Red Letters

Coke is everywhere. In all my travels throughout the world, I can tell you that a Coke product is easy to find.

Recently at the TEDxChange event, Melinda Gates made this same observation, and offered three areas where international development professionals can learn from the global distribution and sales strategy of Coke.

Calling herself an “impatient optimist,” Gates writes, “My TEDxChange talk focuses on the question of how Coca-Cola has become so ubiquitous around the world and what governments and the development community can learn from the company’s success. By analyzing what Coca-Cola has done to become so prevalent, we can apply those lessons to the millennium goals and save even more lives.” [Full Article at]

Her talk is about 15 minutes, and I think she offers some interesting stories and conclusions based on her experiences funding large-scale projects throughout the developing world.

I want to note that I don’t necessarily agree with everything Mrs. Gates says in her talk, but she offers insightful analysis of a complicated problem.

The idea that nonprofits and governments should adopt and deploy business strategies (like Gates encourages with her Coke example), is not new at all.

An equally thought-provoking question is, with all the data, why isn’t this happening more regularly? When the human impact and return on investment is so obviously high, why wouldn’t NGO’s and governments rush to employ these same strategies?

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