External and internal influences on Coca-Cola Company

External and internal influences on Coca-Cola Company

Generation Y market segment, which constitutes people between the age of 16 and 30, experiences both external and internal influences in consumption, particularly regarding Coca-Cola products. External influences are social and environmental factors. This paper is write to show the analysis of Generation Y consumers on the lenses of external and internal influences and give recommendations on marketing strategies to a marketer of this segment.

Group and Interpersonal Influence

Reference groups

These are groups of individuals who have a direct impact on consumer’s judgment and behavior on products. Potential group influences are the ways in which a certain group of people influences attitude, ideas, and behaviors of a people within that group. Group members have the same visions, influence each other, common social basic and rules. The groups are divided into primary, secondary, formal, informal and aspirational groups.

The primary group encompasses those who always together and joint to one another, they include the family, friends, and colleges. The secondary group members have formal relationships and their interaction is much limited. They include professional individuals and social clubs. Reference groups for Generation Y include university and college groups, career groups, and online shopping groups (Kanchanapibul, Lacka, Wang, & Chan, 2014).

A formal group is where a consumer is an influence into the activities of the group until they become part of the group. This group has rules and regulations that must be adhered to and certain behavior is tolerated. The informal group is where one does not need any official application or requirement to join. Examples of such groups for Generation Y are going for a party, sporting or conversing.

An aspirational group is a group in which an individual consumer wishes to join. The consumer always has the ambition to be part of a certain group according to an ideal self. This is opposed to a dissociative group in which an individual does not wish or desire to join. Generation Y consumers join social groups on social media like WhatsApp and Facebook, and athletics and soccer groups. They also engage in developmental and career groups.

The reference group influence and their impacts are categorized into three;

Informational influence: This influence is as a result of the desire to make a detailed and informed decision and optimizing choices. The generation y would only be influenced by the ideas that improve their knowledge and the ability to deal with the environment. This influence only functions of an individual takes into considerations the ideas and information they acquire from the reference group. When a consumer lacks knowledge about this segment they may consider information from the groups and accept them as valid. They may also inquire from family, friends or research from the social media about the desired product (Hemalatha&Ravichandran, 2009). They may also be influenced by advertisements, featuring people consuming similar products from televisions or social media. This generation spends a lot of time watching television, thus they see different ads thus influencing them into trying the drinks. A 16-20 year individual has a lot of time to inquire hence increasing the consumption rate of the soft drinks.

Utilitarian influence: This is where an individual is willing to satisfy the desire and expectations of a group either to escape punishment or to gain praise. Under this type of influence, people on this generation y segment were found willing to accept the group’s answers as true and even go to an extent of changing their own original right answers. By using a certain commodity for advertisement, one may gain social approval will have a great social influence on a group of consumers (Bakewell& Mitchell, 2003). There is some advertisement where one individual is seen being punished or criticized for not using the product, this sends a great message to a group of consumers to try that product, that is, a soft drink. For this generation, to be accepted in society, they will do anything to gain favor, thus consuming the drinks because of peers.

The value expressive group; individuals join the group to express their beliefs and norms. In accordance with religion, Generation Y is greatly influenced by their faith and beliefs into consuming a particular product as this influences them psychologically into buying or liking these soft drinks. The carbonated drinks influence 16-year-old consumerssince they consider them as lifestyle due to the freshness they bring.

Role of Situational Influence

Situational power: It is the ability of an individual to be influenced by a certain force, either internal or social force. By promoting their brands, through ads may be influencing socially to this Generation Y segment group as they go with what is a current market.

Legitimate power: Marketers have a special power which there subordinates are aware of and.  There are always agreements in these groups and members are aware of the consequences. Marketers can use this power to force or implement certain product rules to the consumers thus, benefiting the company. This generation is easily influenced by power and strives for anything to avoid punishment.

Reward power: Groups use the influence of gifting their members for their actions when certain good behaviors are met. These rewards may include praising members, promotions. Marketers can use promotions to advertise their products and gift the members. An example is putting certain codes of winning on the bottles to reward the consumers since Generation Y consumes a lot of these products will highly be influenced into buying and winning.

Coercive power: This is where the group is given the power to punish members for breaking certain rules. This can only be achieved if the groups adhere to the set of rule, by ensuring that punishment is granted to lawbreakers.

Expert power: Here members of a group have knowledge and skills that others want. This is important since the Generation Y can seek information from the group members and end up with the right product. This can be made effective by marketers seeking information from the groups about a product before letting it out to the public.

Referent power: This is where an individual consumer has an interest in qualities of a group and copies the behaviors. Marketers can create a behavior through advertisement about their products for this generation to emulate since they are mostly influenced by what they see.

Culture and Subculture

These are societal beliefs explaining what society accepts and believe in. There are things a society believes should and those should not be consumed.  Cultural norms are the rules governing a certain group of people and their behavior and anybody going against them faced punishment. A market should know their consumer’s belief in accordance with the kind of drinks they take.

The core value that majorly influences the Generation Y are:

Self-direction:This implies to the uncontrolled minds. This segment, majorly consisting of individuals of between ages 18-30 tend to be self-directed, desiring for freedom, independent and outspoken (Rugimbana, 2007). Consuming these soft drinks is basically their own decision since they feel attracted to them.

Stimulation values: They are the basic needs of these individuals to be in the right state of mind. The generation y tends to be highly influenced by any physical and social effects.

Universalism: This involves the protecting, appreciating, upholding the health and stability of people and nature. This value unites humans and nature, ensuring that each benefit from one another positively. This generation y segment comprises of healthy and young people who have the capability to take care of nature. Marketers can use advertisement to help protect nature and human life.

Benevolence: This is protecting the lives of people that the generation is frequently in contact with. This value promotes oneness and togetherness between individuals, family, and friends. These products act as a unifying factor since they consume them in groups of peers.

Tradition: This value promotes the keeping of one’s customs and norms and religion. Most cultural beliefs are kept by them coming together and sharing their ideas and cultural tales.

Conformity: This value major on the individual restriction that may seem to hand or endanger others. These are self-discipline, humbleness, and respect to everybody. Generation Y has to have these values to prevent them from harming others (Rugimbana, 2007).

Security: Generation Y is kept safe and their relationship maintained through this cultural value. They tend to be in relations with each other especially one age group and therefore security should be well preserved as one never knows what others are thinking.

Power:This value refers to one’s social status and prestige. They may also include one’s achievements and social respect. Social status depends on their culture.

Achievement: These are one’s success in life. They may include ambitions or capabilities. They are majorly influenced by societal approvals. Generation Y has attained a college education and is now in the socialization and relationships stage.

Hedonism: This value majorly entails one’s complete satisfaction in achieving something. One may indulge in calibrations or pleasure to enjoy life.

According to the consumption of these soft drinks, Generation Y consumers are majorly influenced by the cultural values and therefore they tend to consume them according to their beliefs.  During advertisements, the young generation tends to look at the taste, cover or even what they hear that is related to their culture. Example, a lime water bottle drew a picture of a mountain or spring majorly influences people because of the belief of such places being cool and fresh. Individual of ages 16-30 years are likely to welcome carbonated drinks because they consider it attractive.

Internal influences

Needs and motive:

The human being has five types of needs, and the customers are influenced by their needs. Generation Y is always curious and therefore they keenly look for what they want in a drink by acquiring information from the backs of the bottles. For them to select a drink the sense of touch, smell, and appearance greatly influence them. This then creates sensations in the customer’s mind satisfying the need of psychological factor. Self-esteem needs and belonging needs are the two leading needs among Generation Y consumers (McLeod, 2007). As such, as the company markets this group, the needs being met will range from self-esteem and belonging. Therefore, Generation Y needs a brand they can identify with and boost their self-esteem. A background logo on the Coca Cola brand is imagery of white and red writings. The red in white color tends to signify passion, lifestyle. The carbonic taste creates a sensation in the customer’s mind impressing them, thus meeting the need for esteem. Coca-Cola Company always engages in walks to promote their brands. They also put coca cola images in movies, the generation Y thus familiarize with the bottles and brands which creates a sense of belonging.

Perceptions:  This is the process by which the consumers choose, arrange and interpret stimuli to come up with a clear picture. These implications are necessary since this Generation Y makes a conclusion on what they perceive. These perceptions include Perception of images, which are likely to be purchased unlike the unfavorable images of products. This generation tends to perceive things and compare them with real images. They would rather go for the perceived brand than the neutral brand (Solomon, 2014). Nevertheless, Generation Y has a strong attachment with appearances that accompanies the taste.

Perception of cost and quality has a lot of impact on these products. This generation would rather go for the drinks of their perceived cost and quality. Prices outside an acceptable range are most likely rejected.

Consumers offer judgment on products depending on the information they have in which some may be true others false. Generation Y would judge a product depending on the price, in cases where they lack adequate information about the product. This generation is also influenced by the retail stores and the products they offer. They tend to look at the manufacturers, and those with highly favored products are largely consumed compared to those with a neutral image.


During promotions, the consumers are attracted to what rewards them. Generation Y likes experimenting. They would go for drinks of different types until they find that which suits them best. Operant condition theory is best for promotions. These consumers love what they see and taste (Bakewell, Mitchell, &Rothwell, 2006). They would taste different coca cola products until they find that which satisfies them. In marketing and promotions, this theory is applicable because of the target market are young consumers who only desire for what satisfy and reward them.

Marketing Strategies

Generation Y consumers constitute the largest consumer segment in Canada, and with such a huge consumer base, it follows that firms in the soft drinks industry will consider this generation (Freeman, 2009). As the segment continuously increases, Coke brand will have to meet its evolving situations and needs to efficiently market to Generation Y. Based on the prior analysis, the following recommendations are made for a Coca Cola marketer of Generation Y.

  1. Engage Generation Y and get its input on the marketing strategy

If the company desires to target a certain sub-section of Generation Y, it should consider getting out there besides connecting with the members personally through surveys and focus groups with incentives (Giovannini, Xu, & Thomas, 2015). Generation Y is highly attracted to the experience at the expense of firms’ traditional techniques of marketing. They love it when entertainment is offered to them while they are being educated. Any form of marketing that integrates both education and entertainment will best reach this market segment.

  1. Embrace transparency

Generation Y loves transparent brands. One way of attracting this segment is via sharing behind-the-scenes info about what the Coca-Cola Firm is working on and at the same time encouraging them to give their feedback regarding their favorite services, product, branding, etc. (including a freebie might still help). Since the group is tech-savvy, the marketer should also focus on creating short videos and sharing high-quality photos about new Coke products, employees, and other clients on social media to for the members relate to and in turn, connect with the brand more than ever (Kanchanapibul et al., 2014). As earlier articulated, Generation Y makes consumption decisions significantly based on perceptions.

  1. Snap Generation Y consumers up with SnapChat and face them on Facebook

Generation Y members are the dominant social media users, where Snapchat Facebook rank as the first and second, daily online stops. Furthermore, a huge percentage of this segment owns a smartphone, a tablet, or a PC. To really capture this population, sensibly, one will need to go on Facebook or Snapchat. Generation Y audience responds well to a non-sales, authentic, and story-telling strategy. With snap-reply engagement and the right spokesperson, a firm may build trust, win followers, and acquire customers (Petrovski&Pestana, 2017).

  1. Be authentic and personal

If one reaches out to Generation Y in a personalized and real manner, the resulting engagement and interaction will lead to a good understanding of the product in question. Thinking about individualized experiences within social media coupled with exceptional customer service will equal great marketing. Of essence, Generation Y looks for an authentic voice.


In summary, Generation Y consumers are the largest and ever-growing market share. Reference groups for this market segment include online shopping groups, college/university groups, and career development groups. Social and aspirations groups for Generation Y constitute social groups on social media. 16-30-year-old consumersare characterized by self-esteem and search belongings needs. Their buying habits are greatly dictated by perceptions, and they like experimenting. However, this group looks for authentic brands with differentiated products it can identify themselves with. To this end, Operand Conditioning would be an ideal theory when marketing to Generation Y consumers. When marketing to this segment, a Coca Cola marketer should engage the members, be authentic and personal, capture the audience on social networks, and remain transparent.


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