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pic of Kobe drinking body armor

The recent announcement that Coca-Cola has acquired a minority stake in sports drink challenger BODYARMOR has created a lot of buzz.

When the deal was announced, positive mentions for both brands (NetBase Pro search on @CocaColaCo and @DrinkBODYARMOR) saw a significant spike with Sentiment at 100%:

graphs of sentiment

Let’s take a look at how other brands can follow Coke’s lead.

Find Trends and Find Opportunity

Partnering with the right brand can be a game changer – especially if you’re a smaller brand that will be helped by a larger brand’s reach and resources.

Before making any sweeping business changes, however – no matter your size – you have to know what’s happening in the landscape.

Coca-Cola’s current sports drink option – Poweradehasn’t managed to squash the competition of Pepsi-owned Gatorade. But that may be because the sports drink game is changing overall.

A search on “sports drinks” shows us a variety of negative attributes discussed by consumers:

sentiment attributes for sports drinks

Some popular themes across the board are the idea that sports drinks contain too much sugar, contribute to tooth staining, and do your workout more harm than good.

Of course, there are several positives to sports drinks – if they don’t check any of the negative boxes. The most popular post references a brand containing “half the sugar and 3X the electrolytes” – something health-conscious consumers clearly want.

popular instagram post about sports drinks

If you’re going to challenge a changing market, you want to do it with a brand people are falling in love with for answering their needs. BODYARMOR certainly does that.

Embrace the Small but Mighty

When considering a sponsorship or partnership, size doesn’t matter as much as volume of love. You don’t have to be a global company to compete with big leaguers if your audience is devoted. If you’re the one in the big leagues, it’s best to make friends before you’re taken down. Many a brand has shrugged off a seemingly small competitor and regretted it.

But brands have also benefitted from bringing niche devotees into the fold by partnering with challenger brands. Consider the successful pairing of Kia and Stance for the Super Bowl a couple years back. Maybe Stance wasn’t the biggest company Kia could have partnered with for their Walken Closet ad – but they had the most vocal and fanatic following for sure.

BODYARMOR’s fans are quite passionate – and connected – as well. As are Coca-Cola’s fans. Here’s a look at a few of their combined influencers:

body armor and coke influencers

In addition to #3 shareholder Kobe Bryant – who’s in a class of his own – everyone from UFC Mixed Martial Artist Michelle Waterson to Real Housewife of Orange County Tamra Judge are potential influencers.

Judge’s appearance on the influencers list is of particular note because it was our image analytics tool that caught the post. Even though Coca-Cola isn’t tagged in the description, the post came through thanks to the Coca-Cola logo shirt Judge’s daughter is wearing in the Instagram pic:

tamra judge instagram post

But here’s what’s really cool: As co-owner of CUT Fitness, and a fitness influencer, Judge might be a perfect brand advocate for BODYARMOR. Next time she’s on Watch What Happens Live, they could fill the Jimmy Fallon Shotski with BODYARMOR and watch sales fly.

Similarly, School of American Ballet dancer Isabella Fonte shared a Times Square snap with some Coca-Cola neon in the background.

ballet dancer in front of times square coke sign

Again image analysis reveals an Instagram influencer who could bring BODYARMOR to an entirely different audience segment.

Though the gender breakdown is primarily men, there are plenty of women in the audience to connect with.

gender breakdown for coke and body armor

Do Your Research and Continue Monitoring

Competitor and trend analysis are the tactics that get your foot in the door – and as sentiment analysis shows, Coca-Cola made excellent use of them. From this point forward the focus should be on monitoring sentiment as the two brands work together, along with influencers, to broaden distribution, innovate new products, and grow their loyal following.

You want to capitalize on peak sentiment for as long as you can – while staying alert to changing trends and audience desires. That way you won’t give any ground to competitors waiting for an opening.

Hear that, Gatorade? Coca-Cola and BODYARMOR are coming for you.

Ready to take on your biggest competitors? Hit us up for a tour of our sentiment analysis tools, and we’ll show you how to beat ‘em!

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