Coca-Cola enhances its mobile skills

3 January 2013

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, is enhancing its mobile capabilities in areas from SMS to location-based services, reflecting the increasingly important role of this medium in its marketing plans.

Speaking to MediaPost, Kim Siler, Coca-Cola's mobile brand strategist, global connections, reported that the firm is currently working out the details of a "location platform" for wireless gadgets.

"Right now, we're just looking at what really is Coca-Cola's role in location," she said. "That doesn't mean we're going to have a platform that manages location, but building out what the strategy is for location: what vendors and partners make the most sense for Coca-Cola and our consumers."

While the company is still formalising its priorities in this space, the longer term outlook appears to offer vast potential when it comes to driving purchases in stores.

Siler said: "Ultimately, we believe that when coupled with mobile payments, the location capabilities of a mobile device [and] network can enable our vision of a world where people can walk in holding their phone and walk out with their phone and a Coca-Cola."

Other core objectives at present include attempting to optimise its huge portfolio of websites for mobile visitors, a project where it has already made considerable progress.

"We're getting there. I wouldn't say they're all mobile-optimised yet. It takes time when you have over 208 countries, the number of brands we have, [and] the number of languages," Siler said.

Despite the burgeoning variety of tools available for marketers on mobile devices, SMS remains a "very big part" of Coca-Cola's output, according to Siler.

"It's a ubiquitous format you can use to reach 98% of consumers and ... it's much more personal and much more integrated into what a consumer is already doing in their daily lives," she said.

Mobile was employed as a marketing tool in all 100 nations where Coca-Cola ran campaigns in relation to the 2012 Olympic Games, marking a watershed for the medium.

"It was the first time mobile was an integral part of an integrated marketing campaign. It far exceeded expectations in that we were able to successfully show mobile could be part of the overarching story," said Siler.

The company's global connections group, for which Siler works, sets Coca-Cola's mobile strategy at the corporate level, especially with regard to its key stakeholders.

Siler said: "It's about making sure we're looking at how things can scale and getting the best partnerships from that perspective with vendors and agencies."

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff