Coca-Cola is distinctively positioned to stay ahead of competition – Gbolahan Sanni

Coca-Cola Nigeria is an equitable and resilient brand whose futuristic goal-oriented initiatives have set it from other competitive brands.

Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria made this assertion during an interview with ‘ MARKETING EDGE on TV’, stating that “we build the business sustainably and think about the future as well. Also, this is about the things that is going to affect us in the future and make sure our brands play a role in making sure that those things are right”.

The new marketing director who stated that the vision of the company is to refresh the world and make a difference, noted that Coca-Cola as a brand that has existed globally for a hundred and thirty five years has been at the forefront of unifying divergent views and positions as it’s driven by the purpose of bridging the divide that exists in the society.

Emphasising the deep market penetration of the brand, he affirmed that “this year will make it 70 years that Coca-Cola has been in Nigeria and we are very comfortable with our position. We have led for 70 years and will continue to lead – competition will always come. Sometimes competition comes and sometimes it goes. For us really, it is the resilience of our brands, the strength of our sales force. We have the strongest sales force in the country. I would say at Nigerian bottling company, they are warriors and they go out there to fight bottle by bottle, space by space”.

Mr. Sanni added that Coca-Cola Nigeria’s agenda aims to bring people together by building memory structures with the brand: “When you think about Coca-Cola, you think about colour red, you think about football, you think about music, you think about Christmas, you think about happiness. We have built memory structures with the brand over the last 135 years and these memory structures will continue to exist and will continue to build new memory structures into the digital age”.

Speaking about how the Coca-Cola brand has been able to maintain its position as a leading brand in the FMCG segment amidst intense competition, Mr. Sanni affirmed the company’s readiness to continue to utilise the strategy that is unique to the brand which has enabled it maintain a high equity status over the years.

In his words: “First of all, simplicity is key. So we have to simplify. We work with global brands, the idea is not to reinvent the wheel on those brands. It is to take what exists about those brands. People know Coca-Cola already – awareness is not a challenge. So we take those global brands in and then simplify as much as possible and execute.”

He added: “We know where the future is going. We know smartphone penetration, mobile phone penetration in Nigeria is critical for us and therefore things like making sure that our brand are first on digital, things like making sure that we drive conversation along the journey – not just awareness but we making sure that people actually buy the product. Those are critical elements of making sure that we are available and people are able to buy us everywhere.”

While commenting on the growth of FMCG segment, he urged the players to be nimble and innovative in other to overcome the daunting challenges that will accompany change in consumer behaviour, a volatile marketplace and the arrival of competition.

He identified the use of artificial intelligence, voice recognition and e-commerce as the go to way for companies to remain relevant even in the future.


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