Coca-Cola, GSK Invest In India’s Bottom-Of-Pyramid Consumers


Before the recession went global, all the buzz regarding the future of branding centered on emerging markets. China has 1.3 billion people. India has 1.1 billion. Other nations such as Brazil and Russia offered the dazzling prospect of billions in revenue for savvy brands.

Today, nothing has changed. Just ask Coca-Cola, and food/pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Coca-Cola is successful for many reasons, but one of them is the Atlanta-based megabrand’s ability to identify untapped marketplaces and win over consumers not only by aggressively pursuing them, but also by wanting to know them. Now, Coke is reaching out to bottom-of-pyramid (BOP) consumers in India with Vitingo, a new drink aimed at low-income consumers.[more]

Yet Coke isn’t alone in India, and for good reason. Statistics show that 40 million Indian families are moving from outright poverty to the BOP demographic every year. Remember, that’s not 40 million people, that is 40 million families. Each year. Both Coca-Cola and GSK know there is no greater brand advocate than a family member.

In fact, GSK is launching its own milk-based drink, Asha, in India that is designed to appeal to the BOP demographic. Like Coke, GSK is doing more than offering a product. It is selling the product to a specific group of consumers that the brand values and is actively targeting. Says Zubair Ahmed, managing director at GSK:

“We are building a robust go-to-market model to ensure the products reach the right consumers because it’s not enough just to have the right products.”

Other familiar brands investing in India’s BOP market are Nestlé, Pepsi, and Hindustan Unilever.

Though current economic struggles have most brands worried about day-to-day operations and the near future, the successful brands of tomorrow are already courting consumers and demographics that will inhabit important revenue streams in the years to come.

Currently 30 million people, one in three of India’s population, constitutes the BOP marketplace.