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Coke marketer: ‘We don’t see a world where we will continue as a traditional advertiser’

“This is a world which is somewhat unknown to us,” said David Godsman, the chief digital officer of The Coca-Cola Company, at the 2018 Adobe Digital Marketing summit.

While the 130 year old brand has advantage of scale, connecting with over 1.3 billion consumers, across over 200 markets and having engagement with over 18% of humanity daily, personalising to such a huge audience is no doubt a challenge. Godsman explains that each of its consumers have different behaviours and engage with the brand through a myriad of channels from point of sale, to AR and VR, social and mobile and now voice. Voice, he added, is a particularly “strange element” for the brand as it “removes branding, packaging and point of sales capabilities.”

Nonetheless, despite its challenges, digital has enabled the brand to create unified experiences for Coca-Cola’s consumers regardless of language and geography. It has also enabled consumers to participate actively and co-create with the brand and even decide, what goes to market. Its consumers are its creators and its experience makers.

“We are a company in transformation […] In the end we see the future as a company that is a co-creating with consumers,” he said, adding:

We don’t see a world where we will continue as a traditional advertiser.

 The Coca-Cola Company’s digital journey

Godsman added that the company embarked on a digital transformation journey approximately 12 months ago to transform its traditional brick and mortar to become a digital first business in five years. It identified four specific areas to work on:

  • Experience: How the brand creates more relevant personalised experiences for consumers.
  • Operational: The betterment of its processes using data technology to accelerate and improve processes and ultimately remove barriers.
  • Business: Disrupting itself before someone else does it.
  • Culture: Changing the fabric of company around for 130 years.

According to Godsman, of the four, culture is the hardest area of change. “We are asking traditional brand marketers who are brilliant at creating brands and executing campaigns to become experience makers and think about the world differently,” he said.

At the end of the day however, to stay afloat, this change is necessary.

“We know that if we go hand in hand with our consumer, ultimately, we will win their hearts and minds and continue to earn the right to be part of their everyday lives. And hopefully, if successful, we will help them lead more fulfilling lives,” he said.

Adobe paid for the journalist’s trip to Adobe Summit 2018, held in Las Vegas.

 
Rezwana Manjur
Southeast Asia Editor
Marketing Magazine Singapore
Rezwana Manjur, a true blue city girl and complete social animal, spends half her time sifting through advertising scandals, and the other half testing out brands' retail marketing strategies at the mall. She enjoys traveling and fantasising over the charming lads on hit TV show Mad Men. Most weekends, she turns nocturnal, except when brunch comes into play.

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