Virtual public relations are very important aspects of every business as the relations determine the success and profitability of the business. PR helps in communicating with potential customers and spreading information about a particular company. International companies are obligated to invest heavily in managing their PR as it determines the reputation of the public towards the company.
Investors and employees select companies depending on their virtual public relations. PR is a management function that manipulates the attitudes that the public has towards a company. PR has visible results regarding what the company does and how it relates to the public. Essentially, poorly managed virtual public relations will draw away the interest and trust of the public.
This paper will take a stringent analysis of the virtual PR of two multinational companies, PepsiCo, Inc., and the Coca-Cola Company. It will analyze the companies’ prominence, employees, and customers. Further, the paper will take a stringent analysis of the companies’ websites and compare their online PR presence and activities.
A brief overview of the two companies
PepsiCo, Inc. is a multinational food and beverage company that deals with snacks and beverages. The company has expanded enormously in its struggle to beat its main competitor, the Coca-Cola Company.
The struggles to have a competitive advantage enabled PepsiCo, Inc. to be one of the largest Food and Beverage Companies in the globe. In 2013, the company had about 274,000 employees and an infinite number of customers across the globe. Since PepsiCo, Inc. has a wide variety of products, it targets customers of all ages.
On the other hand, Coca-Cola ranks first in the list of the world’s manufacturers of soft drinks. The company manufactures and distributes non-alcoholic beverage concentrates across the world.
Like PepsiCo, Inc., the company has expanded through acquisitions of other soft drink companies in its struggle to maintain a competitive position (McKelvey, 2006). In the year 2013, the company had about 130,600 employees and an infinite number of customers across the globe. Its low-calorie spackling beverage products target every thirsty consumer of any age.
Analysis of the companies’ websites
Anyone who intends to find information about PepsiCo is obligated to visit the company’s website. The company’s official website uses GUI (Graphical User Interface) that is considerably light and easy to use. The website is user-friendly, as the users click on the icons of their interest to obtain the information that they want. The website has four main subsections:
- who we are,
- what we believe,
- brands you love,
Users navigate the cursor over each subsection to access wealthy information about the company and its products. Every tap on the outlined information takes the users to a different page that expounds on the item of interest. The website has particular strengths and weaknesses about the characteristics of an efficient website.
PepsiCo’s website is visually appealing, and it shows some professionalism. The most appealing thing in PepsiCo’s website is its simplicity. The website has organized layouts that allow viewers to focus on the message rather than cluttered images. Online retailers will find it meaningful to observe the high quality and meaningful graphics that are visible in the adequate whitespace allowed on the homepage.
The homepage of the website and all other pages have a consistent design, and the entire website is user-friendly. Even nonprofessionals can navigate through the website and obtain the information that they want without much difficulty (Phillips, 2014). The content of the homepage is perfect, and most importantly, the website is fast loading as it does not contain heavy elements.
The website does not make good use of its blue color, as the color is scanty. At a glance, someone cannot cogitate that PepsiCo deals with food and beverage products, as the website is somewhat dull. The search box and category list appear at the bottom of the page, and users may find difficulties in locating it.
The first impression that the Coca-Cola Company website brings is the value for images and customers. The quality images that appear on the website promote the brand of the company.
The different subsections presented at the homepage comprise of the food, culture, business, sports, jobs, brands, sustainability, innovation, and history of the company. Although Coca-Cola promotes its products by advertising their friendly prizes on their website, the homepage of the website has several strengths and weaknesses as discussed below.
The Coca-Cola Company website is rich in color, and it creates a mood of happiness. Red and white are the primary colors of the company, and they are visible on the website.
The images used are of high quality, and they present every item in the menu bar. The recognition of the 2014 FIFA world cup is a clear indication that the website keeps people updated on the current events. The website is search engine friendly as it attracts users of major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo (Phillips, 2014). The website is accessible through different web browsers.
The website is bulky with overwhelming graphics all over the page. Although the graphics are of high quality, they are overused, and they can easily distract users from viewing the written content. Some of the graphics on the website are meaningless, and they duplicate information. An entire page in the Coca-Cola website is loaded with about 15 images. Essentially, the entire page is quite heavy, and it does not have adequate white space.
The content given to every snapshot is minimal, and visitors of the website may have to spend much time trying to conceptualize everything on the homepage. Interesting, a 3-minute video demonstrating the 2014 FIFA World cup trophy tour is also present on the home page of the website.
Although the company has done much by representing itself graphically, the clogged website does not load fast. Visitors will not find it easy to navigate through the website, as the unlimited graphics can divert their attention.
Media, consumer, and community relations
PepsiCo, Inc. has employed efforts to ensure that it maintains a positive relationship with the media, customers, and the entire community. The company has consumer relations managers who serve as advocates between the company and the customers. The managers develop strong and collaborative relationships with all workers to ensure that they make feasible business decisions that are beneficial to the customers.
The entire exercise aims at protecting the brand name of the company, protecting the trademarks, and strengthening the customers’ positive reputation.
The consumer relations managers ensure that the employees undergo various training that promotes their communication skills and their service standards. Although the company deals with millions of customers, the employees have the best customer care standards as they serve consumers accurately and effectively.
PepsiCo, Inc. has special approaches to reaching its intended population through social media. Instead of paying for commercial adverts, the company reaches people through social media, and it inspires them to initiate viable projects. The monies set aside for adverts are diverted into useful projects. Essentially, people have the freedom to propose viable projects relating to health matters, culture, food, and education, among other topics.
The consumers post their ideas on PepsiCo’s online page, and they vote for particular proposals of their interest. After that, PepsiCo tallies the posts, and it donates money to initiate the most voted posts. PepsiCo’s user-friendly and interactive website encourages people to interact through Facebook, Twitter, and Hulu.
Other media relations outlets through which PepsiCo reaches its customers include local broadcast networks and international media partners. The strong media relations have played a great role in strengthening the virtual PR of PepsiCo, Inc.
The company’s involvement in community projects is a clear indication of its efforts to maintain strong community relations. The Pepsi Refresh Project is one of the projects that have played a critical role in challenging other businesses and non-profit organizations. The unique social responsibility initiative obligates the company to donate grants for specific projects, and the consumers have the responsibility of doing the work.
The entire exercise aims at identifying things that need to be changed in the community, and the company plays a critical role in changing them accordingly. The company distributes ads that have very captivating phrases, and people are motivated to address controversial matters. The most interesting community-based initiative is the Dream Machine recycling initiative.
The initiative aims at preserving the environment by encouraging people to recycle plastic cans and bottles. After registration, consumers scan the barcodes of the used cans and place them in the appropriate chute. After that, the machine issues the users with receipts containing reward points that are redeemable for movie tickets and coupons among other purchasable products.
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company has accurate social media relations that enhance their public relations. The company has an open space on their website where users have the freedom to post whatever they think about the company and its products. Twitter, Facebook, and blog sites are some of the social media marketing sites that Coca-Cola Company uses to reach its customers.
The sites are imperative in connecting the company to the rest of the world. Through the posts of the customers, the company can determine its weak areas and address them accordingly. The level of interaction and viewership of the company’s website is a clear indication that the Company is a leading multinational company. Coca-Cola is one of the companies with many followers and fans, and its social media platform has been active for many years.
The company recognizes the importance of ensuring that the surrounding community is healthy and sustainable. Some of the core community activities that the company considers include water stewardship, community recycling, education, and active, healthy living. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation offers financial aid to bright students throughout their education journey until they become professionals.
Essentially, the company develops a lifetime connection with the students who win the scholarship programs. Moreover, the company offers grants to feasible project proposals that are submitted though their online system. The company’s executives take a stringent analysis of the thousands of proposals to identify the ones that meet their specific guidelines.
Special consideration is given to volunteer organizations that work towards bringing a positive impact to the community. The Coca-Cola Company recognizes and celebrates youngsters who strive to share their commitment to make the world a better place. The company aims at investing in students with leadership traits, and in financing sustainable community development projects.
The Coca-Cola Company recognizes its customers as the most important stakeholders of the company. They are the consumers of the company’s products, and they determine the reputation of the company. The consumer relations department ensures that they understand the impact that the business activities might have on their esteemed customers.
The department strives to find ways to address the areas of concern, and its main aim is to develop mutually beneficial relationships. The company serves its wide variety of customers through articulate account management teams, where, their customer services are tailored towards the provision of services that meet the customers’ needs.
Most importantly, the customer service team always aims at finding ways to offer reduced prices for customers, improve sales, and deliver high-quality products and services.
Online PR presence/activities
The two companies have online press centers that address media inquiries, student inquiries, and general questions from the public. Media proposals for television, radio, print, and digital media are submitted on the companies’ websites, and they are evaluated accordingly. The two companies converse with their customers through social media sites.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, youtube, Google plus, Flickr, and Instagram are some of the social media sites that the two companies use to obtain public views about their products and services. The companies’ photos, likes, careers, videos, highlights, views, and comments are visible in the various social media sites.
PepsiCo’s Facebook page advocates for a healthy lifestyle, and it promotes agriculture and gender empowerment on its new global citizen page. This unique approach of displaying its PR presence outweighs the Coca-Cola Company’s website whose social sites emphasize on happiness.
PepsiCo communicates to the viewers about their concern about community sustainability, careers, and their investor relations, whereas Coca-Cola insists on their success stories. From a critical point of view, PepsiCo, Inc., online PR presence is more effective than Coca Colas. The simplicity in PepsiCo’s websites speaks louder about its online PR presence and activities than the cluttered images in the Coca-Cola Company.
From the discussions, it is evident that PepsiCo, Inc., and the Coca-Cola Company are struggling to present their image to the public. While Coca Cola’s website displays its achievements, PepsiCo’s websites relay important and relevant information. However, both websites have their weaknesses to address. The Coca-Cola Company should reduce the number of images on their website, and they should focus on simplicity.
On the other hand, PepsiCo should add some color to their website to display their loyalty to the blue color. Overall, the two companies’ efforts in maintaining media, consumers, and community relations are commendable.
The war between the two companies has played a significant role in the growth and the expansion of the two companies. Other competing companies should follow the example of the Pepsi vs. Cola war that has played a great role in enhancing the products and services of the two companies to the advantage of the consumers.
McKelvey, S. M. (2006). Coca-Cola vs. PepsiCo: A “super” battleground for the cola wars. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 15(2), 114-123.
Phillips, R. L. (2014). An analysis of business websites: Content and delivery. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 19(2), 125-141.