Powerade: Keep Playing

Powerade is the leading sports drink of The Coca-Cola Company. Launched in the United States in 1992, Powerade is now sold in 80 countries. Powerade is the fastest growing major sports drink brand globally, and is one of fourteen, billion dollar brands from The Coca-Cola Company.

Powerade is an example of a brand that grew successfully over the past 10 years with locally developed positionings and communications. However, with the pressure to increase efficiency/productivity/profitability, and with the increasing association of Powerade with high-profile international sporting events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, the establishment of a unified global positioning became critical. By adopting a consistent brand vision, Powerade would be able to speak to consumers around the world in a consistent voice while leveraging financial efficiencies with agencies and global media outlets.

Like most global companies, The Coca-Cola Company historically drew on local in-market experience, competitive review, and strategic rationale to inform its brand positioning within a given region. This positioning was then integrated with the brand's goals and targets in each cultural and competitive context to establish a brand plan. The challenge inherent in a move towards a consistent global brand vision was that it posed a potential risk to the local business if the global positioning was not as relevant to the local consumers as the current offering. Additionally, qualitative research, the typical approach used to develop and assess positionings, did not allow for accurate cross-market comparisons of consumer appeal, volume potential, and risk. This reflects a problem The Coca-Cola Company shares with other global companies: convincing local managements to change from a local positioning that has proven successful. Without the “facts” and rigor provided by quantitative measurements that can address local concerns about the risk of changing, it can be difficult to align markets behind a singular approach.