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Global Influence of Coca-Cola Coca-Cola is a company that is known worldwide for its product. It is a drink that spans all ages, colors, races, and countries. The Coca-Cola Company is one that has been around for over 100 years, and has used this time to perfect its marketing strategy. The success of the company was built on many people with the great business knowledge and know-how to take a simply drink, and make it into a symbol that represents humanity. This paper will focus on not only the globalization of Coke, and Coke as a company, but also what advertising and media strategies have been used to help in the discourse of its globalization. The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s leading manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The world’s headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, with many other locations around the country. The Company and its subsidiaries employ nearly 31,000 people around the world. Syrups, concentrates and beverages bases for Coca-Cola, the Companies flagship brand, and over 230 other Company soft-drink brands are manufactured and sold by the Coca-Cola company and its subsidiaries in nearly 200 countries around the world. The company’s operating management structure consists of five geographic groups plus The Minute Maid Company (the companies juice business). The North America Group comprises the United States and Canada. The Latin America Group includes the Company’s operations across Central and South America, from Mexico to the tip of Argentina. The Greater Europe Group stretches from Greenland to Russia’s Far East, including some of the most established markets in Western Europe and the rapidly growing nations of Eastern and Central Europe. The Africa and Middle East Group encompasses the Middle East and the entire continent of Africa. The Asia Pacific Group has operations from India through the Pacific region including China, Japan, and Australia. As you can see from the above geographic groups, everyone around the world has access to Coca-Cola. It is a global industry, which will be discussed in great detail. One important fact that is often overlooked is that Coca-Cola does not just deal with the soft drink coke. The Coca-Cola Company also owns the Minute Maid Company. This is its juice branch, which is based out of Houston, Texas, and is also the world’s leading marketer of juices and juice drinks. The Minute Maid company’s products include Minute Maid Premium Orange Juice with calcium, Minute Maid Premium Lemonade Iced Tea, Minute Maid Coolers, Hi-C Blast and Five Alive. One of the Coca-Cola Company’s strongest strengths lies in its ability to conduct business on a global scale while maintaining a local approach. At the heart of this approach is the bottler system. The company has business relationships with three types of bottlers: independently owned bottlers, in which there is no ownership interest; bottlers in which the company has invested and have a non-controlling ownership interest; and bottlers in which the company has invested and have a controlling ownership interest. Coca-Cola is considered one of the first truly global companies. It is through this title that Coke has learned the importance of respecting cultural differences and also to recognize the humanity that links us all as people. It is only through time and further education that the company continues to learn how to please its market worldwide. The Coca-Cola company is not only this “world-wide” operation, but it also a local operation with a source of commitment in nearly 200 countries. The following are brief overviews of a few countries where Coca-Cola has used their strategies to help their drinks become part of the culture… Argentina – Coca-Cola production began in Argentina in 1942. On the first day the product hit the streets, seven 24-bottle cases were sold, plus eighteen single 185 milliliter bottles. By the end of 1943, sales in Argentina amounted to 300,000 cases using 20 distribution trucks. At present, Coca-Cola de Argentina S.A. sells around one thousand times more products annually than during that historic first year. Belgium – Belgium was introduced to Coca-Cola in 1927. Today, Belgium is among the world’s top 20 countries in terms of per capita consumption of Coca-Cola products. France – Coca-Cola was introduced in France in 1933 in the “Café de l’Europe” in Paris. Coca-Cola has been the number one soft drink in France since 1966, and its total sales have doubled in eight years. Coca-Cola France has created more than 1000 jobs and has invested more than 3 billion francs in France since 1989. Today, French consumers drink an average 88 servings of Coca-Cola products each year. Italy – Coca-Cola was first introduced in Italy in 1927. The Coca-Cola business system currently employs approximately 3,000 people in Italy. Today, Italian consumers drink an average of 100 servings of Coca-Cola products each year. There are 12 bottling plants throughout the country, serving more than 500,000 retail outlets, producing a wide range of Coca-Cola products, including Fanta, Sprite, Nestea, Kinley Tonic Water, Beverly, Bonaqua and Minute Maid products. Japan – Japan is one of the most competitive soft drink industries in the world. There are more than 7,000 different soft drinks sold in the country and 500 different soft drink manufacturers. Some 1,000 new soft drinks are launched every year. Coca-Cola is the market leader in soft drinks in Japan. The Coca-Cola product range in Japan includes more than 25 brands and 60 flavors. The largest outlet for the sale of Coke product is in vending machines, which account for more than 50% of its total sales. The Coca-Cola system maintains 930,000 vending machines, more than two times as many in its nearest competitor. The countries listed above are those that are economically stable, and are relatively easy to market a product, like coke, in. But some countries do not even have clean drinking water, good educational facilities, or good continuing education programs for children and young adults. Coca-Cola, as a company, realizes this. The company realized long ago that before you promote a drink in a country like this, you need to first help it a little – get it somewhat back on its feet. And that is exactly what the Coca-Cola Company did and still does. The Coca-Cola Foundation was formed, with the sole purpose of helping those in need. Many of the needs that are focused on are educationally based. With operation in nearly 200 countries, the company frequently encounters the great gap between those who thirst for learning and the adequate educational resources available to them. Whether it is supporting computer training in Vietnam, or providing access to school in Mozambique, the Foundation’s aim is to make educational excellence more widely available. The Coca-Cola Foundation supports global education, and emphasizes innovative programs that foster understanding, such as Michigan State University’s global fellowships that allow high school teachers to venture abroad. Youth for Understanding, another Foundation-supported program, provides students with firsthand exposure to other cultures, helping to broaden the worldview of all that participate. The focus that the company has on global understanding leads the Coca-Coca Foundation to make possible the annual J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, awarded in 1997 to Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel. The $50,000 prize recognizes individuals who have contributed to greater understanding of other cultures or nations; past recipients include South African President Nelson Mandela, former United States President Jimmy Carter and former Philippine Present Corazon Aquino. Two specific examples of how Coca-Cola has helped those in need are the following: In the Philippines, where there is a vital need for elementary schools, the Foundation supports the Little Red School House project, building schools with multigrade classrooms in rural areas. Also, in China, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola China offices and bottling partners – in partnership with the China Youth Development Foundation – supports Project Hope, which improves schools in rural areas. Already 31 Project Hope schools are complete, changing the educational landscape for at least 20,000 children. At the present time, Coca-Cola is learning to think smaller. One man has helped this view. He realizes that this is an important strategy, ironically, for globalization. In order to have people everywhere like your product, you need to understand the area that your product is being sold in. The relationship between this large company and all the many smaller countries and areas around the world needs to be one of respect. Coke needs to think not on a large scale, but on the smaller scale that these small cities and towns can relate to. This man now occupies that corner office at the world headquarters in Atlanta, GA. He is a cheerful, unassuming Australian who has spent 30 years rising through the ranks. His name is Douglas N. Daft. What Daft is now doing and the changes he is making in the company are known within as the “next wave of globalization”. A few simple truths animate the Coca-Cola Company today. One of these is that 95% of the world’s population, which is five billion people, live outside the United States. Unlike Americans, until recently they remained a largely untapped audience. A big executive in the Coca-Cola Company by the name of Keough said the following, “When I think of Indonesia, a country on the Equator, with 180 million people, a median age of eighteen, and a Moslem ban on alcohol, I fell I know what heaven looks like.” China, which opened its doorways to Coca-Cola in 1979, had a billion people and a per capita consumption of one – one lone soft drink each year. In America, on average, every man, women and child gulped down three hundred servings a year! That made just the United States a $46 Billion dollar market. If Coca-Cola could boost the per capita consumption around the rest of the planet even a little, there are billions of dollars to be made. In many instances, the company’s new crusade in the global marketplace was carried out using old-fashioned methods. Bordeaux, France is a place where Coca-Cola never really caught on. So…a fresh-faced salesmen and saleswomen in bright red jackets hit the streets in the autumn of 1988 and plastered 35,000 Coca-Cola stickers on every outdoor surface they could find, then gave away thousands of cups of Coke in a sampling campaign much like one that was initially used at the turn of the century. In other areas, the company tried futuristic approaches. In Japan, where consumers were accustomed to buying a wide variety of goods from vending machines, Coca-Cola installed hundreds of thousands of state automated dispensers, an average of two for every square kilometer in the country, some of them equipped to take credit cards. After installation, these machines took over – taking 85% of the soft drink market. When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1990, the company rushed into East Germany, where a consumer survey showed 99% of the public still knew the name of Coca-Cola, even though the product had not been for sale there since World War II. As the Soviet Union broke apart, the Coca-Cola executives opened up new plants throughout the newly capitalist nations of Eastern Europe, finding that Coca-Cola was welcomed both as a source of cash and a symbol Western freedoms. In Warsaw, a crowd broke into spontaneous applause at the sight of a Coke delivery truck coming down the street. Guided by the policy “think globally, act locally,” the company tried to tailor its production and marketing practices to the different cultures everywhere it operated. When the 1996 Summer Olympics were awarded to Atlanta, a reporter asked a Coca- Cola executive if he was excited about having the Games come to the company’s backyard. The response was “We have a very large backyard.” The above are perfect examples of Coke’s advertising and media strategies, which tell a lot about the companies discourse of globalization. These examples show how the company has learned to cater to all kinds of people and places. Because of their “think locally” attitude, Coca-Cola has been able to globalize their industry incredibly. Eighty percent of Coca-Cola’s income now comes from foreign places. The following quote sums up the main reason why Coca-Cola is the global conglomerate that it is today: “Anywhere you go in the world, Coca-Cola is a hometown business… in Poland, we are a Polish business, and in Indonesia, we are an Indonesian business.” Word Count: 2058

   

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