High reputation survives turmoil
CASE STUDY COCA-COLA
A botched management reshuffle, faltering financial performance, public health concerns – it has been a rough year for Coca-Cola.
Yet, in spite of its many problems, the world's biggest drinks-maker has climbed to number five in the Financial Times' ranking of most globally respected companies.
Clyde Tuggle, senior vice-president for public affairs, says Coca-Cola's reputation has survived because of good will the company has earned around the world.
Coca-Cola is involved in hundreds of what it calls 'citizenship initiatives'. However, Coca-Cola faces several ongoing challenges that will test the depth of its brand equity over coming months.
Most serious is the allegation that by encouraging people to drink sugary drinks, Coca-Cola is 'partly responsible' for the obesity epidemic sweeping North America. Coca-Cola's most important response was to acknowledge the problem. Coca-Cola has helped build school athletics tracks and sponsored several initiatives designed to encourage exercise among young people.
Another risk to Coca-Cola is rising anti-American sentiment. Mr Tuggle rejects this argument. 'We're a global company, so people don't see us as exclusively American.'
Coca-Cola has forged good relations with many non-governmental organizations. 'By listening to people, we have an opportunity to make our company better,' he says.
How would you qualify Coca-Cola as a learning organization?
What actions does Coca-Cola take to be in the top five of the world's most respected companies?
Does Coca-Cola score highly on the 'think globally, act locally' criteria? What arguments do you base your judgments on?