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The Coca-Cola Company is one of the leading American beverage company having its network all over the world. Its own or license as well as market more than 500 beverage brands along with a variety of juices, enhanced waters, energy and sport drinks, ready-to drink coffees and teas, etc. The company is not directly involved in all its business operations that make the products available to ultimate customers. It has a wide network of bottling partners who manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute finished products to vending partners, who then sell the beverages to customers. Along with having a wide distribution network, company also incorporates innovative and unique marketing methods in its business strategies.Below mentioned paragraph discusses marketing and distributing activities of the Coca-Cola.
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One can find different point of sale from where the company sells its products. The company maintains world’s largest distribution system that includes independent bottling partners and distributors, company-owned bottling and distribution operations, wholesalers and retailers. The company continues to expand its market in emerging, developing and developed regions through the strong distribution system. It has adopted two types of product distribution strategy, namely direct selling and indirect selling. The company supplies several products directly to retailers which include restaurants, cinema halls, retail stores, etc. In addition, the Coca-Cola has also adopted the indirect method of selling; it gets into partnership with distributor agencies, wholesalers and independent bottling partners, who then make the products available to retailers and consumers. In the indirect method, the company transfers its products to distributors, who then transport to smaller distributors and retailers. Smaller distributors are supplied in case when products are to be distributed in areas with less population or rural areas. Most of independent bottlers are under contract with the company. Apart from that, the company uses several other distribution models to reach customers from different geographical locations. One of them is a pre-sale system, which separate the sales and product delivery functions, allowing trucks to load a variety of products and thereby enhancing sales. Second model that company has adopted is the conventional route system, under this system the person in charge of delivering the products makes direct sales from stock available in the truck. Third is a telemarketing system that can be combined with pre-sales visits. Additionally, there is a hybrid distribution system, under which the same truck carries products previously ordered through pre-sale system as well as products available for immediate sales.
The brand has established a strong and a unique distribution system in certain nations with a view to help economies develop. Its innovative distribution mechanism allows the company to build sustainable relationships with distributors and small scale business firms. These small scale organizations are collectively named as MDCs i.e. Manual Distribution Centers, who hire local workforce to make the products available to local consumers. These micro distributors are able to reach customers in remote areas also where traditional truck delivery is not possible. All business partners work closely with restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, street vendors, amusement parks, movie theatres and other customers.
In concentrate operations, the Coca-Cola company typically sells syrups and concentrates to its independent bottling partners, which include Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC AG, New CCE, Arca Continental and Swire Beverage, who then use the concentrates to produce finished products which they sell to distributors, who then sell to consumers. While the finished beverages are directly sold to retailers or to distributors, wholesalers who further distribute to retailers.
The company has separate divisions for managing its bottling operations around the world, which is commonly known as Bottling Investment Group. This unit is committed to grow in every market and strives to work in collaboration with other bottlers and distributors. As well, the brand heavily relies on information technology, including third-party hosted services, as well as internet and social media tools, to support various business activities and processes, such as procurement and supply chain, manufacturing and distribution, marketing etc.
Marketing aims at getting the right product at the right price, right time and to the right place. Companies are required to create an appropriate marketing mix in order to achieve the aim of delivering the right product at the right time, to the right place with proper promotional activities. The Coca-Cola company understands the psychology of customers and hence consider marketing as key to influence consumer behavior. The brand has employed numerous promotional tools to entice more and more people and thus gaining large market share. Through appropriate marketing strategy, the company has developed strong relationship with customers and motivated them to encourage with the firm. Regular surveys are conducted by company to assess customer satisfaction and also developed innovative materials for improving retail sales such as point-of sale visuals, new racks and sales aid for buyers.
In addition to carrying out independent marketing and promotional activities, the company has provided advertising and marketing services or funds to its bottlers. It has used every possible medium for carrying out promotional and advertisement activities such as television, internet and social media, radio, etc. It works in collaboration with independent consultancy firms to monitor television advertisement at regular interval. Moreover, it has also implemented online marketing tools to reach customers of diverse regions quickly. Marketing through the Internet and social networking sites enables the company to enhance its sales to a great extent. The company has also used attractive billboards that are seen by a large audience, to market its products.
In collaboration with International Business Leaders Forum, the company has introduced a Responsible Marketing Network Online, which aims to bring together renowned marketing practitioners to share best marketing practices.
The Coca-Cola positions itself as the thirst quenching, refreshing drink. It has effectively launched various ad campaigns such as “Have a coke and smile”, “The Coke adds life”, “Coke is it” and “can’t beat the feeling” “Always the life” and the likes. Furthermore, it has also adopted some promotional tools to attract more buyers, such as “Flip Coca-Cola, Find the lucky”, where an individual can flip the bottle cap and find the lucky code to get an opportunity to win the prize. The brand has also collaborated with local authorities to organize “Happy New Year with Coca-Cola” to convey good wishes. Through this activity, the company not only improved its market presence, but also made the people engage with the company.
The company also sponsors many cultural and sport events , as well as community activities around the world and hires renowned sportsperson and celebrities such as movie stars and top model to endorse the brand and promote it in the market. Moreover, the brand has long been associated with International sporting events such as the Football World Cup and the Olympics to allow the company to gain significant business opportunities from the most celebrated sport event in the world. In addition to this, the company is also involved in sponsoring community activities, from cultural and social events to a variety of national celebrations. All such activities and events help the company in augmenting its market presence and thereby reach a large audience.
Since its commencement, the company has focused on five principles on which it has developed business. These principles include Affordability, Acceptability, Availability, Attitude and Activation. The brand makes sure that products are available anywhere consumers intend to quench thirst or want refreshments, at an affordable price. It also aims at making the products acceptable and most preferred beverage by consumers through effective marketing and advertising activities. Activation means encouraging customers to choose company’s products by enhancing attractiveness and availability of product and by developing brand identity in local markets. The brand also pays equal attention to behavior and Attitude of its sales personnel, who interact with customers on a daily basis.
The Coca-Cola has adopted a more dynamic and well-structured marketing strategy for its products. The company has classified its market and developed planned initiatives for every distribution channel or customer segment. Its principal channel partners are on-premise consumption, such as bars and restaurants, supermarkets, distributors and small retailers. Considering the broad network of distribution channel, the brand has implemented channel marketing strategy. These channels help the company to analyze purchasing patterns as well as taste and preferences of varied type of customers, in response of which company customizes its product, marketing and promotional strategy, price, and packaging and distribution. This in turn helps in meeting different needs of customers and exploit potential of every channel partners. The strategy also focuses on implementing different product, price and packaging for different market segment. These segments are defined on the basis of socio-economic levels, competitive intensity and consumption occasions, rather than considering just types of channel of distribution. This further aids the company to localize its marketing strategy and hence allow the firm to attain strong presence in the local market.
From the beginning of its business, The Coca-Cola has maintained a consistent brand image and identity through effective marketing, sales and distribution, and other business functions. The brand has not only focused on maximizing its sales, but has laid adequate emphasis on engaging with customers and meeting their needs and preferences efficiently. This has helped the company to acquire the largest market share and competitive edge over rivals.