Coca-Cola’s Competitive Innovation Strategies

Establishing competitive advantage requires an organization generating value-creating products, services, and processes that rivals will not match, while at the same time maintaining these operations (Hisrich & Kearney, 2014). The Coca-Cola Company has over time managed to sustain competitive edge over such rivals as PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper (Allen & Stillwell, 2016). The company’s leadership philosophy on innovation is that the latter is the only tool that can establish value and the factor that can lead to the realization of its mission. According to Allen and Stillwell (2016), Coca-Cola makes every employee feel like the one owns the firm. This way, the company can realize improved productivity through raising workers’ morale. However, this has been possible through innovative strategies and efficient management who lead the business in innovating new products and re-innovating old ones. Coca-Cola has successfully sustained competitive edge through a clearly defined philosophy on innovation. The current paper examines company’s processes and activities that have led to such success in a highly competitive industry.


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Coca-Cola Company’s Processes of Competitive Advantage through Innovation

Adapting to External Environmental Changes

Coca-Cola has been effective in adjusting to changes in the environment, particularly in the market structure and business operations. Additionally, the company has over time developed brands to suit changes in demand, such as the introduction of dietary Coke to address the needs of the group that dislikes sugar. Its corporate social responsibility is based on engaging in activities that promote the wellbeing of communities (Allen & Stillwell, 2016).

Being Consumer-Driven and Focused

It is evident that the company is more consumer-driven since its products are present in over 200 locations and spread across 6 regions. According to the Coca-Cola Company (2015), more than 90% of the global population has at least heard about its drinks or the company at some point in their lives. Additionally, the business has ventured in more than four hundred brands, all aimed at achieving customer satisfaction and addressing the existing and emerging customer needs, such as healthy drinks (Allen & Stillwell, 2016).

Using Flexible Strategies to Address Customer Needs

The company operates under flexible guidelines that enable it to adapt to the market structure and customer requirements dynamically. For example, it managed to retreat and halt its activities, addressing widespread criticism that arose in India due to the water conflict with the natives (Allen & Stillwell, 2016). In this case, the company sought other mechanisms of obtaining water without depleting the available resources. At the same time, it increased its corporate social responsibility to serve the region with more amenities, such as schools, in order to restore its image among the Indians and at the global level. According to Hisrich and Kearney (2014), a highly competitive company is the one that exercises flexibility in its strategies, all aimed at addressing issues arising from customers or potential buyers in a move to confront the threat of losing the market share. Coca-Cola has used this strategy effectively to sustain competitive advantage.

Swiftly Responding to Environmental Changes by Taking Advantage of Emerging Opportunities

In light of the demand increase for mineral and bottled water in the late 1990s, Coca-Cola acted swiftly in introducing Dasani (Allen & Stillwell, 2016). This move has further raised the company’s market share while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction, particularly among loyal buyers, which have always believed in the quality of brands offered by the company. Hisrich and Kearney (2014) insist that a competitive company should seize such an opportunity before its rivals are aware of its presence. Furthermore, Coca-Cola takes advantage of upcoming occasions, including globally anticipated games, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. The company stands as one of the main event sponsors and gets an opportunity to advertise itself at global avenues due to the coverage that they provide (Allen & Stillwell, 2016). Surprisingly, none of its close competitors has been able to reach such milestones.

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Proactively Meeting and Exceeding Customer Needs in Light of Existing Competition

According to Hisrich and Kearney (2014), a competitive company should proactively meet and exceed customer needs despite the level of competition. Even in areas where such firms as PepsiCo create stiff competition, Coca-Cola can maneuver and deliver products and services, exceeding the demand of its clients. An intensive supply chain and logistics applied by the company help it in gaining global coverage, even in the most remote places and harsh conditions (Hays, 2014). The management believes in the spirit of making revenue seizing every available opportunity. It has enabled the company to create subsidiaries and establish conglomerates globally, as well as to generate huge profits. Unlike its competitors who confine their business to locations where they are favored and possess a large clientele, Coca-Cola makes sufficient delivery to its demanding customers while venturing in every possible place in search of new buyers.

Actively Engaging in Research and Development (R&D) to Prioritize on New Products Development

R&D is highly prioritized and aims at boosting the market, services, and products in a move to enhance customer satisfaction. According to Hisrich and Kearney (2014), such a strategy is necessary to ensure that Coca-Cola is always ahead of its competitors in service delivery, market coverage, product development, and in general operations. Company’s products regularly receive improvements in line with new discoveries, events, and user satisfaction levels. It has been the case in regular changes experienced in the branding of goods in line with upcoming events and occasions at different regions across the globe. On the same note, packaging has been revamped multiple times since the establishment of the company to ensure that it looks trendy and creates the sense of uniqueness (Hays, 2014). Extensive research has enabled Coca-Cola to develop dietary Coke and bottled water, which are uniquely packed. (Hays, 2014)


Coca-Cola Company has constantly maintained the lead as the main manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages. Unlike its competitors, it is evident that the company effectively applies processes of competitive advantage through innovation outlined by Hisrich and Kearney (2014). In this regard, it has been evaluated that the business puts strong focus on customers and client-oriented strategies backed by concrete research and design that always ensure that clients’ needs are met. It has enabled the company to sustain competitive advantage by ensuring that it is always ahead of the closest rivals.

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