Brands must drop hierarchical structure to reap real-time marketing opportunities, says Coca-Cola marketing chief Wendy Clark

By Jessica Davies | News Editor

June 17, 2014 | 2 min read

Brands must rid themselves of their traditional hierarchical structures if they are to successfully reap real-time, contextual marketing opportunities, according to Coca-Colas president, sparkling and strategic marketing, North America Wendy Clark.

Speaking at Cannes Lions festival in Cannes Clark stressed how critical it is for brands to transform their structures to ensure they can react fast enough to real-time, contextual opportunities.

“You can no longer have a hierarchal organisation as you will miss the context and real time opportunities. We at Coca-Cola are pushing empowerment down through the company.”

She called for brands to radically change their approach to marketing, adding that Coca-Cola is also investigating new ways of making content, a lot of which it incorporated into its Worlds Cup campaign activity.

However, she urged brands to be “cautious” when it comes to creating content, ensuing quality is not compromised for speed.

“In this world speed trumps perfection…In our haste to have contextual relevance we must be careful not to just put out more content. That is not the answer. The goal is more good content.

“The world is not lacking in the amount of content. There are even people out there saying now that real time is destroying content. We must hold ourselves to that and ensure that in our quest for contextual relevance we only publish great content…the world doesn’t need more content, it needs more good content,” she said.

Although the drinks giant has been actively exploring real-time content marketing creation and co-creation opportunities for the last several years, Clark admitted it still has a way to go before it can capitalise on its full potential, and experimentation must continue to have a key role in testing new methods of communications.

“It is a journey and we are not quite there yet, but we want to be aiming to operate to things in real time, every day,” she added.

Last week the FMCG giant unveiled its happiness flag, featuring over 200,000 images, in the latest stage of its overall Worlds Cup campaign.

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Coca Cola

Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.

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