7 lessons from Coca-Cola's approach to storytelling

7 lessons from Coca-Cola's approach to storytelling

One of the world's most recognisable brands, Coca-Cola's approach to storytelling has played a significant role in building and maintaining its....

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What can we learn from Coca-Cola, the world's most recognisable food and drink brand?

Widely regarded as one of the most iconic brands when it comes to marketing and advertising, Coca-Cola's campaigns focus on universal themes, such as friendship, family connection and togetherness. Most of worlds population have experienced the taste of Coke. Almost no other brand in the history can say that about their product.

This video documents their history and is worth a watch.

Here's 7 lessons we can learn about Coca-Cola's approach to storytelling.

1. Emotion is key

Coca-Cola's advertisements often tap into fundamental human emotions, such as joy, sharing, or celebration. By doing so, they create a bond between the audience, the product and the feelings they hope to inspire, making the brand feel desirable and relatable.

2. Consistency in messaging and branding 

Over the past 130 years, Coca-Cola has maintained a consistent brand voice. Their messaging around "Open Happiness," for example, translates across different languages, campaigns and media. The colour red, the contoured bottle shape and the iconic ribbon – all play a role in making their stories instantly identifiable as "Coca-Cola".

3. Adapt and evolve

While these core values have remained consistent, Coca-Cola demonstrates the importance of evolving with societal changes and technological advancements. They've embraced interactive storytelling and partnered with influencers and celebrities in an attempt to stay relevant with different audiences and cultures. 

4. Customer engagement

Coca-Cola regularly creates campaigns that encourage audience participation. By turning customers into active participants and storytellers, they ensure deeper brand engagement.

Remember the “Share a Coke” campaign, where names were printed on bottles, allowing consumers to feel a personal connection and become a part of the brand's narrative? Over the years, Coca-Cola has become synonymous with involving its audience in its storytelling.

5. Visual storytelling

As a brand that understands the power of imagery.  Coca-Cola uses their visual narratives, from the classic Norman Rockwell illustrations to contemporary advertisements, which are  immediately recognisable and evoke powerful feelings associated with the brand. They’ve also used immersive experiences to reach their audience in fresh and engaging ways.

6. Authenticity and cultural sensitivity

As a global brand, Coca-Cola has excelled at localising its storytelling narratives, respecting and reflecting the cultural nuances of different regions, making them relatable on a local level. Authenticity through their stories helps build trust. Coca-Cola often showcases real-life moments, stories, and people in their campaigns, ensuring narratives feel genuine.

7. Leveraging moments and movements

Coca-Cola is well versed in capitalising on global events such as the World Cup, the Olympics and the Super Bowl, as well as movements like environmental consciousness. Sustainability and community building are also themes that feature in their campaigns, which helps to connect them with a more socially-conscious audience.

The brand has made efforts to feature and represent diverse ethnicities, cultures and characters in its stories. This not only broadens their appeal but also sends a clear message about the brand's values.

In conclusion, Coca-Cola's storytelling mastery offers valuable insights for any brand or individual looking to connect deeply with an audience. By blending emotion, consistency, universal appeal, and by constantly adapting to the times, Coca-Cola has managed to stay relevant and loved by generations.

In this interview with Kate Santore, Sr. Integrated Marketing Content Manager at Coca-Cola, she explores how Brand Storytelling has evolved over the past 130 years, including their use of influencers as part of their marketing strategy.

About the author


Senior Content Strategist


I'm a seasoned content strategist and creative writer with over a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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