located in Atlanta, United States. Over 900 bottling and manufacturing plants distributed worldwide gives the company the ability to meet its global demand of soft-drinks.
Given the vast nature of the market, it serves and the array of products it provides apart from Coca-Cola soft drink; the company has a huge task of maintaining its uniqueness. The company has managed to come up with several ways to promote its physical representations. The bottling and manufacturing buildings owned by the company are normally painted in red with the words Coca-Cola written in white and italicized. This is a unique way which predisposes an individual to the brand.
Physical goods in the global market in terms of soft drinks present a competition that is hard to ignore. Coca-Cola as a product itself is another representation of culture from the beverage company. The drink has a unique and distinct taste that gives it its physical characteristic (Essay, 2013). This is driven by the need to provide customers with a refreshing taste which they enjoy and relate to in the market. This distinctiveness gives Coca-Cola a global view which cements its place in the world as the best soft drink.
Brand name and trademark identifies Coca-Cola to its consumers. This distinguishes it from other drinks in the market that present competition. A brand is a name while trademark is a brand that a company is recognized with. Coca-Cola captures the attention of its customers with its trademark name. As such, it is a winner in the culture presented by the contemporary world (Rothacher, 2004). The brand can be examined by a blindfold test whereby an individual may like Pepsi when blindfolded. However, when the blindfold is removed, the individual prefers Coca-Cola. Its trademark is known worldwide which gives a positive status.
Packaging is another artifact that presents the physical representation of the Coca-Cola brand. Its iconic contour-shaped bottle which was registered in 1979 is the company’s other form of advertisement (Armus, 2003). All these years, Coca-Cola has managed to maintain its unique packaging which in culture relates to uniformity and reliability. The contour is seen as a jewel box only that what’s inside it is a soft drink.
Communication basically describes the transfer of information from one party to another in a way that is comprehensible. Communication influences behavior and as such is important for it to be effective. Coca-Cola employs the formal mechanism of verbal communication with its customers. Face-to-face communication at production centers and audio-visual advertisements to relay information to customers impacts psychological and sociological behavior. For instance, the commercial “Have a Coke and Smile” influences happiness.
Informal mechanisms are seen in the form of posters, ads in newspapers and Coca-Cola logos. This is key influencing how other people view the brand. Body language and behavior are also non-verbal cues that relay messages. For example, when an individual takes a sip of Coca-Cola and smiles, it transmits information that he or she is enjoying the drink. With globalization, networking has been made simpler. Given its over 100 offices worldwide, face-to-face meetings are mostly conducted in offices in a given location. This is between the manager in the particular location and the employees there. It would be impossible for the C.E.O. to address employees in Kenya face-to-face.
The differences in formal and informal structures in Coca-Cola are more or less similar to those of other companies. Formal structures include the official documents the company uses to relay information to its employees. Examples include the memos, official letters among others. On the other hand, informal structures include meetings, cultural affairs and to some extent, conferencing (Wagner, 2002). This improves networking and boosts both psychological and sociological behaviors among Coca-Cola employees.
Coca Cola’s mission statement carries three main objectives: to refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions and finally, to create value and make a difference. In order to accomplish what the company has set, it has gone further to enact a set of goals to oversee the mission statement. This is through providing a peaceful and conducive working environment, networking with partners, supporting sustainable initiatives in safeguarding the planet and ensuring effective productivity.
As much as the number one priority of any business is to maximize profits, Coca-Cola has not forgotten its social responsibility (Essays, 2003). The main objective in the social responsibility is sustainability. Putting its consumers in mind regarding lifestyle disease, Coca-Cola came up with beverages that have very low calories. For example, Diet Coke. In environmental sustainability, the company came up with recyclable packaging bottles for its soft drinks. Also, in water stewardship, Coca-Cola in 2008 made efforts to ensure effective use of water. This a close to 4 percent improvement.
The company’s view of its employees and customers as the backbone to its success (Essays 2003). It developed programs to nurture and improve the skills of its employees this enables the employees to realize their maximum potential. For the customers, the company developed campaigns that award their customers or buying a bottle of Coke, especially in African countries. The bottle tops have codes which reward the customers with caps, t-shirts and even free soft drinks. This serves to show how much Coca-Cola values its customers and employees.
The finding above reveals a treasured culture not only on the part of customers and employees but also the management. The Coca-Cola brand holds a close connection to society given it has been evolving with generations. It is highly chastised and considered to be the best soft drink in the world as of today. Coca-Cola in itself is a culture that is held by the three keys groups which make it an integral part of their lives.
A new manager needs to understand the history of the brand in order to work effectively. This in addition to understanding the market will enable a new manager to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Coca-Cola to ensure its efficacy. The culture of the company is held in its history and customers, which bears the largest percentage of the company’s influence. In order to become effective in the company, one of the things a manager needs to employ is good customer relations. This promotes sales and the brand. Secondly, a manager needs to develop creative ideas to capture the attention of customers given that society keeps changing with times.
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