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Published: November 7, 2011

 
 

How Coca-Cola Manages 90 Emerging Markets

S+B: How do you manage the dramatic variations in cultures and politics among your 90 markets?
BOZER: It’s not as difficult as it might seem. I have six business units, based in South Africa, Kenya, Turkey, Russia, India, and Dubai. And I have a functional team in Istanbul with finance, marketing, and strategy capabilities. The functional team works as part of the global team to come up with strategic plans for each market. We share those with the business units, and we expect them to enrich [the plans] and add value to them by adapting them to their own needs.

Russia might say, “Well, iced tea is a big category here, so here’s how we are going to compete [with that product].” There is a clear thread of consistency among all the regions; we stay connected to the global team in Atlanta through the finance and marketing communities.

S+B: What do you see as the greatest opportunity in your 90 markets?
BOZER: If you project the demographics of today into 2020, you will find that about half of the favorable changes will be located in Eurasia and Africa: new entrants into the middle class, an increase in the number of teenagers, urbanization. A few of these countries have very high per capita consumption of our beverages. South Africa is about 250 drinks per year per person, which is above the global average. Turkey is higher than 150. But when you take those relatively well-developed markets out and look at India, Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and central Asia, those markets have very low per capita consumption — for the whole industry. In India, just 4 or 5 percent of the beverages consumed are packaged. People drink tap water, tea, and dairy; vendors squeeze juice on the street. When people start having a bit more money and a middle class emerges, demand for packaged beverages will increase.

In that context, our strategy is not very complicated. We know how to grow “Brand Coke.” It’s about locally relevant brand building with consumers — the right pricing and packaging, with small packs, large packs, or take-home packs. We place new coolers in the market and invest in people, putting “feet on the street,” and activate outlets one by one. At the same time, there is a flourishing juice business and a flourishing water business, and in some of our markets, teas and energy drinks are developing.

S+B: How do you make yourself “locally relevant?”
BOZER: We have very strong consumer marketing teams. We invest a lot in understanding the psyche of the local consumer. In Egypt, during the Arab Spring [uprisings], our marketing people were able to tap into the psyche of the public — especially the teenagers. We understood that despite the uncertainty they were going through, they wanted to create a bright future. Our brand promise is happiness and optimism. Our team quickly put together some excellent consumer communication with the message that if everybody came together, the Egyptian people could build a better future. That message was delivered in a wonderful ad in which the skies over Tahrir Square in Cairo are quite overcast and dark, but people get together and throw ropes to the clouds and start pulling the ropes. The clouds open up and the sun appears. That type of communication resonated extremely well. We tapped into the feelings and emotions that were most relevant to the Egyptian people.

We try to do this kind of thing everywhere. We have good marketers in each country who have access into consumer insight data, and who work with very good agencies, while at the same time working with robust global processes.

 
 
 
 
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