Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

What do you do when your core product starts looking a little old?

And what do you do when your old core product starts to be the subject of public scrutiny for its slightly less than healthy aspects?

Well, if you're Coca-Cola you diversify with deep frenzy until you find new ideas that somehow stimulate the market.

Earlier this year, I wrote about how the company had released its first variant of its iconic drink for 10 years. It was an Orange Vanilla variant and whispers suggest it's doing quite well.

In more distant parts, Coca-Cola was testing other things.

And, on a Tuesday earnings call, it announced an acceleration that might quicken some pulses. And hearts.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Atlanta's finest is leaping to 25 countries to launch, gasp, a coffee-infused Coke, imaginatively named Coke Coffee.

You think Coke already had enough caffeine? Well, I imagine this might feel like drinking a can of Coke laced with a small dose of 5-Hour Energy.

It seems some people feel the need for a boost in the early afternoon. 

Please imagine, though, that this heightened market movement -- it doesn't currently include the U.S -- might grab the attention of a more unfamiliar competitor to Coke. 

Now along comes Coca-Cola to offer alternative boosting methods.

How might this affect the coffee chain's strategy and blood pressure?

Coca-Cola's rush of blood to its portfolio doesn't end with Coke Coffee, however.

The company has chosen Europe to test an energy drink, imaginatively named Coke Energy.

I don't deduce the suggestion that Europeans may have lost their dynamism. At least, I don't want to.

Still, one can't help concluding that Coca-Cola is desperate to get humans going a little more speedily. 

Some might, however, see a small problem.

It's completely understandable that Coca-Cola would want to create differentiated offerings for a different world.

How much, though, might these new drinks cannibalize Coke's familiar core? It seems Coca-Cola is preparing to find out.

Diversification can be a dangerous direction.

It's easier for a large company like Coca-Cola because it has many resources it can dedicate to the cause.

For smaller businesses, it's so easy for leaders and employees to find the new variants more exciting and neglect the core product that got you there.

In Coca-Cola's case, there's a clear strategic decision that core product simply isn't the power it was. So it's the product portfolio that needs a boost.

Imagine, though, the question customers might soon be asking themselves: "Hmm, do I need a large caffeine boost, an extra-large caffeine boost or is trying to decide just tiring me out?"

Published on: Apr 24, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.