The Coca-Cola Company was founded in 1886 and is the world leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. It currently operates in over 200 countries worldwide and is most famous for the innovative soft drink, ‘Coca-Cola’ but can now boast in the region of 500 different products (www.coca-cola.com). Coca-Cola touts the 4 P’s of marketing within their vision statement: “Our vision serves as the framework for our Roadmap and guides every aspect of our business by describing what we need to accomplish in order to continue achieving sustainable, quality growth.
People: Be a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
Portfolio: Bring to the world a portfolio of quality beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy people's desires and needs.
Partners: Nurture a winning network of customers and suppliers, together we create mutual, enduring value.
Planet: Be a responsible citizen that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.
Profit: Maximize long-term return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
Productivity: Be a highly effective, lean and fast-moving organization.”
In the first P of the 4Ps, price, Coca-Cola takes pride in its ability to be a leader in production and distribution capabilities. An ability to be on the global level and understand the markets gives them a competitive advantage against the other players in the market. Becoming a leader in the arena of non-alcoholic beverages gives them the leverage to negotiate lower pricing with their suppliers as well as command higher prices from their consumers. The comfort factor allows them to take certain risks with their customers without losing the large base. A case in point was their recovery from the ‘new’ coke formula that they tried in the 80’s. While this was a small blip in the overall market value, they were able to recover quickly based on the recognition and strength of the brand. Even when the infamous taste tastes in the 80’s against Pepsi showed that Pepsi won the contest on taste, Coca-Cola still remains at the top of the sales market with first and second place (Coke and Diet Coke) followed by Pepsi.
In the second P or Place, Coca-Cola excels in their product mix. In the document from Vrontis and Sharp they mention that “whilst Coca-Cola run a global company, it emphasizes that they wish to stay local”.(291) Products are bottled according to local tastes and in local bottling distribution centers. As an example, while US consumers prefer a more sugary carbonated drink, Indian consumers prefer lower sugar content. This distinction allows them a larger market opportunity as well as meets the demands of the consumers. Coca-Cola engages local bottling companies to decrease their distribution costs. This ability to recreate the same consistent quality in different localities creates an environment of excellence. The ability to lower your distribution costs and still enjoy economies of scale allows the pricing to remain comfortable and profitable. Without this ability distribution in an international market would be prohibitively costly and reduce the capabilities of expansion. This dominance leads to the ability to maximize their profits and allow for the ability to try new ideas without loss of the shareholders’ investments.
Promotion or the third P is an example of branding superiority.