For the past two years, we have been trying to build a portfolio where we are catering to all kinds of consumer cohorts

After launching premium water brand smartwater about two years ago, beverage major Coca-Cola India is looking to bring in global brand Powerade. Vijay Parasuraman, Vice President, Marketing, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia, spoke to BusinessLine on evolving marketing strategies with the emergence of multiple consumer segments.


How is this summer shaping up for Coca-Cola? Are you seeing any signs of rural or urban slowdown?

We are seeing good growth across all the beverage categories.

For the past two years, we have been trying to build a portfolio where we are catering to all kinds of consumer cohorts.

We will continue to focus on capturing moments of consumption by expanding the portfolio so that our brands and products become the most preferred choice for the consumer.

How will you leverage the upcoming ICC World Cup and launch new products?

In the hydration space, we are planning to bring our global brand Powerade to India in June. This is a good example of segmentation.

Consumers who play active sports require a drink for enhanced hydration and Powerade is made for that consumption occasion. We will be leveraging our association with ICC World Cup to launch this brand.

How has the marketing strategy for this summer season evolved in of terms products and campaigns?

A lot of our efforts this summer season have been on growing our core brands in sparkling and juice categories.

In terms of innovations, one of the things we have done is to launch products in the sparkling with juice segment.

Indian consumers are evolving faster than the rest of the world and hence their need states and reasons for consumption are evolving too.

Therefore, the fusion between categories is also going to increase here.

This year, we launched Minute Maid Apple Sparkle with locally sourced Kashmiri apples. Minute Maid Colour was also launched in the Tamil Nadu market, in line with our strategy to launch products with local relevance.

In the juices category, we have launched new variants such as Minute Maid Nutriforce, which is fortified with vitamins.

We are also trying to bring an element of better storytelling to connect better with our consumers with initiatives such as the #SayitwithCoke campaign.

How has the growth been for low calorie or zero sugar products?

We provide choices through our sparkling portfolio with products such as Coca-Cola No Sugar and Diet Coke.

We are looking at ways to offer similar choices in the still beverage category. For instance: in the future if there is consumer demand for a lighter or a less calorie version of Powerade, then we may look to introduce such a variant. There is a reasonably good demand for such products across markets. .

What are your plans in the hot beverage segment post Costa acquisition?

We are currently figuring out the strategy.

In the last two years, with our incubation model, speed to market or quality of marketing has never been a problem. Once we figure out the strategy, we will see how this will pan out in India.

This article was originally published in The Hindu BusinessLine