Coca-Cola Introduces Itself to Myanmar

Re-enters Market After 60 Years Away

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Coca-Cola tries to push boundaries with its marketing. But as it re-entered Myanmar after 60 years away, it delved into its historical records for ideas on the art of introducing Coke to consumers.

Coke was one of the first multinational marketers to go into Myanmar after sanctions were eased. It officially came back in September 2012, leaving only two countries in the world in which it does not do business: North Korea and Cuba.

Seeking inspiration for a marketing strategy, Shakir Moin, marketing director for Coca-Cola in Myanmar and 10 other Southeast Asian markets, sifted through Coca-Cola's archives in Atlanta to research how the cola was introduced to U.S. customers in 1886. "[We realized] the importance of sampling, of clear messaging. Over the years, marketers have tried to make things complicated. I think we're also guilty of that."

In Myanmar, brand messaging is centered on "delicious and refreshing." That uncomplicated proposition won out over other possibilities such as friendship, sharing a Coke and Coke's global "Open Happiness" platform.

The experience inspired the presentation "How Myanmar Re-Taught Me Marketing," which Mr. Moin has delivered to Coke senior marketing executives. "A totally new market made me appreciate the beauty of keeping things simple and making the simple things matter to our consumers," he said.

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