Jelena Trninić, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, The Coca-cola Company Serbia

Doing Business the Right Way

For a company that was created over 130 years ago and that has more than 500 brands and nearly 4,000 unique products globally, the key to success is in the synergy of the exciting beverages it produces and their unique story

Thanks to our discipline in building brands that people love, combined with an innovative advertising approach, the red and white logo is recognised by as much as 94 per cent of the planet’s people.

“Coke” is the world’s best-sold product and brand name. Today, after so many years, would you be able to retain this position without any marketing investments? Is that possible?

– Marketing is today one of our main tools and it is a common fact that it is not possible to do business without marketing. However, it cannot take all the credit for the success of a company or brand.

The creation of Coke was inspiring, and each phase in the history of the brand has brought something different and more interesting. Whether it comes to Coke as an inspiration to Andy Warhol, the iconic Contour glass bottle, Santa Claus, or Coca-Cola as the first sponsor of the Olympic Games, we are aware of the fact that Coke is a symbol of pop culture.

People have always believed our story, primarily because we have never lost focus – on our consumers. We have always listened carefully to their wishes and changed in accordance with their habits and lifestyles so that we can offer beverages they like at any given moment. People today love Fuzetea, Smartwater or Adez because we have built the strongest brand loyalty and brand awareness.

Our role is to see how to provide the best support and communicate our message properly, which is line with the idea of doing business in the right way, not just the easy way

Serious companies leave nothing to chance when it comes to their communications strategy. Is the key message you communicate adjusted to different markets or can it be universal?

– We are aware that we must respond to evolving expectations through our business decisions while talking about our strategy and progress using simple, everyday language that resonates with people everywhere. We do this continuously on the Serbian market and all others where we operate, and one of the examples is how we apply our global strategy in Serbia to support professional youth development. We have had to take into consideration local circumstances, such as high unemployment, the needs of youth and the situation on the labour market, and have designed the #Budućnostza5 programme for pupils and students, providing them with the kind of knowledge and guidance they need.

It is therefore of vital importance for the communications sector to be at the source of developments and changes happening across the globe, and for us to integrate that precious knowledge into our business operations and the beverages that people like.

You have for decades set the benchmark in the area of communication, to the satisfaction of all consumers. Has the time come to adjust to their wishes and expectations?

– When Coca-Cola was created over 130 years ago, everything was different. As the world changes, we know that people expect more from companies. Profitability is important, but not at any cost. People are important. Our planet is important. That is why we’ve announced a goal of collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle or can we sell globally by 2030. It is for the same reason that we are reducing our water consumption, restoring the Upper Danube and reducing our environmental footprint. We support communities because we want to leave this world a better place. We have been working like that from 1968 when the first Coke was produced in Serbia, and we plan to be even better in the decades ahead.