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Coke Zero Innovation Process and Implementation by Coca-Cola Company


Entrepreneurs are always in the front in opportunity identification. They look at the opportunities as a leeway to earn more and have competitive advantages over the competitors. To get hold of an opportunity, the entrepreneur undertakes a process that would help them develop an innovation that meets the opportunity presented. The majority of entrepreneurs rely on new ideas to assist them in developing these business models or in making updates to the model they are already using. They might use this passion to build original tactics for their firm’s success. The coca-cola industry has been existing in the world for many decades. The company, just like any other company, has introduced new products they introduce in the market after identifying the opportunity. This paper, therefore, entails a description and critical analysis of how coca-cola sported and implemented the Coke Zero product. It will evaluate the business model chosen for implementing Coke Zero.


Before any innovation, the first essential step is opportunity identification. Colas is a kind of carbonated soft drink that is sweetened, flavored, and carbonated. They are also known as sodas, soft drinks, cokes, pops, and soda pops. Caffeine and sugar or high-fructose corn syrup are the two most common sweeteners used in most colas. Cola was first created in 1886 by John Pemberton, who also produced Coca-Cola, a beverage rapidly replicated by several other corporations. Many people have been using the drink for a long since its inception. However, a concern rose among the users in relation to a person’s health. The development of insulin resistance, one of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, has been linked to excessive fructose consumption. It’s possible that the sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which removes sugar from the blood, may decrease with time. Sugary beverages are associated with several health risks, one of which is metabolic syndrome, commonly occurring before the onset of type 2 diabetes. According to Ms et al. (2019), If a person drinks even one or two colas daily, the chance of developing type 2 diabetes might rise by more than 20%. Another health issue with the initial product is a heart attack. Consuming sugar is associated with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and extra body fat, all of which raise the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. There is a correlation between drinking sugary beverages like colas and other sugary drinks and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Research has also shown that postmenopausal women who drink colas may have an increased chance of getting endometrial (or uterine) cancer. This risk is increased when compared to women who do not drink colas. These health issues led many people who used to drink a cola to stop (Heasman, 2020). Coca-cola company had to think of a product that would meet these customers’ needs. Therefore, coca-cola identified an opportunity in the market for zero sugar drinks. The number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases continued to grow, and people were becoming careful about what they ate. The company identifies the opportunity as a way of bringing a product that is diet friendly and could hold the customers.

After identification of the opportunity, coca-cola company generated the concept. Research plays a key role at this stage of production. Since market research is the most critical factor at this stage, the company undertook market research to give the business a good sense of the demand in the market, the size of the market, whether or not innovation is feasible, and the dangers associated with it (Rush, 2019). During this phase, the company gathered information, researched and studied, accumulated and analyzed data, and did other similar activities. Extensive research was carried out throughout the creation of this game-changing product. The company researched and felt that the customers who have been using the coca-cola brand daily would prefer the drink they wish to produce. The main reason that was causing most of the customers to stop drinking the coca caller was the sugar content that it had. To counter this, the company identified that they could produce a product with no sugar or calories. Though there was the diet drink they had already created, the company saw a need for another product that the customers would appreciate. In addition, the company realized that the market for this new product would be on a rising trend as most of the people who longed to have the same drink that is healthier. According to Ms et al. (2019), the lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart attack, and many others have been on the rise, which is good news for the product as it would have greater market share with time. However, there was a danger in that the customers were very specific that they needed a healthier product. Therefore, the project could scramble if they realise that the new product does not have any benefit.

The next stage of the innovation process is innovation. In this third and last stage of development, the objective is to create a finished and commercially viable product (Rush, 2019). It entails working on developing procedures, constructing prototypes, and conducting testing. The development and the processes are conceptually defined and mirror the product’s prototype. After this, the product is tested to simulate how it will be used. If the prototype does not represent the required features, the organization looks for ways to enhance it to compensate for the gap, and then it goes through the “design-built-test” process again (Rush, 2019). The coke zero product was developed at this stage, with the development following the research conducted. The company produced the product in terms of releases aimed at testing if it meets the market demand during its subsequent release to assess and substantiate its claims. In one of their most important projects, Nielsen, the product developer, used three distinct analytics platforms in the United States to research the launch.

According to information obtained from the Nielsen retail panel study, the launch of Coke Zero was carried out satisfactorily. The brand’s distribution was quite robust and aggressively pushed inside the retail establishments where it was sold. It also suggested that the sales were looking good for the new product. However, the majority of the sales were generated by test purchases. In addition, the Homescan consumer panel conducted by Nielsen revealed that the number of repeat customers was not very high (Ms et al., 2019). It is important to note that both bespoke research and data collected from consumer panels suggested that Diet Coke was the primary driver of growth for the brand. Cannibalization of Diet Coke sales and a low rate of repeat purchases were the two criteria that caused the most cause for worry at the end of the analysis.

The lifetime of a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) product is directly correlated to the amount of repeat business it receives. Therefore, the only way for a product like this to be successful is if it builds up a solid base of regular customers (Heasman, 2020). Low repeat purchase rates strongly indicate that consumers who tried the product were unsatisfied. There are normally two different conditions that might cause this to occur. Either the product does not live up to its potential in some way or does not appeal to the demographic it was designed to serve.

A person must be aware of Coca-Cola Zero’s history to comprehend the danger signs. Coca-Cola Zero was introduced as a solution to customers’ demand for beverages that were lower in calories and healthier (Fleming, 2018). Colas are generally not seen as having a positive association with health. As a direct result of this, their market share has decreased, and Coca-Cola has been cannibalized by healthier beverage options, some of which were even introduced by The Coca-Cola Company (Marketingdive, n.d.). The introduction of Coca-Cola Zero was thus planned to reclaim former consumers of Coca-Cola as well as stop any further decline in the brand’s popularity. It was not just another diet cola; those who drank Diet Coke were not the intended demographic. Some customers, namely female customers, are more interested in dieting than others. Most of these customers favored Diet Coke and were acclimated to the product’s flavor. When they gave Coca-Cola Zero a try, they found that it did not excite any of their senses, which is not unexpected.

Individuals who were concerned about their health and weight but did not like products associated with dieting were the consumers that The Coca-Cola Company was most interested in targeting with Coca-Cola Zero (Marketingdive, n.d.). These consumers included individuals who were concerned about their weight and health. They were typically either frequent consumers of Coca-Cola at the time or had been in the past. In order to attract their attention, it was necessary to convey the promise that the brand offers, which is that it tastes just like genuine Coca-Cola but has no calories.

The fourth stage of the innovation process is market expansion or commercialization. At this point, cutting-edge items have reached their last stages of development (Tohidi & Jabbari, 2012). At this point, the most important thing is to get the product out there on the market and promote awareness via various marketing and sales campaigns. Because products that result from innovation are typically novel and unheard of by most consumers, businesses must employ different marketing strategies to promote them. For this reason, the coca-cola company endeavored to promote the coke zero product. The company then launched a campaign promoted on television, online, and in movie theaters, with supporting activities spanning out-of-home advertising, digital, and public relations. The advertisement was produced by McCann Worldgroup Europe and continues the brand’s ‘First Taste’ concept (Cocacola, n.d.). It focuses on a retired man named Mr. Hadley, who is offered a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar for the very first time, leading to a series of new firsts in his life. His exploits include reuniting with an old flame named Alice, getting a tattoo, participating in the Pride Parade, and crowd-surfing at a music festival. The first production of coke none zero was done in 2005, and it never had any serious impact.

The last stage of the innovation process is called learning and re-innovation. One of the effects of the invention is to serve as a springboard for the subsequent iteration of the innovation cycle (Arvaniti et al., 2022). Even if an innovative product or procedure is not successful, the experience may nevertheless give valuable insights for businesses to use in their ongoing efforts to innovate. In the process of future innovation, the stage consisting of learning and modifying is required without fail n (Arvaniti et al., 2022). The Coke zero underwent this stage too. The company has been making changes to the product after every launch, and no success has been realized in the market. After learning that the product was not successful in the market, in 2015 coca cola changed the taste of the coca zero product to have the refresh that is common with all its product (Cramer, 2021). The launch of this product in the market resulted in more customers though the impact was not as great as the company had wished, leading to another time for innovating the product again.

In April of 2016, Coca-Cola changed the name of Coke Zero to Coke Zero Sugar, which immediately affected the company’s sales. Coke reports that its sales are rising, and its Coke Zero Sugar product is its most successful new offering (Ashokcharan, n.d.). Moreover, YouGov BrandIndex indicates that consumers’ impressions of Coke Zero Sugar have improved. Since the rebranding, its Index score has seen a statistically significant improvement, going from -2.6 in April 2016 to 1.5 in January this year. The Index score considers quality, value, and customer happiness (Ashokcharan, n.d.). Additionally, during the same period, its Quality score went from -1.1 to 2, representing a significant improvement. Cocacola (n.d.) also adds that The no-calorie beverage that is a fan favorite now goes by the name Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and provides a formula that tastes even better than before, thanks to innovations made in-house and extensive market testing. The new and better formula has the same flavor as a Coca-Cola beverage, but it has neither sugar nor calories. In August of 2017, Coke Zero Sugar was released to consumers all around the country. This shows that in the long run, the new product was successful in the market.

Throughout the process, from opportunity identification to the success of the new product, the company employed a customer-based business model. In this model, the company ensured that they focused on customer needs at all the stages of the product development. The product was identified through a study on customer behavior research that found that most customers avoid the product because of sugar levels and health issues (Cramer, 2021). Creating the new product was essential for capturing the market. The product has undergone a series of development that was still customer based to make the product meet the customer demands. In the long run, the branding of the product to Coke no sugar could make the product meet the customer demand. In addition to rebranding, the company continued effort to lower the sugar levels also played a part in the model to improve the product and make it a success.


The process of innovation undergoes different stages for any organization. The first stage is the identification of the opportunity in the market. Coca-cola company identified the opportunity in the production of the drink that had no sugar for those who had health concerns. The next stage is idea formation and Mobilization, which entails the process of coming up with an idea by Coca-Cola Mobilization, on the other hand, entails gathering information that relates to the product to be produced that coca cola did. The third stage is the experimentation stage, where the idea is implemented and tested over a given period. Coke zero underwent this stage where several launches were done and tested over time for improvement. The fourth step is marketing and expanding, which entails spreading information on the technology developed, which coca cola company did for the Coke zero product through several advertisements. The last stage is learning and re-innovation, which entails reviewing what failed to form a stepping stone for future development. The coke zero product innovation in the coca-cola industry has also undergone the same process, from idea formation to learning and innovation. The innovation evaluation in the coca zero products showed that the company uses the customer-based model. In this model, the innovations are based on the satisfaction that can come with the product they provide for the market. In the long run, the company could rebrand and improve its product, making it successful in the market.


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