Brand Metamorphosis: Mutation of Brand DNA in the process of glocalization – A case of Coca Cola in India. Arup Kumar Baksi Abstract Post globalization branding strategies focus on hybridization of cultures and incorporating the same to mutate the brand DNA. Globalization has given birth to a jargon namely ‘glocalization’ which is a measure of local adaptability of a global brand. The basic concept of branding has undergone a paradigm shift while taking into consideration the cultural and ethnic aspects while spreading across global markets.
Once in a global market, a brand undergoes a metamorphosis, often a triggered one, depending on the degree of change sought to fit local conditions. Academic researches on Brand DNA analysis and Brand Metamorphosis are still at the neonatal stage and enough literature support is still not available. This article (in a Case Study format) tries to analyse the metamorphosis undergone by the number one global brand – Coca Cola, in Indian market. Key words Brand, Brand DNA, glocalization, metamorphosis, hybridization, adaptability, culture. Introduction Globalization has had a huge impact on the branding strategies of international companies.
Since the early 1990s many multinational companies, such as Unilever, have moved from a multidomestic to a global marketing approach including global branding strategies (Schuiling and Kapferer 2004). Cost-cutting due to economies of scale and benefiting from a strong worldwide image have been suggested as the most important reasons in favour for a global brand strategy (Schuiling and Lambin 2003). Moreover, the alleged convergence of consumption patterns across borders (Levitt 1983) challenge the concept of brands adapted to local needs and conditions.
However, from a consumer perspective, reactions to the prevalence of global brands seem to be quite heterogeneous. On the one hand, consumers seem to value and admire global brands as illustrated by their sometimes even iconic status. On the other hand, global brands are often criticized for threatening local differences and for imposing an objectionable consumer culture on societies (Holt 2002). This criticism culminates in the antibranding movement represented by renowned spokespersons like Naomi Klein or George Ritzer. This paper aims to examine how consumers perceive and evaluate global brands.
We define global brands as brands “that consumers can find under the same name in multiple countries with generally similar and centrally coordinated marketing strategies” (Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003, p. 53). Literature Review So far, consumer research has focused on positive effects of a global brand image, i. e. of the perceived brand globalness. Research indicates that consumers value global brands especially for their assumed high quality and prestigious image (e. g. , Nguyen, Barrett and Miller 2005; Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003).
An internationally well-established brand name can act as a “halo” construct that effects quality beliefs (Han 1989). If a brand is perceived as globally available, consumers are likely to attribute a superior quality to the brand, since such quality is thought of as a prerequisite for international acceptance. Furthermore, prestige and status benefits have been shown to constitute one of the primary motivations of consumers to choose global brands. Especially in Non-Western countries, international brands are more expensive and scarcer than local brands and, therefore, have an exclusive appeal (Batra et al. 000; Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003). In addition, the consumption of internationally recognized brands demonstrates a cosmopolitan and modern lifestyle – an association highly desirable for some consumer segments (Alden, Steenkamp and Batra 1999). So far, the disadvantages of global brands from a consumer perspective have not attracted as much interest in the marketing community. One exception is provided by Schuiling and Kapferer (2004) who give evidence that local brands are perceived as better value, more trustworthy, down to earth and reliable than their global rivals.
Deeper insights about the “dark sides” of global brands are offered by interpretive researchers. A widespread concern about global brands – at least in some consumer segments – is the advancement of a global homogenization of cultures and the promotion of a global consumer culture (Belk 1995; Thompson and Arsel 2005). As a consequence, consumers sometimes challenge the authentic- ity of global brands. Consumers may view brands that are highly standardized and calculated as inauthentic in contrast to local alternatives, which are understood as distinctive expressions of local cultures (Thompson, Rindfleisch and Arsel 2006).
Furthermore, the lack of authenticity is stressed by polished and expensive marketing techniques that global brand companies typically use because commercialization is negatively related to perceived authenticity (Holt 2004). Similarly, since global brands are often pushed into markets with enormous marketing budgets, while being produced at ever lower cost in low-income countries, they could also be thought of as aggressive or even reckless. Beliefs about and reactions to global brands seem to be quite heterogeneous indicating the relevance of additional explaining factors in that context.
Relevant variables can be identified on a product/brand, individual and cultural/country level. Apart from a few constructs, e. g. consumer ethnocentrism (CET), most of these variables have not been empirically researched in the given context so far. On a product level, especially the product category should have a strong influence on the favorability of the type of the international branding strategy. Johansson and Ronkainen (2004) suggest that global brands are more successful in high profile and high-involvement categories with pronounced symbolic functions.
An important distinction has also been made between culture-free and culture-bound products (Wind and Douglas 1972). Thus, for example, food would be regarded as strongly culture-bound products and therefore as difficult to standardize, while high-tech products would be regarded as essentially culture-free products and consequently as easy to standardize (Baalbaki and Malhotra 1993). Another important brand related variable is the country-of-origin or country image. Global brands from countries with a bad publicity are likely to have acceptance problems and vice versa.
With regard to individual variables, consumers of global brands have been characterized as younger, more educated, wealthier and more urban than the average consumer (Quelch 1999). Apart from demographics some studies have dealt with the influence of consumer ethnocentrism (CET) on the preference for global versus local brands (e. g. , Aysegul 2006; Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003). According to Shimp and Sharma (1987, p. 280) CET is defined as “the beliefs held by consumers about the appropriateness, indeed the morality, of choosing foreign-made products”. Steenkamp, Batra and Alden (2003) showed that low-CET consum- ers from the U.
S. and Korea showed a higher tendency to buy global brands compared to high-CET consumers. Similar effects should be caused by related constructs, e. g. consumer animosity (Klein, Ettenson and Morris 1998), nationalism and patriotism (Druckman 1994). Consumer cosmopolitanism should also influence the acceptance of global brands. In a recent definition, a cosmopolitan consumer is defined as “an open-minded individual whose con- sumption orientation transcends any particular culture, locality or community and who appre- ciates diversity including trying products and services from a variety of countries” (Riefler and Diamatopoulos 2006).
Cosmopolitan motives are expressed through the search for “au- thentically distinctive social and aesthetic experiences” (Thompson, Rindfleisch and Arsel 2006, p. 56). Since global brands stand in contrast to authentic local brands, cosmopolitan consumers should therefore avoid global offerings. In addition, since global brands can be viewed as symbols of a globalized and materialistic world, general attitudes towards global- ization and consumption as well as materialism may be important in the given context (Wit- kowski 2005).
More generally, global brands can be associated with either the benefits or the drawbacks of globalization depending on globalization attitudes. Similarly, global brands, such as Nike, seem to be especially vulnerable to a change in people’s attitudes toward consumption and materialism, because they represent a favourite target of the growing antimaterialistic, anticonsumption and anticorporate movement (Holt 2002) “Glocalization” – Different Perspectives
According to the dictionary meaning, the term “glocal” and the process noun “glocalization” are “formed by telescoping global and local to make a blend” (The Oxford Dictionary of New Words, 1991 quoted in Robertson, 1995). The term was modeled on Japanese word dochakuka, which originally meant adapting farming technique to one’s own local condition. In the business world the idea was adopted to refer to global localization. The word as well as the idea came from Japan (Robertson, 1995).
According to the sociologist Roland Robertson, glocalization describes the tempering effects of local conditions on global pressures. At a 1997 conference on “Globalization and Indigenous Culture,” Robertson said that glocalization “means the simultaneity (co-presence) of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies (Raimi, 2003). ” Glocalization is a concept that explains the interactions between global and local dimensions in any strategy i. e. political governance strategies, business marketing strategies, media and communication strategies etc.
This concept also explains the failure of some strong strategies, as they do not consider the effect of cultural diversity and strength of local dimensions. It is considered as creation or distribution of products or services intended for a global or transregional market, but customized to suit local laws or culture James D. Wolfensohn (World Bank president 1995-2005), stated: “Glocalization is of enormous importance because it brings us from the global question down to issues at the human scale, and to issues of humanity and people”. Ritzer has added another term “globalization” while discussing glocalization.
He refers to it as “growth imperative for organizations and nations to expand globally and to impose themselves on the local”, for him globalization is the sum total of glocalization and “grobalization” (Khondker, 2004). Glocalization is important in all types of businesses from automobiles to comic books and mass merchandisers to fast food restaurants. Comics on Spiderman were launched in India by modifying the original version to suit the Indian markets. The real life name has been changed from Peter Parker to Pavitra Prabhakar, he wears a loincloth worn by hindu men in India.
The other aspects of the comic book have also been modified (The Hindu, 2004). These modifications help consumers in the host country relate with the character in a much better and effective way. Similarly a recent Indian movie “KRRISH” portrayed a superohero, who can be considered a glocalized version of Batman or Superman. In Germany, Ayurveda style of medication has been glocalized and has been successfully implemented by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Group. He has softened the harsh Indian purgation therapy and concentrated on nutrition advices, on massages and oil applications (Stollberg, 2005).
Cultural differences affect efficient working of digital networking environments and several localized communities are formed. These communities are being managed with the help of glocalized strategies to facilitate the working of the digital environment (Boyd, 2006). The concept of glocalization is particularly important to the food and agribusiness industry because of the seamless challenges this industry faces due to the typical differeces that exist in the food habits of people belonging to various regions/religions/cultures across the globe.
There are numerous examples of companies doing extremely well in their local markets, but when go global, these fail completely. Glocalization is seen in the communication aspect of marketing strategy as well, like Coca-Cola airing different advertisements in India with actor Amir Khan in different characters, i. e. Hyderabadi, Punjabi, Lucknowi, Bombay-Bhai and as a Gorkha as well. Glocalization is indeed the most important concept that is being taken up by the MNFEs. In fact, the success of any food firm, to a large extent, is determined by the trust that it is able to gain from the residents of a region.
Brand Building Models Kapferer (1997) mentions that before the 1980’s there was a different approach towards brands. Branding and brand building focused on developing brand value. Kapferer’s view of brand value is monetary, and includes intangible assets. Four factors combine in the mind of the consumer to determine the perceived value of the brand: brand awareness; the level of perceived quality compared to competitors; the level of confidence, of significance, of empathy, of liking; and the richness and attractiveness of the images conjured up by the brand.
Urde (1999) presents Brand Orientation as another brand building model that focuses on brands as strategic resources. Brand orientation focuses on developing brands in a more active and deliberate manner, starting with the brand identity as a strategic platform. The brand becomes a strategic platform that provides the framework for the satisfaction of customers’ wants and needs” (Urde 1999, p. 129). The point of departure for a brand – oriented company is its brand mission. Urde’s Brand Hexagon (1999), shown in Figure 1, integrates brand equity and brand identity with a company’s direction, strategy and identity.
The right side of the model reflects the reference function -product category and product, which are analyzed rationally-, while the left side of the model reflects the emotional function -corporate and brand name, which are analyzed emotionally. “A brand is experienced in its entirety” (p. 126), which means that both emotions and rational thought are involved. The lower part of the model- mission and vision- reflects the company’s intentions towards the brand, while the upper part reflects the way that target consumers interpret the brand.
At the center of the model lies the core process of brand meaning creation, which includes the positioning and core values. Fig:1 Brand Hexagon, Urde, 1999. A brand, like a living organism, has a unique genetic profile, its “DNA. ” This is made up of specific attributes, intricately balanced, which act instantaneously on the minds of customers. These attributes are organized into five different but related dimensions: 1. Brand Category (What exactly is it? What category does it fit into? ) (Evocations and Culture) 2.
Brand Character (What’s it look and feel like? ) (Personality) 3. Brand Benefit (What’s the Primary Overt Benefit to me? ) (Perceived image) 4. Brand Difference (What makes it stand out against competitors? ) [Positioning and Linguistics] 5. Brand Credibility (What allows me to believe the claims made about the brand? ) (Brand image & Preference) Brands seem like complex organisms, partly because each one of these basic attributes can act in a different way on each customer or group in the brand’s environment (the Brandscape. But, like a biological organism, Brand DNA must exhibit a certain baseline simplicity in order to be intelligible to customers and to evolve by rapid transmission from host to host. In other words, there must be a compelling story to be told about the brand if people are going to talk about it. Brand Sequencing makes sure not only that the story is compelling, but that it’s the right story in the first place. Brand DNA attributes are inextricably linked and constantly replicate and mutate – in a way, a brand is always a moving target.
But since Brand DNA attributes come exclusively from the minds of customers, you need to get accurate customer feedback in order to evolve your brand competitively. BrandSequencing helps you exert greater control over this seemingly random process of replication. The DNA of a brand represents its basic nucleus centering which the entire brand grows up. The essential brand DNA elements are Image, Evocations, Perceived Quality, Familiarity, Preference, Personality, Culture, Positioning strategy and Brand Linguistics. The hexagonal transposition model of “Brand Identity” proposed by J. N.
Kapferer literally shows us the nodal areas in brand DNA elements where mutation can take place if a brand is laterally stretched and launched in a different country other than the home nation by virtue of globalization. Fig:2 – Brand DNA elements and locus of mutations. Metamorphosis of a brand starts at the DNA level once globalized and it is visually communicated through brand linguistics by using Phonic [alliteration : eg. Coca Cola], Orthographic, Morphologic and Semantic elements. Enabling the customers to decode the brand DNA is the key to survive and succeed in an alien market.
The strategic metamorphosis takes place once the globalization issue is finalized. The makeover of the brand takes place by maintaining the key DNA elements (Image, Evocations, Personality and Positioning) of the brand unchanged and deliberately mutating the other paired elements like Perceived quality, Familiarity & Preference and Culture. The basic instrument that is used in triggering this mutation is ‘Brand Linguistic”. What one gets after this brand mutation is a replica of the mother brand in a mutated (glocalized) form. History of Coke:
The Early Days Coca-Cola was created in 1886 by John Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia, who sold the syrup mixed with fountain water as a potion for mental and physical disorders. The formula changed hands three more times before Asa D. Candler added carbonation and by 2003, Coca-Cola was the world’s largest manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups, with more than 400 widely recognized beverage brands in its portfolio. Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time on March 12, 1894.
The first outdoor wall advertisement was painted in the same year as well in Cartersville, Georgia. Cans of Coke first appeared in 1955. The first bottling of Coca-Cola occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1891. Its proprietor was Joseph A. Biedenharn. The original bottles were Biedenharn bottles, very different from the much later hobble-skirt design that is now so familiar. Fig 3: The evolution of Coca Cola Bottle The famous Coca-Cola logo was created by John Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885. Robinson came up with the name and chose the logo’s distinctive cursive script.
The typeface used, known as Spencerian script, was developed in the mid 19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period. With the bubbles making the difference, Coca-Cola was registered as a trademark in 1887 and by 1895, was being sold in every state and territory in the United States. In 1899, it franchised its bottling operations in the U. S. , growing quickly to reach 370 franchisees by 1910. Headquartered in Atlanta with divisions and local operations in over 200 countries worldwide, Coca-Cola generated more than 70% of its income outside the United States by 2003.
With rapid brand proliferation, The Coca Cola Company, as it stands today is a transnational giant with its operation spreaded across more than one hundred countries covering all the continents. The strategic expansion of coke saw a range of concentric and semi concentric diversification in its product range. [Exhibit1, Exhibit2, Exhibit3]. The global performance of the company is astounding representing a not only a serious growth for the company itself but also for the local beverage markets, its strategic partners (bottlers and distributers) and the community as a whole [Exhibit 4].
Coca Cola owns four of the world’s top five non-alcoholic beverages : Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta. Coca Cola has been adjudged as the numero uno global brand by Forbes as well as by Fortune in the year 2008 [Exhibit 5] and the performance has been quite consistent over the years. International expansion Coke’s first international bottling plants opened in 1906 in Canada, Cuba, and Panama. By the end of the 1920’s Coca-Cola was bottled in twenty-seven countries throughout the world and available in fifty-one more.
In spite of this reach, volume was low, quality inconsistent, and effective advertising a challenge with language, culture, and government regulation all serving as barriers. Former CEO Robert Woodruff’s insistence that Coca-Cola wouldn’t “suffer the stigma of being an intrusive American product,” and instead would use local bottles, caps, machinery, trucks, and personnel contributed to Coke’s challenges as well with a lack of standard processes and training degrading quality. Coca-Cola continued working for over 80 years on Woodruff’s goal: to make Coke available wherever and whenever consumers wanted it, “in arm’s reach of desire. The Second World War proved to be the stimulus Coca-Cola needed to build effective capabilities around the world and achieve dominant global market share. Woodruff’s patriotic commitment “that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and at whatever cost to our company” was more than just great public relations. As a result of Coke’s status as a military supplier, Coca-Cola was exempt from sugar rationing and also received government subsidies to build bottling plants around the world to serve WWII troops.
Coke in India Coca-Cola was the leading soft drink brand in India until 1977 when it left rather than reveal its formula to the government and reduce its equity stake as required under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) which governed the operations of foreign companies in India. After a 16-year absence, Coca-Cola returned to India in 1993, cementing its presence with a deal that gave Coca-Cola ownership of the nation’s top soft-drink brands and bottling network.
Coke’s acquisition of local popular Indian brands including Thums Up (the most trusted brand in India21), Limca, Maaza, Citra and Gold Spot provided not only physical manufacturing, bottling, and distribution assets but also strong consumer preference. This combination of local and global brands enabled Coca-Cola to exploit the benefits of global branding and global trends in tastes while also tapping into traditional domestic markets. Leading Indian brands joined the Company’s international family of brands, including Coca- Cola, diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta, plus the Schweppes product range.
In 2000, the company launched the Kinley water brand and in 2001, Shock energy drink and the powdered concentrate Sunfill hit the market. From 1993 to 2003, Coca-Cola invested more than US$1 billion in India, making it one of the country’s top international investors. 22 By 2003, Coca-Cola India had won the prestigious Woodruf Cup from among 22 divisions of the Company based on three broad parameters of volume, profitability, and quality. Coca-Cola India achieved 39% volume growth in 2002 while the industry grew 23% nationally and the Company reached break- even profitability in the region for the first time. 3 Encouraged by its 2002 performance, Coca-Cola India announced plans to double its capacity at an investment of $125 million (Rs. 750 crore) between September 2002 and March 2003. Coca-Cola India produced its beverages with 7,000 local employees at its twenty-seven wholly-owned bottling operations supplemented by seventeen franchisee-owned bottling operations and a network of twenty-nine contract-packers to manufacture a range of products for the company. The complete manufacturing process had a documented quality control and assurance program including over 400 tests performed throughout the process (See Exhibit 5).
The complexity of the consumer soft drink market demanded a distribution process to support 700,000 retail outlets serviced by a fleet that includes 10-ton trucks, open-bay three wheelers, and trademarked tricycles and pushcarts that were used to navigate the narrow alleyways of the cities. 25 In addition to its own employees, Coke indirectly created employment for another 125,000 Indians through its procurement, supply, and distribution networks. Brand localization strategy – Brand Mutation of Coke: Rearrangement of Brand DNA: The two Indias
India’s diversity can be somewhat attributed to its lengthy history, extensive size, extreme range of climatic and geographic conditions and the absorption of the prolonged influence of traders, invaders, immigrants and colonizers. Although Hindi is the native language of 30% of the population, there are 24 languages spoken by more than a million people followed by numerous further languages and dialects. It is worth noting that India possesses the world’s largest English speaking/ understanding population.
Alongside the diversity of language are the variety of religious beliefs (6 with over 1 million believers: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Christian) and local customs which flourish in its 29 states. Urban dwellers, including those of the six key areas (‘metros’) of Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune are countered by a rural dwellers that comprise more than two thirds of the population. Add to this issues of literacy (52%) and extremities of class and caste and one sees that India presents a potent mix for transnational marketers to contend with. CIA, 2001 & Wikipedia, 2006). In 1977 Coke was forced out from operations in India by a socialist government as part of a drive for national self-sufficiency. After a 16-year absence, neo-liberation policies in India allowed for its return in 1993 but to a very different cultural and economic landscape. During their absence local company Parle Brothers had formulated an alternative cola, Thums Up, alongside a number of other beverages like the lemon flavoured soda Limca and mango flavoured Maaza.
Coke bought the complete Parle operations in 1993 and presumed that they could use their tried and tested method of taking their biggest competitors out of action. But “a generation had grown up without Coke and wasn’t pining for its return. ” (Deogun & Karp, 1998) It also seems that locals feel that unlike Coke, Thums Up tastes fine even when not refrigerated which has obvious significance for less affluent consumers. Although Pepsi, with their 6-year head start had paved the way in renewing demand for global cola, it was not so easy for the returning international soda-superstar.
Pepsi embraced youth in its campaigning whereas Coke mistakenly focused on the American way of life. (Kaye, 2004) It has been argued that such errant focus by global companies had undermined the popular conception of commercial imperialism. Such de-localisation resulted in a situation where “multinationals were being interpreted as a kind of recapitulation of the colonial encounter, in which Indians… were proving resistant to the best laid plans that the finest marketing minds of the West had to offer. (Mazzarella, 2003a) Although their intensive investment in the first five years back in India gave them the credit of being one of India’s largest investors (Kaye, 2004) Coca Cola’s dismal sales results during this period begged significant re-strategising Hindustan Lever, global giant Unilever’s local arm, was among the first producers and distributors of FMCGs to realise the potential of India’s rural market by introducing small size packets of washing powder that would last several washes.
By reducing margins but increasing turnover, profit-seeking in India by global players was unleashed. It was seen that FMCGs in India require employment of the 3As of availability, affordability and acceptability. (Balakrishna, 2003) Coca Cola acknowledging its lack of comprehension of local particularities, launched upon extensive research in India. It realised that it was competing with traditional refreshments such as narial-pani (coconut-water), nimbu-pani (lemon-water), chai (tea), lassi (yoghurt drink) and fruit juices.
Competitive pricing in such a scenario was imperative. (Kaye, 2004) Additionally one could note that affordability was a driver in the Indian context for desirability so Coke launched a 200ml returnable glass bottle at a lower prices of Rs. 5 with accompanying advertising campaigns. (Businessline, 1998) It was also noted that soft drink consumption was somewhat limited to special occasions like outings, parties, festivals and weddings in contrast to more affluent countries where daily consumption occurred.
Within consumers Coke located two distinct target markets: urban youth which they called India A and rural Indians which were called India B (Balakrishna, 2003). Worth noting is that India A only made up 4% of India’s total population (Kaye, 2004) although could be seen as a lucrative market in terms of influence, income & consumption habits. In line with decentralising thrust of Coke internationally, local managers and advertising teams were recruited and regional teams were established in a multi-local network system.
Such embracing of transnationality has been commended as encouraging local responsiveness. (Gajendar, 2003) Further investigation of regionally segmented audiences have resulted in advertisements currently being in more than six languages reflecting India’s linguistic diversity (Businessline, 1998). Southern states often require markedly different strategies such as alternate celebrity endorsements (Tamil vs. Bollywood stars) and promotion of Coke accompanying regionally relevant food combos.
Further to such localised efforts were the national television commercial and print campaigns which took a turn from earlier American style aspiration value to a much more vernacular style which will be discussed in detail in the following section. Collectively such cultural mediation of marketing, based on greater insights of local specificity, contributed to the doubling of rural penetration from 2001 to 2003 and the pushing of Coke ahead of former leaders Pepsi and Thums Up in rural markets. (Businessline, 2003 & IBEF, 2004)
India A: “Life ho to aisi” “India A,” the designation Coca-Cola gave to the market segment including metropolitan areas and large towns, represented 4% of the country’s population. This segment sought social bonding as a need and responded to aspirational messages, celebrating the benefits of their increasing social and economic freedoms. “Life ho to aisi,” (life as it should be) was the successful and relevant tagline found in Coca-Cola’s advertising to this audience. India B: “Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola”
Thanda Matlab Coca Cola (Thanda Means Coca Cola) played on the Northern Indian vernacular use of ‘thanda’ (cold) as a generic term for a cold drink. Guests are commonly asked “garam? thanda? ” on arrival, implying that they state their preference for tea or cold drinks. In this manner one can see that the Thanda campaign attempts to embed Coca Cola in local tradition rather than inserting a foreign one. Rather than highlighting aspirational distance it focuses on proximity to the familiar with the intention of appealing to rural sensibilities.
Emphasis on cold is also a strategic position in the annual summer ‘cola wars’ which take place between Coke and Pepsi to the backdrop of searing temperatures. The Thanda print ads show a series of scenes in which Coca Cola is subsumed by ‘Indianess’[Exhibit- . The ads are shot to look unconstructed in a way that embraces the local and celebrates the common-man. Drinking Coca Cola is not emphasised but cooling connotations are evident in the complete series.
The concept of creolisation, which is usually equated with errant decoding of brand value, is here harnessed by the advertisers. Creolisation refers to the mixture of meanings and forms from ambivalent sources in transcultural contexts. (Hannerz, 1992 in Belk & Ger, 1996) In this way it can be seen that “consumers often appropriate the meanings of global brands to their own ends, creatively adding new cultural associations, dropping incompatible ones, and transforming others to fit into local cultural and lifestyle patterns. (Arsel & Thompson, 2004) Whereas examples of creolisation are usually frowned upon by brand producers, Prasoon saw it as effective to produce virtue from such necessity that commonly underpins the Indian rural sector (Majumdar, S. 2005). In this way the specifically Indian concept of juggard is captured which entails localised ingenious improvisation [Exhibit-. Although the campaign was aimed at India B, the way that it seems to intentionally undermine the conventional advertising project itself created an additional appeal with India A.
This operates in the same way that ironic campaigns by Benetton and Diesel capture more affluent international audiences that have become jaded by incessant advertising. In fact the Shade of Crates ad attracted favourable international attention in winning a Golden Lion at Cannes in 2003 (Majumdar, S. 2005) . Coca-Cola India believed that the first brand to offer communication targeted to the smaller towns would own the rural market and went after that objective with a comprehensive strategy. “India B” included small towns and rural areas, comprising the other 96% of the nation’s population.
This segment’s primary need was out-of-home thirst-quenching and the soft drink category was undifferentiated in the minds of rural consumers. Additionally, with an average Coke costing Rs. 10 and an average day’s wages around Rs. 100, Coke was perceived as a luxury that few could afford. Coke’s advertising and promotion strategy pulled the marketing plan together using local language and idiomatic expressions. “Thanda,” meaning cool/cold is also generic for cold beverages and gave “Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola” delicious multiple meanings.
Literally translated to “Coke means refreshment,” the phrase directly addressed both the primary need of this segment for cold refreshment while at the same time positioning Coke as a “Thanda” or generic cold beverage just like tea, lassi, or lemonade. As a result of the Thanda campaign, Coca-Cola won Advertiser of the Year and Campaign of the Year in 2003 [Exhibit- ] The comical characters do not patronise Indians as the ads employ the Bollywood genre feature of self- effacing male characters.
All use regionally specific language though this is able to be decoded by most Indians. All include a song which ties in the Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola tag line – usually related in style, language or manner to the location. Most ads show common-men in a favourable light than more elite characters. The exception being the gangster, but he would also not be considered elite so in this case rebel wisdom is celebrated. Hybridisation is further emphasized by mixture of Anglo and Indo scripts which reflects everyday speaking in which local languages like Hindi are peppered with English.
Adaptation to distribution in diverse conditions includes use of branded rickshaw vans, tricycles and lahris (pushcarts) that can cope with congested Indian urban roads and an extensive network and hub system has been devised for rural delivery. (Kaye, 2004) Additionally lahris mobilise supply, as fixed shops are often not apparent in popular locations such as parks, colleges and even slums. Such vehicles are commonly branded by local sign-writers who also produce numerous wall advertisements – another way in which the Coca Cola visual marketing has become localised.
Rural Success Comprising 74% of the country’s population, 41% of its middle class, and 58% of its disposable income, the rural market was an attractive target and it delivered results. Coke experienced 37% growth in 2003 in this segment versus the 24% growth seen in urban areas. Driven by the launch of the new Rs. 5 product, per capita consumption doubled between 2001-2003. This market accounted for 80% of India’s new Coke drinkers, 30% of 2002 volume, and was expected to account for 50% of the company’s sales in 2003. 36 Corporate Social Responsibility
As one of the largest and most global companies in the world, Coca-Cola took seriously its ability and responsibility to positively affect the communities in which it operated. The company’s mission statement, called the Coca-Cola Promise, stated: “The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone who is touched by our business. ” The Company has made efforts towards good citizenship in the areas of community, by improving the quality of life in the communities in which they operate, and the environment, by addressing water, climate change and waste management initiatives.
Their activities also included The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation created to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS through partnership with governments, UNAIDS, and other NGOs, and The Coca-Cola Foundation, focused on higher education as a vehicle to build strong communities an enhance individual opportunity (See Exhibit 8). 37 Coca-Cola’s footprint in India was significant as well. The Company employed 700 citizens and believed that for every direct job, 30-40 more were created in the supply chain. 8 Like its parent, Coke India’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives were both community and environment-focused. Priorities included education, where primary education projects had been set up to benefit children in slums and villages, water conservation, where the Company supported community-based rainwater harvesting projects to restore water levels and promote conservation education, and health, where Coke India partnered with NGOs and governments to provide medical access to poor people through regular health camps.
In addition to outreach efforts, the company committed itself to environmental responsibility through its own business operations in India including39: •Environmental due diligence before acquiring land or starting projects •Environmental impact assessment before commencing operations •Ground water and environmental surveys before selecting sites •Compliance with all regulatory environmental requirements •Ban on purchasing CFC-containing refrigeration equipment •Waste water treatment facilities with trained personnel at all company-owned bottling operations •Energy conservation programs 50% water savings in last seven years of operations Conclusion Much academic research centres around the notion that globalisation can be likened to cultural colonization though more recent anthroplogically-leaning findings suggest that global branding provides a site of negotiation between local cultures and global products. (Arsel & Thompson, 2004) Such positions can be exemplified by Gujendar (2003) and Mazzarella (2003) respectively. In the late 80s the term ‘glocalisation’ first appeared in the Harvard Business Review as used by a Japanese economists.
Sociologist Roland Robertson popularized the term in the 90s as the “the simultaneity — the co-presence — of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies. ” (Robertson, 1997) which is used to describe the reciprocal tempering effects of global and local forces. Some like journalist Thomas Friedman defines glocalisation as a ‘cultural ability’ (Friedman, 1999) which views globalisation through the lens of localization. Others look the other way through the same lens to justify local awareness and adaptation as a successful strategy in international product marketing. Raimi, 2003 and Svensson, 2002) It is worth noting that Robertson’s notion lay between these extremes which framed glocalisation as ‘interpenetration’ and ‘co-presence’ of the local and global (1997) which is further supported by the concept of ‘heterohybridization’ as discussed by Asel & Thompson (2004). In regards to this more central position on glocalisation, I propose use the term to discuss visual branding as a site of negotiation between the duality of foreign company and local consumer.
Although it is commonly noted that there is an international imbalance of power that favours more affluent countries (Belk & Ger, 1996), the case of the turnaround of Coca Cola sales in India demonstrates that economic gain is not necessarily at the cost of a direct transferal of such countries’ values to passive less affluent consumers. Viewing globalisation as an essentially homogenizing force seems non-representative. Rather, as Appadurai (1990) suggests, “the central problem of today’s global interactions is the tension between cultural homogenization and cultural heterogenisation”.
One could see the Thanda press ads in India mediate such tension. Indian advertising can be seen as negotiation between the past, present and future of Indian global modernity and local tradition (Mazzarella, 2003b) which is exemplified by Coca Cola’s campaigns. In this way we can see that advertising is a process of transculturation (synthesis of hybrid cultural forms) and that as much as cultures can be perceived as globalising, introduced products frequently themselves become indigenised. (Lull, 1995) Furthermore advertising can been seen as a contemporary form of myth-making which bridge contradictions as an anxiety reducing mechanism. Leymore, 1975) The Coca Cola Thanda campaign can be seen to attempt resolve Indian ambivalence of class, status and modernity . Hybridising of introduced products seems to come naturally to resilient Indian consumers who have fared a lengthy legacy of foreign influences. In a country where tandoori-chicken pizzas compete with McDonalds it is the ability to absorb and transform that seems to constitute the contemporary Indian (Mazzarella, 2003a) The insertion of global products into local cultures can paradoxically result in diversity as such products are reconfigured through more localised meanings. Arsel & Thompson, 2004) REFERENCES 1. Ahmed, A. , & Manohar, G. “Glocalization”: IIPM knowledge center. Available at: http://www. iipm. edu/iipm-old/iipm-glocalization. html 2. Boyd, D. (2006). “Glocalization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide. ” O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, San Diego, CA. March 6. 3. Campbell, M. (2002). “Asterix Promoting McBurgers in France: McDonald in the ‘glocalization’ of fast food marketing”, Toronto Globe & Mail, January 24. 4. Hye-won, J. (2006). “Is globalization succumbing to glocalization? , The Korean Times, July 18. 5. Kappan, R. (2004). ‘Web’ man in a new weave, The Hindu. Available at: http://www. gothamcomics. com/html/spiy_desi_2. htm. Accessed on: September 26, 2006 6. Khondker, H. (2004) “Glocalization as Globalization: Evolution of a Sociological Concept”, Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology, Vol. 1. No. 2. 7. Raimi, S. (2003). “Glocalization”. Available at: http://searchcio. techtarget. com/sDefination/0,,sid19_gci826478,00. html. Accessed on: September 25, 2006. 8. Stollberg, G. (2005). Ayurvedic medicine in Germany. Available at: http://www. ni- bielefeld. de/soz/pdf/PaperStollberg. pdf. Accessed on: September 25, 2006 9. The Economic Times. 16th and 23rd June 2002 – “Glocalization: Globalization plus Localization”. 10. Towers, D. (2004). “Wal-Mart: A glocalized company”. Managing Global Business- Self-Program, Universite Jean Mouline, Lyon 3. 11. World Bank Institute & The Glocal Forum (2003). “Glocalization: Research study and policy recommendations. ” Aaker, D. , Joachimsthaler, E. , 1999. The Lure of Global Branding. Harvard Business Review, 77(6), 137-144. Alden, D. , Steenkamp, J. –B. , Batra, R. , 1999.
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HBS Case, January 11, 2002. Yoffie, David B. and Richard Seet, Internationalizing the Cola Wars: The Battle for China and Asian Markets. HBS Case, May 31, 1995 Exhibit 1: Brand portfolio of Coca Cola Sl. No. NameYear launched 1Coca Cola1886 2Caffeine-free Coca Cola1983 3Coca Cola Cherry1985 4New Coke/Coca Cola II1985 5Coca Cola with Lemon2001 6Coca Cola Vanilla2002 7Coca Cola C22003 8Coca Cola with Lime2005 9Coca Cola Raspberry2005 10Coca Cola Zero2005 11Coca Cola M52005 12Coca Cola black Cherry Vanilla2006 13Coca Cola Black2006 14Coca Cola Citra2006 15Coca Cola light Sango2006 16Coca Cola Orange2007 17Coca Cola Classic2008
Exhibit 2: Chronological introduction of New Product- A Product Churning strategy of Coca Cola spreading across the time horizon : 2004-2010 Sl. No. Name of the BrandNature of ProductYear of introduction 1VIOFizzy Milk DrinkTo be launched in 2010 2VitingoVitamin enriched drinkTo be launched in February, 2010 3BurnEnergy drinkTo be launched in February, 2010 4NESTEARed Tea PomegranateMarch, 2009 5OdwallaReduced-Calorie quencher December, 2008 6Sprite GreenIInd version of soda enhanced drink SPRITEDecember, 2008 7Gold PeakChilled Variety TeaNovember, 2008 8Full ThrottleEnergy Coffee DrinkJune, 2008 9Simply OrangeJuiceMay, 2008 0NESTEA GreenAntioxidant enriched green teaMay, 2008 11IlkoReady-to-drink espresso based coffee beverageMarch, 2008 12Simply GrapefruitJuice2007 13DASANEnhanced water beverage2007 14Glaceau (acquired)Mineral water2007 Exhibit 2: Contd. Sl. No. Name of the BrandNature of ProductYear of introduction 15Minute Maid enhancedPulp-based juice2007 16EnvigaCalorie burn product2006 17Far CoastSoda drink2006 18Vault Zero2006 19Indulgent (in collaboration with Godiva Chocolatier)Chocolate based beverage2006 20POWERADEEnergy Sports Drink2005 21Coca Cola with LimeLime enhanced Coke2005 22Fanta-J-MelonFanta – Water melon version2004 3ZUReady-to-drink coffee with Ginseng2004 Exhibit 3: Beverage varietyNo. of ProductsNo. of BrandsRange of products 2800 [worldwide] 400Carbonated soft drinks, juices, juice drinks, sports and energy drinks, teas and coffees, milk & soy-based beverages, mineral water, spring water, chocolate based beverages Operational reachMore than 150 countries Company associates90,500 worldwide Consumer servings1. 5 billion bottles per day Exhibit 4: 5 and 10 years Compound Annual Growth Rate [CAGR] Nation5 year CAGR10 year CAGR Australia4%4% China15%19% India18%17% Japan2%3% Philippines8%8% Thailand10%4% Exhibit 5: Coca Cola – Best Global Brand, 2008
Sl. No. BrandBrand Value 1Coca cola$66. 60 bn. 2. IBM$59. 00 bn. 3. Microsoft$59. 00 bn. 4. GE$53. 00 bn. 5. NOKIA$35. 00 bn. 6. Toyota$34. 00 bn. 7. Intel$31. 2 bn. 8. McDonalds$31. 00 bn. 9. Disney$29. 2 bn. 10. Google$25. 5 bn. Exhibit 6: Exhibit — 7 Sample of Thanda campaign television commercial sysnopses: MUMBAI GANGSTER – Arrogant gangster enters bar and asks for a thanda. Barman gives him a soft drink. He asks again, same problem. Explains that by thanda he means Coca Cola leading into song and product focused shots. PUNJABI FARMER – Three metro girls get stranded in country due to car breakdown.
They venture into field and ask farmer for a thanda. He proceeds with poetically, rural, flirtatious banter. He draws up a bucket from the well which is full of Coke, leading into the tag-line and a song which parodies a traditional Punjabi folksong. The common-man wows the elite women. HYDERABADI SHOP-OWNER – Khan feigns disappointment as beautiful customer calls him bhai (brother) which quashes his hopes of romantic development. He goes on to explain that thanda means Coke which leads into a song. The local and class-based characteristics of paan chewing and tying of the lungi add a vernacular humor.
The ad places Coke within reach of the elite (woman) and the common-man (Khan). NEPALI TOURIST GUIDE – Nepali guide shows honeymoon tourists through the mountains. Husband asks for a thanda and wife gives him Coke. Guide asks for thanda and they give him a boxed juice of inferior quality. He is insulted and starts giving them an obviously misguided tour which they find confusing. Khan then announces that this is all as real as the juice is thanda to which they look embarrassed and hand over a Coke, leading into the tag-line and a comic song.
The common-man gets the better of the middle-class couple. Exhibit-8 : Believe it ! , It’s COKE. ?There are 27 different varieties of Coca Cola ?First bottle of Coke was sold 123 years ago on May 8th. , 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia. ?Coke was first advertised as a remedy for flu, headache and exhaustion. ?Coca Cola sold only 25 bottles in the first year, at present it is selling 1. 5 billion bottles per day. ?If you stack all of the bottles of Coke that had ever been made end to end, it would reach the moon and back, 1045 times.