Laerte Codonho Routinely Takes On Powerful Competitors and Wins

One might be tempted to say that the soft drink wars in Brazil are heating up, but then again, this is an industry that has been volatile since its early origins in 1904. The battles for market share against competing brands have always been rough and tumble affairs this South American nation of 209 million people.


Today there are nearly 200 soda companies in Brazil. They’re all fighting hard for market share. The big players still dominate. The largest elephant in the room has long been Coca-Cola, the international behemoth and the king of the soft drink world. Coca-Cola commands a 55% share of the Brazilian soft drink market. Second is AmBev with a 19% share. The third-largest is Brasil Kirin with 5% (Istoedinheiro).


But many smaller, Brazilian born brands have been rising in recent decades, much to the dismay of giants like Coke, Pepsi and AmBev.


One of the most innovative and aggressive upstarts is Dolly, the soda brand created by Laerte Codonho and launched in 1987. Dolly was originally expected to remain a local or regional brand, but industry observers have been surprised at the rapid growth of this home-grown brand. Dolly soon expanded its reach to go from regional to national competitor.


The success of Dolly can be attributed to the marketing wizardry of Laerte Codonho. His knack for making advertising appeals that resonate and drive interest in his line provides a master class on how to launch a successful start-up in a realm where the competition is overwhelming.


As Laerte Codonho´s  company began to grow and gobble up market share, his powerful competitors reacted by employing every tactic they could think of – legal or illegal – to stop the rise in popularity of Dolly. He has been accused falsely of everything from tax evasion to clearing forested areas to set up his manufacturing facilities.


Laerte Codonho has fought back in the courts and the forums of public opinion. Time and again, he has won those battles against enormous odds. While handling these conflicts, Codonho has always found ways to innovate. For example, he was the first to sell diet soda in Brazil.

Click here to follow up on Codonho´s newest soft drink products.

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