We used to take forever to launch a product-- T. Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola

Coca Cola India has started a new incubation model which helps it test and introduce new products in record time. The company added two new products to its portfolio which followed this incubation approach.

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: May 4, 2018 8:58 AM

Coca Cola India has introduced two new products to its portfolio. The highlight according to T. Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India and South-west Asia, is that the turnaround time to launch these products was significantly less time consuming, owing to Coca Cola’s new incubation model.

Speaking about the new incubation model, Krishnakumar said, “We have been good at introducing new products but we used to take forever to launch a product. This is because our normal format is to go develop a product based on consumer insights, then launch it within one small part of the town and understand and come back to the drawing board and correct it and then go back again. So this process used to take us 2 to 3 years before we could see a product which is scalable. We now have internally created an incubation model which is a very agile model. This model is designed to turnaround product in weeks. We have several products which we are going to line up in this, the basic idea is—can we have multiple products concepts tested out every year? We can scale up if we find success and we can scale down if we want to improve.”

Sharing the rationale behind the new product launch, he added, “Our interest is to create a portfolio of beverages for Indian local requirements. When we looked at our portfolio, we had fairly good presence in what I would call India A and B—the middle class and the upper class. But the people who work hard and toil need affordable products. We found that in our portfolio there were gaps. We also found that simple hydration is not good enough. So we created a product and did not overprice it because we wanted it to go to the masses. The idea is to hit 650-700 million population who need enhanced hydration.”

Coca Cola India is also planning to take some of its iconic brands to neighboring countries and has already entered the Bangladesh market. “We have got some great Indian brands and we are looking at taking them to neighboring countries. I’m happy to say that Thums Up has been launched in Bangladesh last month and we expect to roll it forward. In the last 9 months, every single launch has met reasonable to good success.” added Krishnakumar.

Ask him if the Cola pedigree comes with certain fixed notions even if the company is building a portfolio based on healthy drinks, Krishnakumar stated, “As a company we always give very safe products. We strongly believe that if we give a good product, people will like it. The pedigree of Coca Cola is about maintaining high standards of whatever we do. However the jury is always the consumer and we will always listen to the consumer.”

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