MARKETING STRATEGY FOR COCA COLA

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The Marketing Review, 2003, 3, 289-309

www.themarketingreview.com

Demetris Vrontis1 and Iain Sharp2
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and Legal and General

The Strategic Positioning of Coca-Cola in their
Global Marketing Operation
Examines how Coca-Cola has strategically positioned it self within the world’s soft drinks market. Given that they operate in over 200 countries, they are faced with a clear choice of whether to standardise their product offerings globally and reap the potential benefits of economies of scale, adapt their offerings to a particular market (which may facilitate increased market specific penetration), or adopt an integrated approach utilising both approaches simultaneously (Vrontis’ AdaptStand approach). There has been much literature written regarding the external and often uncontrollable factors which may impact upon a firms positioning strategy; this paper looks at these externalities and the internal controllables in order to derive a ‘best fit’ strategic and tactical approach. Moreover, this paper looks at the strategic international positioning of Coca-Cola by utilising a number of models.

Keywords: Coca-Cola, global, international, strategy, positioning, adaptation, standardisation, AdaptStand, AdaptStandation, international, marketing, Introduction
If we consider business to be akin to war, then perhaps there is no better starting point than the writings of Sun Tzu [circa 400-320 B.C.]. ‘The Art of
War’ is the oldest formalised writing focusing on the concepts and principles of warfare and military strategy. Written over two millennia ago, it is still valid in the modern world, not only in military terms, but also in business.
“Generally, he who occupies the field of battle first and awaits his enemy is at ease, and he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary. And, therefore, those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought



References: Aaker, D.A. (1998), Strategic Market Management, John Wiley and Sons Inc Ansoff, I Quarterly, Vol. 4, 1-2, pp.9-15 The Coca-Cola Company, Annual Report, (1998) The Coca-Cola Company, Annual Report, (1999) Collins, D.J Cummings, S. (1993), “The First Strategists”, In: de Wit and Meyer (2001), Strategy: Process, Content, Context, Thomson Learning Dana, L.P. and Oldfield, B.M. (1999), “Lublin Coca-Cola Bottlers Ltd”, International Marketing Review, Vol Day, G.S., (1986), Analysis for Strategic Marketing Decisions, West Publishing Douglas, S. and Wind, Y. (1987), “The Myth of Globalisation”, Columbia Journal of World Business, Winter Doyle, P. (1983), “Marketing Management”, unpublished paper, Bradford University Management – Centre, In: Brooksbank, R Hamel, G. and Prahalad, C.K. (1985), “Do you Really have a Global Strategy”, Harvard Business Review, Vol Jeannet, J-P. and Hennessey, H.D. (1992), Global Marketing Strategies, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company Kogut, B. (1985), “Designing Global Strategies: Profiting from Operational Flexibility”, Sloan Management Review, Vol Kotler, P. (1991), Marketing Management, Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control, 7th Edition, Prentice Hall Inc Levitt, T. (1983), “The Globalization of Markets”, Harvard Business Review, Vol Ohmae, K. (1990), The Borderless World, London, Collins Markides, C Prahalad, C.K. and Hamel, G. (1990), “The Core Competence of the Corporation”, Harvard Business Review, May/June Porter, M.E. (1980), Competitive Strategy, Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors, New York: Free Press Porter, M.E. (1986), “The Strategic Role of International Marketing”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol Porter, M.E. (1985), Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, New York: Free Press Rumelt, R. (1980), “The Evaluation of Business Strategy”, Business Policy and Strategic Management, Edited by W.F Sanchez, R., Heene, A. and Thomas, H. (1996), Dynamics of CompetenceBased Competition, London: Elsevier Stalk, G., Evans, P In The World, Translated from the Chinese By Lionel Giles, M.A. (1910) Svensson, G Vrontis, D. (2003), “Integrating Adaptation and Standardisation in International Marketing, The AdaptStand Modelling Process”, Journal of (Dana and Oldfield, 1999) Evidence of adaptation within regions of countries (i.e Is Coca-Cola guilty of imposing these ideals and adopting an ethnocentric viewpoint? (Thomas and Hill, 1999)

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