3 Marketing Lessons from Coca-Cola’s 60-Year Relaunch in Myanmar

You haven’t sold your product in sixty years.  What to do?

Photo: The Coca-Cola Company.

Coca-Cola Truck in Myanmar. Photo: The Coca-Cola Company.

That’s the challenge the Coca-Cola team faced in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) after sanctions were eased last year, enabling the iconic beverage’s return.  A bottling facility opened this month.

There are many layers to this story (Geo-politics, capitalism, global business, etc.), but it’s the marketing story that really jumped out to me.

So, here are my 3 Refreshing Insights gleaned from Coca-Cola’s head of marketing in the region, Mr. Shakir Moin.  They’re easy to apply.

1.  Don’t Dismiss Back to the Future

There’s a wonderful saying that goes something like this:  “If you don’t know where you’ve been, you won’t know where you’re going.”  Too many marketers ignore the brand-building, revenue-generating success of their predecessors.  Don’t!  You might learn something important.

Mr. Moin did.  He went to the Coca-Cola archives.

“He was looking at how the company marketed its product before the internet, before TV, even before radio. Eventually he found his perfect model for Myanmar, [a] place where nobody knew anything about Coke — Atlanta, 1886.”  (Source:  How To Sell Coke To People Who Have Never Had A Sip)

Make time to find and peruse some of your company/brand history, preferably at the beginning of your assignment.  You’ll be better informed and better prepared to tackle your challenges. Continue reading