Concerned over a downslide in sales and profitability, Coca-Cola today said it was reworking its marketing and distribution strategy in India along with a higher provisioning for aggressive advertising to reverse the trends.
Having already pumped in over one million dollars with another 120 million dollars in the pipeline, the Indian arm of the cola giant will invest more for expansion of its product basket to become a “complete non-alcohol beverage” company, Coca-Cola India CEO Atul Singh said.
Singh, who was brought in from China late last year to consolidate business at a time when sales and profitability declined for the second year in succession, does not believe in short term solutions and announced “India is our focussed market and we will work on long-term strategy that would enable us to integrate with the nation’s culture and fabric.”
Credited for significant rise in per capita consumption of coke in China, estimated three times that in India, Singh said “the consumption per person here is about six bottles a year. We will strive to raise it to the level of china in the next few years. This is both an opportunity and a challenge.”
This would necessitate an entirely different approach and “I have told the top management (bosses in the Atlanta headquarters) to treat India differently. We must be patient,” Singh said exuding confidence that sales growth would again become positive from this year and operations profitable in a couple of years.
But Singh did not elaborate on the accumulated losses of India operations, saying “we were making profits till things turned bad two years ago. We are not the only ones facing the heat.”