Coca-Cola has been one of the most recognizable brands in America for over a century, but the company’s new leadership is concerned that its success can’t last forever. New CEO James Quincey recently sat down for an interview with CNN Money in which he argued that Coke has “got to experiment” to stay relevant in the 21st century.
Quincey, who took over last May after the departure of Muhtar Kent, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that Coca-Cola may need to branch out soon and look at other food and beverage products in addition to its iconic soda.
“What’s got us to 130 years of success is not going to take us on the next 130 years,” he said. “We’ve got to try things. Not all of them will work. We don’t need to get too upset when we have failures. We need to learn, move on, and reinvent.”
Quincey emphasized that the as the world economy develops and the marketplace grows more competitive, the company will need to diversify. Coke’s competitors are already doing so. Dr. Pepper/Snapple, for instance, recently sold to the coffee titan Keurig Green Mountain in a major merger that’s taken the beverage industry by storm. Dr. Pepper/Snapple also previously acquired Bai Brands for $1.7 billion.
Slowly, the Coca-Cola company has taken steps to move beyond just selling sodas. Its Dasani brand has been doing well in the bottled water market, and Coke also recently bought sparkling water maker Topo Chico in an effort to compete with the current industry leader, LaCroix.
Having said that, Coke is not dropping out of the soda business just yet. Quincey also said he was excited about the company’s new flavors of Diet Coke, such as Zesty Blood Orange, and is eager to unveil a new edition of Coke Zero, rebranded “Coke Zero Sugar.”
“I don’t think there’ll be a day without Coke,” Quincey said. “The world would be a smaller and somewhat sadder place if there were no Cokes.”
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