Discover Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks Brand + Best Product Brand

Another year and another win for Coca-Cola, who has been elected Best Product Brand and Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks Brand by the Belgian population. Together with Anouk Van Hauteghem, Marketing Director for Coca-Cola BeLux, we took a deep dive into the reason why Coca-Cola maintains this winning position.

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Just as in previous years, Coca-Cola is the favorite brand for Belgians in both categories (Best Product Brand and Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks Brand). How do you explain such a high level of awareness and love?

First of all, allow me to thank the full team of Serviceplan and GfK for organizing Best Brands Awards. What I really appreciate about the Best Brands Awards, is that they give a voice to our consumers. Being chosen as the most loved brand by our Belgian consumers is the highest honor we could strive for (and we will continue to strive for!). We feel blessed and the whole team is very proud.

I believe the brand love score is so high, simply because the love is mutual. We have one clear mantra within The Coca-Cola Company and that is putting the consumer first and central in everything we do. Our aim is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our consumers. This is reflected in our company purpose, ‘Refresh the world and make a difference’. With our drinks, we want to refresh people in body and spirit. It’s also about how we aim to act sustainably and limit the footprint we leave behind. It’s about how we want to contribute as a business to the communities we serve. And last but not least, it is about how we want to refresh, inspire and develop the people who work with us.

You talked about limiting your footprint on the planet, can you give an example of what you did recently?

Since the summer of 2021, we moved Coca-Cola and by extension, our full portfolio towards 100% recycled PET. We are one of the first companies in Belgium doing this at such a mass scale. Packaging accounts for a big part of our footprint and recycled plastic has a 70% lower impact than virgin plastic. So using rPET will help us to avoid using 14.000 ton of virgin plastic on an annual base and will have a positive impact on our CO2 emissions.  This is a key milestone, but definitely not the last one. During our last earnings announcement, our CEO James Quincy announced a new global goal to reach 25% reusable packaging by 2030. This means that globally one in every four servings across our portfolio of brands will be served in reusable packaging by 2030. Through innovation we continue to investigate how we can further reduce the use of packaging.

Anouk Van Hauteghem, Marketing Director Coca-Cola
Last year, you explained a few examples of how Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy had been adapted to the reality of the pandemic, specifically your campaign “Open like never before”. Over the past year, have you continued to include the COVID topic in your campaigns? Do you think it helped you to stay a Best Brand?

As a brand it is crucial to be ‘externally focussed’ – meaning to stay in tune with what is happening in the world – in the everyday lives of our consumers. The Covid crisis is constantly evolving, and so should our communications approach. Coca-Cola wants to embrace the new reality and provide a positive outlook on the future. In September of last year, we launched a new global brand philosophy and platform called ‘Real Magic’, which invites everyone to celebrate the real magic of humanity. This new philosophy refreshes Coca-Cola’s promise – to unite and uplift people all over the world in the everyday – with renewed relevance for the world in which we live today. It is built from the lessons we learned over the past 2 years: that we really can find magic all around us when we come together in the unexpected and unpredicted moments which elevate the everyday into the extraordinary.

What is your innovation strategy?

The unique and loved taste of Coca-Cola has been around for 136 years globally and this year we celebrate 95 years in Belgium! Our recipe remains one of the biggest and best-kept secrets and the unique and uplifting experience of drinking a Coca-Cola hasn’t changed over the years. The center point of our innovation strategy is to provide the ‘Real Thing’ and offer consumers the choice to drink our beverages with or without sugar. That is why we have renewed the recipe of Coca-Cola zero sugar in 2021. The new taste is even closer to the taste of Coca-Cola Original. The perfect reason to enjoy it without compromises!
More holistically, as a Company, our innovation strategy is fueling our ambition to grow as a Total Beverages Company. A good example here is the launch of Fuze Tea in 2018, a low calorie iced tea beverage and growing success.

How will you try to maintain this top position as a Best Brand?

Again, by putting our consumer central in everything we do. We will continue to build ‘Real Magic’ and ‘Make a Difference’, together.
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