Learning from a beverage brand in India: Thinking outside the bottle.

My colleague Chris Barth from Serviceplan International has pointed me to a commentary by Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent on McKinsey.com. This article is worth a reading for international managers in India.

The key for success in India is to see the Indian market as it is, not as we wished it to be.

To this end, Coca-Cola sees itself not only in the role of a beverage manufacturer or supplier. Coca Cola is also providing the infrastructure for selling their products in India. Therefore, Coca-Cola comes up with a solar-powered mobile cooler for use in the tens of thousands of rural Indian villages that lack electricity.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 13.33.06

Stores using the eKOCool solar coolers can stay open late and generate enough extra power to do double duty, recharging mobile phones or electric lanterns.

That is a great idea. Currently, companies have to change their business model and expand their product portfolio. And yet, the brand  must remain associated with the core business. So Coca-Cola is still a lemonade manufacturer. But not only that.

Our agency group has also changed over the decades. As Executive Creative Director at Serviceplan India it is now up to me to find out whether humility and respect are further keys to success in this incredible country. It is also about an attitude that you live authentically every day – to live in India as it is, not as we think India has to be. And maybe I will love India as it is, because India is like as I have wished unconsciously.

Link to the commentary by Muhtar Kent on McMinsey.com.

Meanwhile PepsiCo India announced now an investment of approximately EUR 3,94 billion in India till 2020. The rival of coca-Cola has named former Nokia Senior Executive, D Shivakumar, as its new Chairman and CEO for the India region.

I found this old freezer for drinks embedded in ice cubes at Sharma Farms / Delhi.

I found this old freezer for drinks embedded in ice cubes at Sharma Farms / Delhi.

I would not say that Pepsi has to be ranked very, very far behind Coca-Cola. But in 2012, the Coca-Cola Company started to invest $5 billion in their India operations till 2020. It will be interesting to watch the battle between these two well-armed brands.

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