Coca-Cola: At a glance
You get home after a long day of work. Your family wants to eat something from the local pizzeria as a small celebration, and you agree. Regardless of what pizza you order with whichever toppings, a bottle or two of Coca-Cola will undoubtedly be ordered. This popular drink has become such an integral part of celebrations in our lives, it is estimated that 96% of the world’s population recognizes the brand from its classic red and white colour scheme. Amongst the 4% that don’t, you can probably expect to see some residents of North Korea and Cuba, since these are the only two countries in the world where Coca-Cola is neither bought nor sold, unless you want to smuggle it. Let’s dive into some interesting facts and look at the success of Coca-Cola over the years.
Coca-Cola was discovered by a man called John Pemberton. John used to suffer from terrible headaches and threw a bunch of ingredients together to create a panacea for his illnesses. Little did he know that he had created something that would change the way people lived their lives. He started the sale of Coca-Cola in 1886, and the version of Coca-Cola he sold back then was much different from the drink you buy from the supermarket across the street. For starters, it contained ingredients such as Cocaine and alcohol. Yes, the first version of the beverage that you happily give your children contained a hard drug that has been at the center-stage for many drug related wars in the past. But it was soon removed from the list of ingredients, as consumption of Cocaine became criminalised. And you guessed it, the alcohol was eliminated too.
The cursive and all too familiar logo that is printed on every single bottle of Coca-Cola isn’t a modern machination. Pemberton’s bookkeeper Frank Robinson is the man you have to thank for creating the beautiful and globally recognized logo of Coca-Cola. On the topics of beneficiaries of Coca-Cola, we cannot omit the name Asa Griggs Candler, the man who brought in many innovative strategies to help the brand of Coca-Cola grow in size and popularity. When introduced to Coca-Cola by his friend Pemberton, Candler used to be the owner of a modest pharmaceutical corporation. In the times when no one knew about the now ubiquitous soft drink, Candler would distribute thousands of pamphlets in events and shows. He would relentlessly talk about the drink in whichever social event he was part of by virtue of his other accomplishments. Soon, word spread and with a sizable sum of $2300, Candler managed to turn his small investment into the multi-billion dollar company you know and love today.
The brand Coca-Cola is so famous that undoubtedly the folks over at Coca-Cola have taken measures to keep their recipe a secret. For this reason, we can now talk about the most well kept trade secret in all of business history. When the time to make the decision came, the owners of Coca-Cola decided to not get a patent on their innovative drink because that way they would have protection over it for just 17 years, which could be extended to a further 20 with changes. The owners rightly realized that their soft drink would be consumed and desired by people throughout its existence and sought out a trade secret protection instead. This led to the world’s best kept secret, as to this day no one save a handful of people know what exactly goes into a glass of the mysterious dark and bubbly liquid that the world relishes. This has been the case for over 130 years and is a major contributor to the success of Coca-Cola. There have been nefarious attempts to steal the recipe as well. In 2006, three employees from Coca-Cola decided to sell the recipe to fierce competitor, PepsiCo. PepsiCo instantly contacted Coca-Cola about this, and upon inspection, it was found that the three employees did indeed attempt to sell a brand new recipe for a drink that was to be launched soon. The conspirators were all sentenced to jail time, with the sentences varying from 2 years to 8 years in contempt.
On another note, Coca-cola had a different problem in India. In 1977, the Indian Government declared that they would not allow the sale or consumption of Coca-Cola within the country of India unless Coca-Cola reveals exactly what they put inside their drinks. To further worsen matters, the then government had also put down norms that prevented foreign MNCs to have a majority of the Indian Market. This led to many MNCs leaving India, including companies such as IBM, Unilever and of course, Coca-Cola. This was a complex problem because India is the 2nd most populated country in the world with a population of well over 1.2 billion. Not being able to make a market out of such a reserve would hinder the success of Coca-Cola greatly, whereas at the same time they could not disclose their trade secret as it was their single greatest asset in their arsenal. For 17 long years, the cherished soft drink was unavailable in India and only after a reform in the governance did Coca-Cola decided to return.
When Coca-Cola was just starting out, they sold just 25 bottles their first year. To put that into perspective, they sold just 2 bottles per month when they began their business. It is staggering to believe that currently they sell 1.8 billion bottles-every single day. This estimates to an increase in business by a meagre amount of 262 million percent. Warren Buffet has been quoted saying “One thing that people don’t understand, Coca-Cola has no taste memory. You can drink one of these at 9 o’clock, 11 o’clock, and 5 o’clock. You can’t do that with cream soda, root beer, orange, grape, you get sick of them after a while. There is no taste memory to cola” and this essentially means that you can never get tired of the taste of Coca-Cola. And on that note, why not head out and get a Coca-Cola for yourself?
Written by Udit Sharma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Likes coke (and Limca)