Beating the real thing: Coca-Cola on its four point digital transformation plan

Mariano Bosaz, VP, digital transformation, Greater China and Korea at The Coca-Cola Company

Coca-Cola is on a digital transformation journey, making sure it is a brand that is relevant for a generation that doesn’t see a line between “the online world and the offline, the reality and the augmented reality.”

Speaking at the Adobe Symposium in Singapore this week, Mariano Bosaz, vice president of digital transformation, Greater China and Korea at The Coca-Cola Company, played on the brand’s tagline ‘It’s the real thing’ to explain how it was aiming to ‘beat’ the real thing by adding in augmented reality.

He said, digital transformation “enables us to extend the experience that goes the product, we can beat the real thing using augmented reality”. He said this is now possible because “people are open to share data in exchange for better experiences”.

Experience transformation

He added: “Our digital transformation has focused on four areas. The first area and the most relevant for today is our experiences, how do we enhance our customer experiences when they touch our product and our brands? How do we provide better experiences to the customers that sell our products?.

Operational transformation

“The second part is around operational transformation and is about how to leverage data and technology and how to improve internal processes to enhance our speed to market.”

Business transformation

“The third area is around business transformation and how we disrupt ourselves before others disrupt us.”

Cultural transformation

“And finally, our cultural transformation and this is one that is the hardest for any company to do, we are asking our teams and experts to touch people’s hearts and love our brands. We are thinking about human behaviour in a different way and going beyond the storytelling, beyond the 30 second or three second media, to provide services to engage with them in a personal way,” he said.

As an example of these elements in action, he talked about Coca-Cola’s fast turnaround of its content around the Trump Kim summit in Singapore earlier this year. “Today we are using our labels to transmit culturally relevant messages, to make them more personalised,” he said.

The cans had the English and North Korean word for Coca-Cola on them and spun Coca-Cola’s long-standing messaging of bringing people together via its ‘buy the world a coke’ song.

But the future, he said, is about going beyond the product and the can. Or, bringing it back to the Coca-Cola reference, beyond ‘the real thing’. Digital can “enable us to extend the experience that goes beyond the product, we can beat the real thing using augmented reality,” he said.

As an example of this, he discussed work in China that took its personalised can concept and added a layer of augmented reality. Each can represented a province of China and, once activated via one of the major Chinese internet services (Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent (via WeChat) the stories of those areas came to life.

Coca-Cola’s next major event for sponsorship is Tokyo 2020 and Bosaz discussed another way that Coca-Cola is going beyond ‘the real thing’ and this time is using its digital platforms to invite anyone to create content around the Olympics. Instead of sending a brief out to agencies, it sent it out to the public, asking them to share sketches and visual ideas expressing what the spirit of Coca-cola, the Olympic Games and Tokyo 2020 means to them.

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