Iv) Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola, which started in 1885, is also a fascinating example. On the face of it, it would appear to be the exception to the rule. For over 100 years the company has sold the same product.

The only time they changed the formula they were forced by customers to reverse this decision. Their secret lies in their motto: the world belongs to the discontented. The basis for this motto is to warn against complacency and advocate a perpetual curiosity. For example, Coca-Cola's Japanese company market tests a new soft drink variety or other product every month.

The company has continually re-vitalised itself by updating advertising and packaging, so that it is in line with the ever-changing youth culture

After 1990 its share price increased from $US 10 to over $US 88 in 1998; subsequently, the share price fell to around $US 40 in 2003; by mid 2004, the share price had recovered to around $US 50. These fluctuations in share price correlate with the S-curve phenomenon. The fall in share price is linked with the

- problems with management, especially with succession planning at the CEO level after the death of the legendary CEO Roberto Goizueta in 1997. Douglas Ivestor succeeded Goizueta. Next came Doug Draft but he was regularly over-ridden by the Board, such as in the abortive Quaker deal. Neville Isdell followed Draft as CEO.

- poor governance by the Board (sometimes referred to as "Coca-Cola keiretsu" as it resembles a web of interlocking relationships typical of Boards in Japan).

By mid 2004, the financial performance improved with a 35% increase in net income and a 13% increase in revenue to $US 5.1 billion

To handle increasing criticisms (2013) that it is adding to youth obesity (estimates claim that 17% of American children are obese and 36% of adults) and fear of government regulation on 'soda consumption', Coke has re-enforced its agreement of

- 2009 to put calorie labeling on the front of all packages;

- 2007 not to direct advertising to children under 12 years old;

Furthermore, it has expanded its physical activity programs in 200+ countries and promotes low-and no-calorie drinks like Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Youth-culture focus with change from traditional promotions via radio, TV, print, etc. to social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc) via teen influencers

. Used to be no. 1 world brand & associated with sociability, happiness & convenience. But allegations that its products are increasing obesity are eroding its brand value

. Coke is under pressure due to the increasing popularity of healthy drinks like bottled water, coconut water & juice, plus move away from sugar-based & artificially sweetened carbonates like Coke with its caffeine hit

. Coke is chasing the changing market with new "healthier" products

 

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