If you want an example of an American corporate success story then you need look no further than Coca Cola. The company has been around since 1886 and was developed by a man named John Pemberton, affectionately known as “Doc”. Doc fought in the Civil War and once the war was over he was looking to start a business and create a product to sell.
Initially Pemberton tried his hand at making pharmaceutical products inventing several different drugs. Not one of them made Pemberton a dime. Later on Pemberton relocated to Atlanta and decided the beverage market would be a better fit. Back then in the south the temperance movement was gaining strength and instead of gathering in pubs, bars or saloons people were gathering around soda fountains and it was here Coca Cola was born.
A Rough Start
Pemberton wasn’t the greatest business man ever and he had no clue about sales or marketing. Enter Frank Robinson, he was the guy who saw that the patent got registered, he created that logo that is recognized all over the world. He even created the slogan “The Pause that Refreshes”. The first year was a rough one for Coke and they didn’t sell much at all. 1888 was also the year that Doc Pemberton died, he would go to his grave never knowing how successful coke would go on to become. Here is a look at coke in the early years.
Asa Griggs Candler Steps In
After the passing of Doc Pemberton the business was floundering and a man named Asa Griggs Candler stepped in to rescue the company. It was in 1891 that he became the sole owner of the company. Unlike Doc Pemberton, Asa Griggs Candler did know a thing or two about marketing and it was he who hired salesman to pass out coupons for free cokes. Griggs wanted people to try Coke, love it and then continue to buy it. While that marketing tactic is pretty commonplace today back then it was revolutionary.
The Coke Logo Goes Everywhere
While the coupons helped spread the word about Coke what really was instrumental in putting coke on the map was slapping the logo absolutely everywhere. Back then you could find the coke logo on posters, bookmarks, lunch boxes, and calendars. That was how coke went from a small local brand to a national brand. Initially coke was sold as a medicine, until Congress decided to tax on medicines after that was coke was sold as a beverage.