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Coca-Cola takes plunge into local language branding


Kolkata:  Aiming to double its sales in the next five years, Coca-Cola India has initiated a strategy to take its brands to people in semi-urban and rural markets in local languages for better penetration and began the journey with Bengali.

Bengali is the pilot project before the beverage MNC decides to foray into other local languages of the country including Hindi, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

Coca-Cola in Bangladesh uses Bengali language in branding its products and seems to have replicated that in at least some of its products in this side of the border.

"West Bengal has an independent supply chain of all products and the state is a key growth market for the company.

This has encouraged us to pilot this hyper-local strategy from here," Coca-Cola India and South West Asia president T Krishnakumar said.

In 2021, the company may take this hyper-local strategy with more languages including Hindi, he said.

"We have been growing in India and continue to remain bullish about growth here as a market as it offers both horizontal and vertical growth," Krishnakumar said amid the threats of novel coronavirus and FMCG slowdown.

The company has expanded its reach in 2 million additional outlets in the last two years.

He said the company has segregated the market into three broad categories - rich, mid-segment and aspirational - and the company will cater to the entire spectrum.

"We are strong in the mid segment and will require to put more efforts in the other two segments," Krishnakumar said when asked about expanding products portfolio.

He rubbished the claim that carbonated drinks are shrinking in India, saying it is growing in double-digit, along with other categories such as fruit based drinks.

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