Coca-Cola looks to digital media in India

17 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, plans to heighten its use of digital media in India, as it seeks to mirror the changing behaviour of consumers in the country.

Ricardo Fort, the company's vp, marketing for India and South-West Asia, said several trends are emerging in the rapidly-growing economy that will have a long-term impact.

"In India, we increasingly see women go out to work. This has a bearing on their shopping habits and behaviour," he argued.

"Also, concerns related to environment and health, such as obesity, are going up ... These trends should be kept in mind by marketeers while chalking out their business plans."

In response to the developing preferences of its customers, Coca-Cola has started to add more detailed nutritional information to its packaging in the Asian nation.

Going forward, it will provide figures relating to its environmental and sustainability initiatives on product labels, in order to actively demonstrate its ecological credentials.

With regard to advertising, the owner of Sprite and Fanta intends to modify its overall approach, in recognition of the fact that its target audience is adopting a range of new media habits.

"We are an important advertiser, and, to reach out to the same number of people we have reached out to in the past, the company will have to spend a lot (more) on advertising," Fort said.

"In terms of media, we have primarily been using TV and print. But, going ahead, we will make conscious efforts to leverage the digital media and forms of experiential marketing such as events."

Having recently launched Burn, an energy drink, and Minute Maid NimbuFresh, a lemon drink, in India, the Atlanta-based firm is also looking to further expand its portfolio going forward.

"We have a product innovation pipeline. There are dozens of new products under development," Fort stated.

"In the next two or three years, you will see much more in terms of new product launches and campaigns since we have achieved a critical mass in India and now we are in a position to invest more."

As shoppers living in rural communities are expected to be among the key drivers of future growth in the FMCG category, establishing a presence in these areas is another major priority.

"As a country, the overall consumption of packaged beverage is very disproportionate," Fort said.

"In the rural markets, we are investing in getting the infrastructure such as coolers in place, as well as investing in distribution, logistics and transportation."

Price is one factor that can increase uptake levels among this demographic, and Coca-Cola has introduced a glass bottle of its trademark brand, priced at just eight rupees ($0.17; €0.13; £0.11), to achieve this goal.

Data sourced from Livemint; additional content by Warc staff