Kristina Kaneva, Brand Manager at Coca Cola

Kristina Kaneva may well be the reason why every day Bulgaria drinks more than 2 million liters of the world’s most popular bubble drink. She is the brand manager at Coca Cola for Bulgaria and Macedonia. Kristina is a successful professional, and a happy mother and wife. Nevertheless, food and beverage stores need to be on the alert: she always keeps an eye on where they place the Cola for sale.

Kristina’s career starts in another very well known global company – Procter and Gamble. Upon graduation from AUBG in 2001, she becomes assistant brand manager there. “When I started working for P&G, I noticed that I adapted to the job and to my obligations a lot faster than those who had come out of other universities in Bulgaria,” Kristina says. “AUBG gives us practical direction as to what we should be doing. That’s why at the beginning I quickly did the required analyses and didn’t waste my time in wonder.”

In Coca Cola she starts working directly at the brand managerial position. Kristina is responsible for the Coca Cola and Coca Cola Light portfolios in both Bulgaria and Macedonia. Marketing plans, promotions, pricing, and placement of the product represent a small fraction of her tasks.

The AUBG graduate says she loves her job. “You learn from the best! Coca Cola has the best marketing in the world. Working for the company brings me great joy and satisfaction. When you travel around the world, you exchange ideas and valuable experience; you widen your horizons! But of course, this is only the easy, the bright side of the job,” Kristina says. “The tough part comes when you have to make the global brand reflective of the local situation; when you have to make the product appeal to the local public. It is much easier to introduce and develop an unknown brand, than having to take a product, produced in the U.S., which was originally made in another culture, and to make it suitable for the Bulgarian market.”    

Now that Kristina is a professional with substantial background in the marketing field, she looks back on AUBG and realizes that it gave her practical skills which helped her in the business world. “The daily communication with people from different cultures and the challenge to accept them during your years at AUBG gives you a broader perspective. So when you start working at a multinational company, and when you have to connect to people from other countries and cultures, you will do it very easily,” Kristina says. “When I have to brand Coca Cola to Macedonia, I think from a Macedonian perspective, not from Bulgarian. This is very useful and one can only learn it through communicating,” she adds. “To my life I always apply a rule that Jill Rasmusen [former AUBG Dean of Students] had. That is, to always have fun, and to do whatever makes you happy. My friends and I have embraced her attitude and we try to apply it to everything we do.”

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