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Visionary Thinking

INTRODUCING COKE ‘TOTAL.’ NO, IT’S NOT A DRINK, IT’S A BEVERAGE STRATEGY – After its recent acquisition of Finlandia Vodka, can Coca-Cola’s ‘Total Beverage Strategy’ turn it into the everywhere company?

Coca-Cola already owns over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories.

Once upon a time, Coke, as its famous slogan said, was content to just be ‘it.’ Now, it seems, the Atlanta-based corporation wants to be everywhere.

According to The Grocer, Coke’s recent acquisition of Finlandia is “a further sign surely of Coca-Cola’s long-term goal to be a “total beverage company”, a strategy which has seen it pivot into coffee and alcohol.”

Coca-Cola already owns over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. Its portfolio is huge and includes Dasani, Del Valle, Fanta, Minute Maid, Powerade, and Costa.

Of those, the 2018 $4.9 billion purchase of Costa, like that of Finlandia, is part of its ‘total’ strategy. A long-term move towards broadening its offer; adding tea, coffee and now alcohol brands to its core soft-drinks business.

As CEO, James Quincey, puts it “Coca-Cola is evolving to become a total beverage company by reshaping its growth strategy and operating model in line with changing consumer tastes and buying habits.”

“The brand Coca-Cola will always be the heart and soul of The Coca-Cola Company, but the company has outgrown its core brand. The company needs to be bigger than our core brand,” continued Quincey.

So, how might the $220 million Finlandia purchase fit into Coke’s ‘total’ strategy?

Business Daily suggests “Finlandia is a strong brand in the Central and Eastern European region where it sells 2.7 million 9 litre cases per year, with 60% of this being in countries where the Coca-Cola HBC (Hellenic Bottling Company) group already operates.”

In short, Finlandia is already a major brand in its key territories and – as brand-building is Coke’s core expertise – they have taken a $220 million bet on being able to leverage their unrivalled expertise in that area and make Finlandia even bigger. Then, almost certainly, grow it globally.

Business Daily again, Coke “may have taken its first tentative step in the distribution of alcoholic beverages 16 years ago, but yesterday's move showed that it wants to go deeper into this category and at the level of global brand control.”

Coke is everywhere. Not, perhaps, as catchy a slogan as “Coke is It.” But the ultimate goal of its ambitious ‘total’ beverage strategy.

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