The non alcoholic beverage industry is one of the most dynamic, competitive and volatile industry which is susceptible to small variations in the perceptions and behavioural changes of the customers. Coca cola for over hundred years has been and still is a great player in this industry. Coca cola is widely known as a soft drink producer with global reputation and is the most valued brand in the world.
In these competitive times, even though how big an organisation is or how great the reputation of the organisation is, it should not lose its direction and can’t afford to relax. Organisations should thrive to improve their resource management systems which should include improving its performance of human resources o its employees’ and engage them in active participation of the company affairs and also develop, plan, implement and monitor its marketing strategies on a continuous basis so as to take the competitive edge.
This assignment deals with two major areas of Coca cola’s management philosophy, one is its human resources and the other is its strategic marketing. Each task in this assignment has been objectively answered to provide a clear description and analysis of a case, so as to provide a meaningful conclusion to the assignment as a whole.
Employee relations are one of the most important functions of the Human Resources Management, and at Coca cola there are various approaches that can enhance the relations between the company and its employees. As a major function of HR department, employee relations should instigate better partnership, greater involvement and active participation between employees and the company. Coca cola should see that this is a two way process. As part of its employee relations, the company should try to create a work atmosphere which is more cordial, a conflict free environment and where the major concentration is to prevent any unfavourable work situations among its employees. The HR department at Coca Cola should also provide a platform where the employees are motivated, encouraged to participate in the company affairs and are encouraged to give commitment in the company’s growth and development.
In this way the organisation can benefit by having a committed, organised and work oriented employees. Coca Cola can also witness high levels of productivity as well as improved employer- employee relations. The employees also feel that they are very secure and will contribute more dynamically to the organisation’s progress. Conclusively both the organisations as well as employees have an equal role and participation in the organisation’s progress and benefit mutually.
Alternative communication approaches with employees at Coca cola is a very effective way to deal with various issues relating to employee affairs. Some of the major issues that are dealt by Coca cola as part of its alternative communication approaches are grievance management, conflict resolving, bargaining, and involvement of employees in the organisation’s affairs.
At coca cola, the HR department believes that conflicts are unavoidable and places some of the best policies to deal with them which include counseling sessions, negotiations and services of specialist psychologists who are expert in dealing with various work situations. Some of the other situations include resolving conflict of interests. As perceptions of employees at all times may not be similar, efficient alternative communication approach is very important, so as to maintain greater employee relations.
An organisation’s integrity and ethical values are only appreciated when it has a very good grievance management system in place. At coca cola, there is a systematic grievance management process, where in which fairness and transparency are the essential and paramount factors. The grievance management process also maintains confidentiality and seeks to provide the best possible solutions to employees’ grievances.
Performance management is a management technique and employee performance management is a function of Human resources management that helps in achieving the goals and objectives that are set to manage the performance of the employees. The purpose of performance management is to see that the employees’ skills, knowledge and performance of their duties, which are measured against the final outputs, are consistently managed so as to optimally and progressively improve the performance levels of the employees. The major benefits of performance management are it helps the organisation to sustain and improve the performance of the employees, helps in identifying potential performance techniques and also helps in achieving organisational excellence in terms of employees’ quality.
The purpose of reward management is to see that the payroll function of HR is fulfilled and the financial and non financial benefits to employees are addressed. The benefits of reward management are it makes the complete payment systems organised which includes salaries, performance related bonuses, perks etc. It also motivates employees to perform well and contribute to the success of the organisation.
Performance appraisal techniques are also widely used across the entire coca cola organisations, they help in measuring and contributing to the successful achievements of the organisation, performance techniques such as 360 degree feedback, which provides anonymous feedback from their supervisors and graphic rating scale which helps to checklist the individual’s performance are the most widely used performance appraisal techniques.
Finally the performance and reward management at coca cola is a fully efficient and contributing factor for success of the organisation.
Following is a hypothetical design and implementation of performance management and reward process at coca cola, for organisational performance.
To first identify various performance and reward assessment factors that help in linking performance related pay
To determine the Coca Cola’s organisational and environmental factors that help in aligning the HR goals
Identifying the various performance strategies that assist in making rational decisions in performance and reward management implementations
Establishing the various performance assessment procedures and reward management systems and introducing them and making them adaptable to the employees and HR professionals equally.
Selecting a time frame for implementation and choosing periods or specific dates on which the performance appraisal techniques can be applied to measure the employees’ performance
Selecting a basis on which classification of employees can be made, and categorizing them into excellent achievers, good achievers, average achievers and poor achievers
Then doing a post follow up after conducting performance appraisals and the necessary action that needs to be taken for each of the category
As in all major organisations, Coca cola also follows a very decent financial and non financial rewards and benefits system. An effective reward and benefit system helps in attracting the brightest talent as well as helps in retaining the existing employees’. Coca cola follows a rational approach of classifying its financial rewards and benefits and non financial rewards and benefits.
The financial benefits and rewards part consist of fixed base salary, half yearly bonus based on performance, joining bonus for a new employer, yearly increments in the salaries, double pay for overtime work done and an option to buy or sell yearly holidays. This is a very effective, easy to understand and uncomplicated payroll system that helps the employee to focus on his/her work and performance rather than thinking about complex calculations and the quantum of rewards and benefits.
The non financial benefits and rewards part at Coca cola is equally attractive, in the sense that the company offers flexible deals to employees like private health insurance, fuel allowance, customized training programs, opportunities to study towards professional qualification and finally generous maternity and paternity leaves. All these financial and non financial benefits and rewards are very important for Coca cola to maintain health employee employer relations as well as to retain and attract the best talent available in the market.
Strategy development at Coca cola is a continuous, market based and customer driven process that enables itself to position itself as a market leader in the non alcoholic beverage producer in the world. Strategy development is an activity, which can take its base from various other planning and analysis methods. One such important factor is the marketing planning, at coca cola, the marketing planning helps it to identify various resources and other sources which help in taking a competitive advantage.
Marketing planning also helps in gaining the commitment in the strategy development process, it also contributes in allocating resources that help the business to grow, the marketing planning process also helps to identify and prioritize all the stakeholders and subsequently inform them of their business. In a nutshell the marketing planning forms the backbone for the development of overall business strategy, this is done by setting goals and objectives and also includes monitoring and measuring the performance at all stages.
As we all know that the purpose of strategy development is to set a direction for the business and create opportunities to sell their products to customers so as to meet the business objectives and this exactly what the marketing planning does at coca cola, to study, analyse and implement marketing plans for the achievement of strategic objectives.
Operationalising marketing strategy – Concepts and Techniques
The importance of marketing operations doesn’t lie in applying mere marketing concepts in practice, but understanding the market realities, adjusting, adapting and executing them. A well thought strategic approach is necessary in order to get the desired results. The aim of Operationalising marketing strategy is to fill the knowledge gap that exists in theory and that of realities. At coca cola one of the most fundamental components of Operationalising marketing strategy is to include implementation strategies for the advertising plans, understanding the nature of customer expectations and perceptions on the coca cola products and creating a scheduling plan for the execution.
Marketing mix or 4P’s is an important marketing concept that includes four elements of product, price, place and promotion. The marketing mix is normally taken for a specific product and not for an organisation as a whole. So considering that we take diet coke as the product and the place as all of UK, the marketing mix of diet coke can be stated as follows
Product: Diet coke, which is a very popular product from the company, and has very less calories and is a sugar free soft drink. It comes in serving of 3 liters, 2 liters, 1.5 liters, 500ml, and 330 ml.
Price: All the products are competitively priced in the UK, and the prices of some of the products are a bit expensive than its rival Pepsi.
Place: The products are sold almost in all supermarkets, grocery shops, off license stores and other food courts. Hence the availability of the product is very high.
Promotion: the company has various ways to promote the product including flyers, in store marketing, advertising in mass media (TV, newspapers, magazines etc). Hence the promotion of product is very high and the product is highly visible to the public.
Strategic marketing is a highly relevant activity or a process that allows an organisation to make use of the limited resources it has to generate high sales of its products and also achieve a competitive advantage. The concept of strategic marketing is always centered on customer. The strategic marketing as such is not limited to the marketing functions of the organisation alone, but also in various other activities of an organisation.
For example in Coca cola, strategic management allows the supply chain department to focus on the various phases where the strategic marketing can have an impact on it. Obtaining the bottles from bottling units, distribution to wholesale and retail markets etc all make use of the strategic marketing process.
In the case of service delivery management, coca cola at all the key stages of it, such as communicating to the customers, building relationship with customers, identifying problems and providing solutions to customers, providing 24/7 support to customers and implementing the service delivery management program all depend on how the strategic marketing process has been planned and implemented by Coca cola.
Coca cola has of late has been criticized by its investors for not coming with an effective marketing program or plan to counter the increasing growth of Pepsi. However Coca cola has started developing a structured marketing program based on its business plan and also to achieve the business objectives and goals more efficiently and effectively, so as to continue to increase its market share.
The marketing plan of coca cola consists of a thorough examination of the market conditions, audit of the environment and situations that is doing a situational analysis, competitor analysis, and a scrutiny of its position in the market. Once this has been done, the next step is selecting the best and most suitable marketing strategies and implementing them continually and also reviewing the progress made and making any necessary changes to its marketing strategy and also monitoring any external threats and internal efficiency procedures.
The growth of Information technology since the early nineties till the present day and the development of e business, e commerce and internet marketing have all had a profound effect on the way Coca cola carries out its marketing activities. In a technology driven market, the organisations which doesn’t have technical edge will eventually lose out to their competitors, however coca cola have used technology to their advantage by pursuing an effective marketing strategy which made use of technology to the fullest possible extent.
Coca cola has been able to increase its brand image more quickly from the early nineties till the present day, then what it has been having since its formation, this can be attributed to the effective utilization of internet marketing, increased coverage in the media, and also by use of applications such as marketing management systems such as marketing management and sales and distribution application software, it has been able to design numerous marketing models test them before applying them in the market, reduce its marketing costs and increase its sales globally.
The coca cola has a very much evolved portfolio models and portfolio strategies which it applies in the developed countries, developing countries and the emerging countries. In the emerging world it has focused on increasing and maximizing the volume of bottles produced and generating maximum sales. It has increased the amount of investment in creating infrastructure, to set up more bottling units and also increased marketing and advertising of the original and well known products such as Coke and Diet coke.
In the developing world its focus is to maximize the value, as it has already got a strong foot hold on the volume of sales, building a strong customer base and also building customer loyalty. In the case of developed countries it is more into maximizing profits by selling multiple products which are more exclusively sold in the developed countries and finally provide funding for a continuous growth. Individually each product such as coke, sprite, diet coke, fanta etc have all been marketed to compete with other rival products of similar nature and collectively marketed under the brand image of coca cola, so as to add more value and substance to its image as well as to its products range.
Market segmentation is a concept which includes economics as well as marketing. Market segmentation at coke is done so as to divide the market into subsets where people are grouped based on similar preferences. At coca cola the major selling products are coke, sprite, diet coke, flavored coke which includes cherry, vanilla, raspberry, lemon and fanta. There are many people who have liking to a particular product of coca cola; hence it is very important for market segmentation which should be done keeping in mind the market conditions.
Coca cola’s arch rival Pepsi has also many products that are similar in taste or nature of coca cola’s products, hence it is very important to positively position itself in the market so as to face any competition. Apart from this, market segmentation is done based on geographical locations also, because unlike in the west where coca cola normally rules the market, in places such as Mexico, France, China, etc they have many local producers of soft drinks, hence market segmentation is necessary to create a geographical specific marketing strategy.
Generally the competition in markets can be of two types oligopoly and monopoly markets. In an oligopoly market there are few sellers and each seller has a substantial market share and influence in the market. The products in an oligopoly market may be differentiated and undifferentiated, that is in differentiated products, and every supplier has got an identity of their own products and cannot be replaced or substituted by others. In case of undifferentiated products, they can be substituted for any other product and these products depend mostly on the price and availability.
In most situations products such as Pepsi, coke, fanta, etc can be said as undifferentiated products as customers may tend to substitute for another products in the case of unavailability. But when the customer base is very loyal to a product, that is if people drink coke only and nothing else than the product is said to be differentiated. In a monopoly market there is only one seller which can significantly influence the market and control the prices of their products and make any decisions without having to worry about the consequences. In case of coca cola, although it can be said as a leading soft drink producer and has the highest market share when considered globally, it still faces tough competition from its arch rival Pepsi and other local soft drink sellers, hence it can be said that coca cola operates in a oligopoly market environment.
The concept of brand identity is a part of the overall brand management of a company. In literal terms brand identity is the audio -visual face of the brand. It communicates to the customers the values, ideas and the benefits of the product. Coca cola has for long maintained great brand identity and in fact it is voted as the most valuable brand in the world with its brand value being 67 billion dollars worldwide.
The process of developing and using brand identity has been a very important one in the context of the marketing strategy and is widely recognised and appreciated one. The brand identity of coca cola can be attributed to two major factors one is brand specific and the other is intrinsic.
In the first place the coca cola company has started to develop brand specific attributes, which includes having real cola taste, the taste that cannot be forgotten, gives entertainment to everyone, can be enjoyed with the company of anyone and finally has been recognised as the best soft drink.
The next thing was to develop intrinsic attributes, coca cola has been able to do this by creating a great and refreshing taste, can quench the thirst and can go with anything from meals to snacks. This way and by popular designs, great logo, interesting packing designs and giving attractive taglines coca cola has been developing and using its brand identity.
At coca cola, the product life cycle refers to each and every product that has been produced to supply to customers undergoes a number of phases where every phase has certain advantages and disadvantages, and also the products may be replaced by other newly developed products or in some cases the product may be completely removed from production. Normally at coca cola there are five phases in the product life cycle, they are development, introduction, maturity and decline.
During the development phase or stage the new product is in the process of development, this is the first phase and before its implementation involves lot of research on the customer behaviours towards the particular type of products. The next stage is the introduction stage where the products or introduced or sold in the market, the third stage is growth phase, where the products pick up more sales and this is the phase where the company expands its operations and earns more profit, the next stage is the maturity stage where the product reaches a stagnant position, where the growth rate remains constant and finally in the last phase the products sales start declining. At the moment the Coca cola is in the maturity phase, which is evidenced from the fact that the growth rate is almost consistent for many years and it has many loyal customer base.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
As can been observed from various analysis and study about the coca cola’s human resources management and marketing activities, it can be said that coca cola has been performing consistently in increasing its brand image, effectively implementing various marketing strategies and also actively engaging its employees to work with them for the growth and development of the company. However in recent past it is losing its market share to its rival Pepsi and other local sellers and it is also unable to make use of its employees to derive the maximum value that it can as in its capacity.
Developing a very efficient performance management and reward management systems based on the latest human resources management practices and optimum use of resources that are available to the company
Developing innovative marketing and advertising strategies taking into account all the market conditions, regulatory environment, external and internal factors.