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Now people in more than 200 countries drink 1.9 billion servings every day, according to The Coca-Cola Company. Having a product people enjoy is far from the only thing needed to become one of the world's most valuable companies. In the book, "Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)," Butler and co-author Linda Tischler explore these seven strategies,A which we've explained below.
After serving as a Confederate colonel in the Civil War, John Pemberton wanted to develop a version of the coca wines (basically cola with alcohol and cocaine) that were in vogue at the time. Pemberton sent his nephew Lewis Newman with samples of his formulas to a local pharmacy where people congregated to drink these early versions of sodas.
Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, decided that Coca-Cola's logo should be written in the Spencerian script accountants used because it would differentiate it from its competitors. It's resulted in a logo that has had more than 100 years to become imprinted in the minds of people around the world. After the Georgia businessman Asa Griggs Candler became the majority shareholder of Coca-Cola in 1888, he set his sights on making Coke the nation's most popular cola through marketing and partnerships with regional bottlers. The new bottle had to be able to be mass produced using existing equipment yet also be distinct. The Root Glass Company in Indiana decided to enter the contest and base its design off the product's name. Coca-Cola commissioned the bottle design as a piece of defensive marketing, but began promoting the shape as much as the logo and product.
The Coke team decided that its drink should be served at 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and would send salesmen to new retailers to tell them the product should never be served above 40 degrees.
The tactic may seem a bit silly today, but the 36-degree standard was just another example of establishing Coca-Cola as a premium product that was worthy of more attention than any of its competitors. It became apparent after Candler took over early in the company's life that Coke was as much a drink as it was a consumable brand, an idea consumers could feel good about identifying with.
Candler started a mass coupon initiative that resulted in 10% of all products from 1887 to 1920 to be given away in order to build brand awareness.
This marked the beginning of what the company internally calls The Coca-Cola System, a franchise partnership with bottlers that allowed the brand to truly take off.
Anyone who's pulled back the tab opener of a cold aluminum soda can, only to hear the silence of a carbonated drink gone flat, can understand how Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) investors feel at this moment. By now it's well established that sales of Coca-Cola's flagship sweetened carbonated beverages are declining as consumers look to healthier, thirst-quenching alternatives. Yet the company has also unflinchingly maintained a business model that keeps Coke at the front and center of its revenue stream. There is quite simply no other brand in the world like Coca-Cola, the world's most universal beverage brand. Much is contained in the CEO's flowery and effusive praise for his company's major product.
Coke's top two priorities and the path of resistanceA few days after the earnings release, Coke executives closed out the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, or CAGNY, held in Boca Raton, Fla. The first priority, to accelerate "sparkling" (carbonated) growth, is a resolute echo of one of the pillars of Coca-Cola's "2020" strategy to double systemwide sales by the year 2020.

The fall-off in the growth rates of sparkling beverages and brand Coca-Cola has coincided with lower margins and lower return on invested capital for Coca-Cola. Some factors behind this decline are easy enough to discern: As consumers have become more tight-fisted since the recession of 2008-2009, Coke and other consumer goods companies have lost some of their ability to match inputs (raw materials) increases dollar for dollar with price increases.
Yet one can't help but wonder if Coke is allocating an expanding share of its marketing dollars to keep "accelerating growth of TradeMark Coca-Cola." Pumping in marketing dollars against declining demand could be one culprit behind the shrinking margins. Is the path of least resistance to flip priorities 1 and 2?In contrast to power brand Coca-Cola, and similar carbonated, sugary power brands like Sprite and Fanta, the company has 11 "still" billion-dollar brands, some of which have been scaled up to the billion-dollar mark rather quickly.
The company's own success with a variety of still categories demonstrates where future growth lies. What would happen if Coca-Cola incrementally eased marketing of its flagship brand, and made the growth and promotion of still beverages its first priority? Grab these dividend stock ideas from The Motley Fool for freeIt's well known that dividend stocks as a group can handily outperform their non-dividend-paying brethren over the long term. Coca-Cola used seven key design and marketing strategies, which made it as recognizable in the streets of Shanghai as in its hometown of Atlanta by the 1920s, says Coca-Cola VP of innovation and entrepreneurship David Butler. In 1886, Atlanta passed prohibition laws that forced beverage manufacturers to produce non-alcoholic versions of their drinks.
Newman relayed feedback to his uncle about the various concoctions, and by the end of the year Pemberton had a recipe that was unique and tailored to customers' tastes.
Other minor adjustments have been made in the past century or so, but beyond the "New Coke" disaster of 1985, the recipe has largely remained unchanged.
The company standardized the logo in 1923 and, like the recipe, decided that while packaging could adjust to the times, the core logo was to be untouched.
He launched a national contest for a new bottle design that would signal to consumers that Coke was a premium product that couldn't be confused with some other brown cola in an identical clear glass bottle. While combing through the dictionary for the word "coca" and words like it, Butler writes, mold shop supervisor Earl R. Even after plastic replaced glass as the standard means of drinking Coke in countries like the US, the company continued to promote the image of the Coke bottle as an icon. Before utilizing networking effects became a standard practice, Coca-ColaA used a similar approach to scale across the US and then throughout the world. He also provided retailers with Coca-Cola swag like posters and festoons for decorations and calendars and clocks for customers. However, its top growth priority is to continue to heavily promote Coke and other carbonated soft drinks. Coca-Cola's fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report was met by hearty skepticism last month. Coca-Cola has pushed heavily in recent years to increase sales of bottled juices, waters, energy drinks, coffees, and teas to revitalize its sales.
Is management leaning too heavily on its belief in the long-term invincibility of brand Coca-Cola? Kent is correct when he says that his team and the company's employees are stewards of the brand. Coke's management team used their presentation time to outline five strategic priorities to reverse recent stagnation.

As I've written about previously, the original plan calls for Coca-Cola Incorporated to "accelerate growth of Trademark Coca-Cola, the epicenter of our business."  At the conference the company supported this view by offering substantial evidence.
Fiercer competition for crowded shelf space also pressures Coke to adjust its pricing in various markets to incentivize sales.
A great example is Latin American juice brand Del Valle, which saw its sales double in four years, from $500 million to more than $1 billion, after Coke acquired it in 2007 and expanded distribution from three to 15 countries.
We'd probably see an even lower growth rate for sales of Coke and Diet Coke, which is a trend that seems to contradict the very grain of company belief and culture. A CPA and CMA with a deep interest in business strategy, I also hold a Master's degree in English Literature from NYU.
This decision helped the company scale, Butler writes, since it did not spend time trying to tailor the taste to regional markets throughout the world. According to Butler, Coke was a pioneer in affixing a brand to items unrelated to the product. And indeed, in many markets around the world, brand Coca-Cola remains magical but we need to work even harder to enhance the romance of the brand in every market around the world. Coke is one of the most dominant and valuable trademarks on earth, and it will continue to prosper for decades to come. It pointed out that if you split up brand Coca-Cola by geography, it's like having 19 "billion-dollar brands" in 19 different countries. We can be certain that a significant portion of the $1 billion in productivity savings to be allocated to marketing over the next few years (which the company announced in February), will be dedicated to promoting Coke.
Allowing Coke sales to remain flat or even decline a percentage point or two would free up marketing spend to lift distribution in any number of fast-growing categories, and might well be worth the sacrilege in the long term. When I'm not thinking finance, I'm often reading: novels, poetry, and recently, the Panama Papers. Coca-Cola had nothing to do with cocoa, but the cocoa pod had a strange but appealing shape. The drink was sold as a syrup that retailers would mix with soda water, but it wasn't typical to drink cola on the go or bring it into the home.
With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Candler decided to hand over the bottling rights for just a dollar, which he never collected, because he was content with maintaining the rights to the syrup. It appears that billion-dollar "still" brands are on a march to outnumber the 19 geographical Coca-Cola billion-dollar-sales countries by 2020, which is now just six short years away.
To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now. We know from the fourth-quarter earnings report that this growth rate must be still be declining, as brand Coca-Cola grew by only 1% last year.

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