Sanjiv Gupta, President and CEO of Coca Cola in India, is facing a crisis concerning pesticide levels in coke in the country of India. The Center for Science and Environment (CSE), an activist group in India focused on environmental sustainability issues issued a press release stating: "12 major cold drink brands sold in and around Delhi contain a deadly cocktail of pesticide residues" (Argenti, p. 284). Recommendations for Coke’s communications strategies include accepting and adhering to higher standards of social responsibility in India and forming an alliance with the government to set these higher safer standards.
Coca Cola should choose to emerge and set itself apart from its biggest competitor, Pepsi, by accepting a more socially responsible. In order to accomplish this, Coke can align itself with the CSE goals for an environmentally safe and industrialized India. Coke should recognize the enormous reputational benefits that could come from such a partnership in correcting the pollution problem in India. Taking on social responsibilities has a number of positive outcomes for corporate leaders.
Once the world community learns of Coke’s environmentally responsible goal in India, the company will project a positive interest in India and to the rest of the world (Argenti, p. 65 ). The people of India have shown that they want a company that is concerned about their health, welfare, and environment as “sales down over 30-40%1 in only two weeks on the heels of a 75% five-year growth trajectory and 25-30%2 year-to-date growth” (Argenti, p. 285 ) A positive reputation can help companies weather crises more effective (Argenti, p. 91) The next step would be for Coke to enhance its relationship with the government.
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Companies have begun to realize that instead of fighting regulation, it should advocate its position to political decision makers (Argenti, p. 238). Businesses use a number of tactics to further the position of their business with the influential group of economic decision makers (Adams & Brock, 1986). With the influence in the government, Coke can be involved with the developing of the new standards the government has demanded. Strong government relations are important in India (in any country) and will provide an opportunity to communicate all the benefits and investments Coke has provided to the economy in India including almost 7000 jobs.
By working with the government to set standards and clean up pollution, Coke will have influence of the government. Influence over the government has proven to be a benefit for business (Irin, 2010). When business has an “influence in government, unless you’re right there to limit it, it can intrude in just about any industry," In conclusion, leaders of successful organizations with a consistent in their message and image has ensured everyone involved of an initiative or change, what it is intended to achieve, as well as the route that will be taken is going to continue to be successful (Clutterbuck 2001).
A company with an international image and reputation is going to weather this crisis. They can also take a socially responsible approach, and lead change in India. This will distinguish the corporation from its competitors, and as Proverbs tells us, “defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9). A constituent is someone who is on the receiving end of a message, in the words of Aristotle “person ... to whom the end or object of the speech refers” (1975). The key constituents are those that are receiving the message of the communication.
In this case, the constituency would be the government of India and the Coke-drinking public, particularly those in India. The message will be sent out all over the world that Coca Cola aided in the environment of India. With use of the internet, messages of companies reach the far corners of the world within a matter of minutes (Argenti, p. 172). Biblical Integration: God wants us to help our fellow brother, not to ignore them. The Bible tells us “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. " Psalm 82:3-4
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