In a way, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, approached the occasion of its 125th anniversary with a celebration of change. The company has gone through a multitude of overhauls in its century and a quarter history that represent the evolution of its business and the industry, such as the following:

  • Until 1955, The Coca-Cola Co. offered one product in one package. Today, the company owns a stable of 3,500 products globally.
  • It began as a dispensed beverage, now roughly one-third of its business is sold through fountain equipment. To keep up with the consumers’ demand for choice, the company reinvented the fountain dispenser with its Freestyle fountain dispenser. The machine gives consumers in foodservice outlets the option of 125 combinations of brands and flavors, including a new Cherry Vanilla flavor for its cola platform.
  • Throughout its 125 years in business, the company has maintained a constant presence in the marketplace through its classic script logo. However, the way it interacts with consumers has changed and continues to evolve as social media and technology affects its marketing tactics.

In addition to honoring its heritage, the company also looks at the occasion as a way to share its gratitude to the people who have kept the brand at the forefront of the beverage industry for more than a century.

“We’re using this anniversary as an occasion to celebrate the people, the places, the partners and the consumers that we serve around the globe — millions of consumers — in thousands of communities, not only today and tomorrow, but over 125 years,” says Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America. “And then over the next several months, we are going to be looking for ways not only to celebrate, but to thank everyone, ranging from customers and consumers, but also people who work at the company today and have worked in the system before.”

Throughout its organization, employees remain committed to upholding the legacy of this world famous brand. During The Coca-Cola Co.’s media event dedicated to its anniversary plans, employees used terms such as “custodians,” “curators” and “catalysts” to describe the role they play in the brand’s heritage.

Moreover, the anniversary is an opportunity to share its plans to continue an upward trajectory.

“What’s clear to us, more than ever, as we remain very humble and hungry, is what got us to 125 years is not going to sustain us,” says Joe Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer of The Coca-Cola Co.

It’s that kind of innovative thinking that The Coca-Cola Co. hopes will help it continue to not only grow, but double its business by the year 2020.

Whether you’re a Cherry Vanilla Coca-Cola, Vitaminwater or Simply Orange Juice fan, it’s clear we’ll all continue watching the curators, custodians and catalysts that helped make The Coca-Cola Co. one of the most integral, and fascinating, companies in this industry.

Cheers to 125 years!

Jennifer Zegler