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India’s largest beverages sector player Coca-Cola India has brought in place a few important changes recently – from a completely new marketing strategy for its most sold product – Coca-Cola, to its venture into the dairy products sector. The company has also been one of the only ones in the sector to do marginally well in 2015. The company’s president, Venkatesh Kini, spoke to Express on the sidelines of the ThinkEdu Conclave 2016 on the reasons and the expectations behind the recent developments.

What has led to the industry’s slowdown in India last year and how has Coca-Cola managed to stay ahead?
The industry’s performance in 2015 was influenced by a number of factors – unseasonal rain during the summer, pricing issues because of taxation, all of it contributed. For us, we are happy to say that we continue to grow, not as fast as we’d like to, but we have grown. .
Coke’s ‘Taste the feeling’ campaign, comes nearly seven years after the launch of the last one. What is new, what will change and why?

Our new global campaign for Coca Cola is based on two principles. One, is that coke is the same! Whether you have it with sugar or without sugar, as in Coke Zero. Ultimately, we want to offer Coke in all forms to our consumers. We were trading Coca-Cola as four different brands. Now we are saying it is all just one brand. It’s a change in the approach and now the same advertisements will see all these different variants.

Reports have indicated that the cola industry, particularly the sparkling beverages segment, has been going through a bad time recently.

Vio-Coca Cola’s New Product

First, there is no decrease in demand. Unfortunately, a lot of misconceptions and myths have been perpetuated about the category. Contribution of aerated drinks to the total calorie consumption of India is only 0.2%. As for us, we are a total beverages player, not just aerated drinks. We have also just launched our diary segment product, the Vio.

Why has Coca-Cola decided to branch out into a completely new segment?

India is the largest consumer of dairy in the world, but it’s mostly white milk and milk that is sold to homes. The opportunity that we have seen and are focusing on is flavoured milk. While today it might be a small opportunity, we believe that with our beverage expertise, our marketing expertise and our distribution strengths, we will make it a much bigger segment.
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