Coca-Cola Japan: Localisation Case Study


In a market brimming with products and media, Japanese consumers deliberately seek out products that are new , improved and have undergone severe changes. The beverages that have made an impact on the consumers, whether in flavour, health benefits, or even the way it’s advertised further entices the public. Japan has been one of Coca-Cola’s fastest-moving and inventive markets for a long time. Coca-Cola released about 100 new products into the Japanese market last year alone. While some are newcomers, others are fresh flavours and variations of popular favourites, essentially Revisiting Past Memories.

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source: wikimedia


Coca-Cola has applied its Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) philosophy to product marketing in Japan, Coca-Cola’s most profitable market internationally, according to a senior marketer at the company. The brand’s marketing team uses ‘four buckets’ for media investment under its IMC strategy. This includes paid media (a billboard or TVC), owned mediashared media (which broadcasts any activity under a brand partnership), and earned media.

“At the cornerstone of everything is the media, the consumer, and then how they interact with any form of medium,”
-Khalil Younes, Executive VP of Marketing & New Businesses, Coca-Cola Japan.

Alongside the four buckets are three “brand pillars” — brand contactbrand experience, and brand conversation. Marketing activity runs through these interlinked and interdependent three pillars. Brand experience can evolve into brand contact, further unfolding to be a brand conversation, proving, in turn, to be an experience for the people communicating. Correlating the content with the appropriate medium is “the yin and the yang of Coca-Cola communications”,Younes affirmed.


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Source: comunicaffe.com

Georgia Coffee, led by Coca-Cola, is the business unit’s second-fastest-growing category, trailing only bottled water. This boomed when speedy metropolitan reconstruction and enlargement of mass transportation in Tokyo collided with the advancement and trend of vending machine business in the 1960s and 1970s. While blue-collar workers travelled to the city early in the morning, instant coffee quite literally became a hot product. Consumers had the choice of ordering their coffee cold, but they could also get it piping hot, and the steel can could retain the warmth for hours. Following its launch in 1975, Georgia Coffee became the 10 a.m. drink, making the subtly sweetened coffee-milk combination the working force’s prototypical on-the-go beverage.


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Coca-Cola Japan’s health-centered beverages aren’t just for older consumers. Well-being appeals to young people just as much, even more so. A 2014 study named Tokyo the most sleep-deprived major city in the world. Only two years later, Coca-Cola Japan launched Glaceau sleep water, a flavoured, night time refreshment including theanine, an amino acid first detected in green tea that is considered to subdue anxiety and induce better sleep. In a country that is infamous for its long functioning hours and competitive spirit, commodities with sleep-inducing effects can prove to be an excellent support for hard-working professionals, and in turn, the brand.


In the third-largest economy globally (following U.S. and China), Coca-Cola is rivalling for the attention of beverage-lovers in Japan in virtually every category. It is well known that Japan is known for its futuristic mindset with rich cultural tradition with its Japanese style of innovation balancing it out. The country encourages forward-thinking companies and individuals to design new products with a keen sense of both thoroughness and urgency. In conclusion, an average Japanese consumer is very prompt to react to new emergings and to get on the trend bandwagon, and that is exactly what Coca-Cola leveraged!

By Geetanjali Mehta
Team Loc-N-Apps

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