Coke has stood out as one of the global leading business brands since its introduction in 1886 (Doole & Lowe, 2012; Paul, 2013). This continuous success is directly linked to multiple factors such as incredible brand awareness, unique design and development formula, and iconographic features that are responsible for wide customer attraction. However, Coke and Coca-Cola Company, in general, face a plethora of issues that can impair its efficient operations if the management fails to take the necessary action (Isdell & Beasley, 2012). This paper identifies key issues and problems facing Coke, outlines and assesses different courses of action, and provides a realistic conclusion basing on the identified challenges.
Facts about Coke and Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola began its operations in 1886 bearing its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia before becoming a catalyst for different inspired innovations and social interaction (Doole & Lowe, 2012; Paul, 2013). The company passed through numerous chronological changes before evolving into a global brand providing enjoyment and refreshment for billions of people across the world. Today, Coca-Cola is the largest and leading soft drink and beverage company in the world. This multinational firm produces over 500 lustrous brands including Diet Coke, Powerade, Coca-Cola Zero, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid, and vitamin water (Isdell & Beasley, 2012).
Bagley (2015) adds that Coca-Cola is also the global leader in the manufacture of beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juice drinks. Furthermore, Coca-Cola owns more than 700, 000 systems associates and ranked among the world ten leading private employers. Currently, the management of the company is tasked with the role of inventing more critical strategies that can enhance its sustainable performance excellence despite the continuous changes in technology (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 2013).
Key Issues Facing Coca-Cola and Its Brand
According to Paul (2013), Coca-Cola faces a number of problems in its quest to achieve sustainable global performance excellence. The first challenge relates to distribution as many distributors rely on the company to offer additional channels that can help them to spread their products. As a result, many Coca-Cola products are inadequately available in rural areas. Secondly, Coca-Cola faces the challenge of investment as a result of failing to provide adequate resources to augment key process areas such as distribution (Doole & Lowe, 2012). Coca-Cola needs to invest highly in the provision of refrigerators and transport facilities to its distributors as seen in Pepsi, a major rival in the food and beverage industry.
Bodden (2009) argues that Pepsi gains a competitive advantage over Coca-Cola by providing stores and incentives to its retailers, wholesalers, and distributors. In addition, Coca-Cola suffers from the challenge of promoting its brand. In most case, retailers usually mix Coca-Cola brands such as Coke, Sprite, and Fanta with Pepsi hence confusing customers. Many customers assume that Sprite and Fanta are brands of Pepsi hence they end up consuming Pepsi as a result of poor brand awareness caused by low promotional strategy (Butler & Linda, 2015; Krar & Gill, 2013).
Bagley (2015) argues that Coca-Colas attempt to use a single advertising platform which is music provides a competitive advantage to its chief rival, Pepsi, which has numerous promotional platforms including cricket. Lastly, Coca-Cola faces the challenge of fake bottling in some of its markets such as Pakistan. Fake bottling affects the companys sales volume, reduces its profit margins and impacts its customer loyalty as well as brand value (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 2013).
Coca-Colas Alternative Courses of Action
Bodden (2009) avers that Coca-Cola can solve the problem of distribution by encouraging physical transportation of its products from its warehouses to the places where they are needed. Alternatively, Coca-Cola should add value to its products by establishing other organizations and channels that can help in ensuring that products reach the final consumer at his or her convenient market place (Isdell & Beasley, 2012). The company should develop market segmentation strategies to classify its customers into different categories depending on their wants, uses of the product or buying preferences to fulfill different need of consumers.
According to Bagley (2015), Coca-Cola should develop new products to cater for changing needs of the consumers and increase its sales volume. The company should insist on recycling, renewing and reusing some of its raw materials such as bottles to ensure reduce environmental pollution and minimize on production costs (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 2013). Lastly, Coca-Cola needs to develop different sales promotion and marketing strategies to ensure that a competitive advantage is created over its rivals such as Pepsi. Resolving to the use of social media which can be integrated with other techniques including public relations, personal selling, and advertising through the company websites can play an influential role in increasing customer loyalty, enhancing sales volumes and reaching out to new markets(Butler & Linda, 2015).
However, the main challenge of Coke as a brand resides in its marketing team as they are faced with the problem of ensuring that the brand remains attractive despite the changing customer tastes and preferences. The company's management is working tirelessly to establish new strategies, campaigns, and events to ensure that it maintains its brand image while attracting more customers. The management must, therefore, device critical and innovative campaign strategies to ensure that the company and its brand remain relevant. Resolving to integrated approaches where social media is combined with the company websites and ensuring market diversification through the creation of new products can provide an ultimate solution to the associated challenges. Coca-Cola managers should remain innovative and creative to ensure that they respond to any challenge accruing to the organization by using technologically sound strategies.
Bagley, E. C. 2015. Managers and the Legal Environment: Strategies for the 21st Century. Cengage Learning
Bodden, V. 2009. The story of Coca-Cola. Mankato, MN, Creative Education.
Butler, D & Linda, T. 2015. Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too) Ney York (NY), USA, Simon, and Schuster.
Czinkota, M. R., & Ronkainen, I. A. 2013. International marketing. Mason, OH, South-Western Cengage Learning.
Doole, I. & Lowe, R. 2012. International Marketing Strategy. London: Cengage Learning. http://www.euromonitor.com/medialibrary/PDF/Coca-Cola-Co_SWOT_Analysis.pdf
Isdell, E. N., & Beasley, D. 2012. Inside Coca-Cola: a CEO's life story of building the world's most popular brand. New York, St. Martins Griffin
Krar, S. F., & Gill, A. R. 2013. Exploring advanced manufacturing technologies. New York, NY: Industrial Press.
Paul, P. 2013. Project on Marketing Strategies of Coca Cola submitted to Manav Rachina International University. South-Western, Mason, OH.
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