We all know – at least if we are old enough to have heard the jingle – that Coke would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. Except that this isn’t quite true. What the Coca-Cola Company would most like to do is to teach the world to drink Coke – or one of its other wholly owned brands. The company has in fact proved to be remarkably hardy in the ever-more-globalizing economy. It’s hard to travel anywhere in the world today and not see someone sipping a Diet Coke. Coca-Cola has been almost uniquely successful at opening new markets for its products.
But this does not mean that the company’s entrance into different national markets or into old markets with new products has been smooth – or that its continued competitiveness in various national markets will be assured. Each country presents a unique set of cultural and economic challenges as does each new year. This paper examines the ways in which the underlying organization of the Coca-Cola corporation has allowed it to flourish in such a highly segmented market.
The Coca-Cola Company is a picture of corporate health and this economic health is based in many ways on its continuing to expand into new markets. It is clear from every aspect of the company – from its mission statement to its sales strategies to where it builds new bottling plants – that while Coca-Cola may be as American as apple pie, the company itself is resolutely international. Indeed, ironically, a large part of its domestic marketing strategy has to do with the fact that it is so popular overseas.
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