Today is the last day in the series and it is going to be a recap of the discussions in the last 16 days.
The war has been seen to be one of wits and strategies and the winner is one who will pay more attention to consumers and their desires.
Day 1: The Cola War has been fought on price, volume, campaign activities, trade incentives, trade margins, distribution channels & other freebies. Each brand has a competitive advantage. Prior to the introduction of Big Cola in 2015, the war had been between Coca-cola & Pepsi.
Day 2: Bigi Cola joined the Cola War in 2016. They fought with more volume at a lower price. That was at a time Nigeria was entering her first recession in 25 years hence the declining purchasing power coupled with rising in inflation gave them an edge. Coca-cola and Pepsi reacted.
Day 3: RC Cola joined the Cola War in 2018 however the big brands didn’t relent in their aggressive campaigns to ensure their products stayed on top of the minds of consumers. This has helped their brands position themselves among consumers. Many still regard Coke & Pepsi.
Day 4: To win the Cola War you must defend your stronghold and that is by discovering your area of strength and deploying all available resources towards it. Never allow any competitor to find a way into where you are strong. If the distribution is your area of strength, defend it.
Day 5: You can win the Cola War by signing exclusivity deals with distributors. The big brands have an edge here and this will create a barrier for the new entrants to enter the trade. However, new entrants faced with this challenge may have to develop their own network in trade.
Day 6: The new entrants will have to embark on retail sales but it will cost more money and it is time-consuming. Retail sales are more effective as it is a pull strategy rather than a push strategy through distributors. This strategy will cause a demand for your products.
Day 7: Another strategy that can be used to win the Cola War is exclusivity in outlets and channels. This could be hotels or restaurants. You will ensure an agreement where your products are going to be the only ones sold in that outlet. This may require special incentives.
Day 8: Social media engagement is crucial for victory in any marketing war in this age and time. Consumers spend more time on phones than any other gadget. You must ensure you meet them there and interact. Engaging in social media allows for feedback from consumers.
Day 9: Winning the Cola War requires you to respond promptly to changes in market dynamics. Things change very fast these days and you must not be slack in responding to changes in the economy or from competitors. Survival in marketing requires the fluidity of actions.
Day 10: Victory over competition requires management of your corporate reputation. The Bigi Cola illustration was given where a negative social media campaign against them was not promptly responded to which is a mistake any brand must not make. Guard your reputation.
Day 11: In the battle for dominance in the Cola War, you must ensure you develop new products in response to changes in consumer behaviour. Consumers like new things & you must be ready to satisfy them. Consumers may get bored with the same kind of offerings. Develop new products.
Day 12: Every organization or brand must avoid the plague of corporate arrogance. It has destroyed many brands. It is a plague common with big brands who have succeeded. It expresses itself in political intrigues, bureaucracy and poor listening ability. Avoid conceit!
Day 13: What happened to Kodak, Nokia & BlackBerry? They were victims of corporate arrogance. Any of the fighters in the Cola War can be a victim of corporate arrogance. Don’t ignore feedbacks & be sensitive to changes in the marketing environment. Act with speed when necessary.
Day 14: Identify your most profitable segment of the market and tailor your strategies, adverts and promotions towards this segment. In the Cola War, the youth segment is very important and brand managers must concentrate their efforts on the teeming youth population.
Day 15: Smaller brands can take advantage of geographical segmentation to concentrate their efforts and resources and deal more effectively with the competition. Smaller brands can also consider contract manufacturing as a way to reduce production costs and save time.
Day 16: People are the face of your organisation. The quality of people and customer service determines the success of the business. To win the Cola War, you need highly trained and professional sales and customer service, teams. Value your people and train them!
For more insightful conversations, follow Oluwole Dada on Twitter @oluwole_dada