Coca-Cola India in 2004 - Marketing Strategy

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTA010
Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 1993-2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Coca Cola
Industry : Beverages
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note Contd...

As the FERA regulations did not permit more than a 40% holding in all operations, the company decided to wind up its Indian operations.3 After reentering India, Coca-Cola encountered problems one after the other.

The company focused on establishing the Coke brand quickly, believing that its international image was well entrenched in the minds of the Indian consumers. However, the emergence of many local soft drink brands since the time it had left India and competition from Pepsi, made things difficult for Coca-Cola. To gain a quick entry into the market and neutralize Pepsi's early mover advantage, CCI decided to buy out a local soft drink company, Parle in 1993.

Parle's popular brands like Thums Up, Limca, Maaza, Citra and Gold Spot had a 60% market share. Between 1993 and 2000, CCI had five presidents, a clear reflection of the difficulties which the company faced in navigating through a challenging, unfamiliar business environment. During the tenure of the founding CEO, Jayadev Raja (1992-May 1995) and his successor, Richard Nicholas (June 1995- March 1997), the company struggled to establish itself. It was also criticized for neglecting the Parle brands. Donald Short (April 1997-November 1999) streamlined the bottling operations and the supply chain.

Douglas Jackson (November 1999-January 2000) had a short stint before being replaced by Alex Von Behr (Von Behr).

Von Behr along with Sanjiv Gupta, then Vice President (Operations), launched a series of highly effective marketing initiatives. Von Behr decided to reposition CCI as a beverage company rather than as a carbonated soft drinks (CSD) company.

The duo convinced the Atlanta headquarters about the need to introduce new affordable package sizes in India to increase beverage consumption. They also decided that it was time to revamp Thums Up and other Parle brands...

Excerpts >>

3] Iyengar, Jayanti. "Coke forced to play by Indian rules,", 15th March 2003.


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