Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

Coke embraces personalisation

News, 12 January 2015

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine – the revolutionary soda fountain – is successfully showing how brands which have built their business on being "the same everywhere" can embrace the personalisation trend.

Jennifer Mann, vp/general manager for Coca-Cola Freestyle, which offers over 100 beverages that can all be mixed and matched by consumers, discussed this subject at Advertising Age's latest Data Conference.

From the orders made in coffee shops to personalised on-demand watch lists, she asserted, people are growing used to customising their products and experiences.

"We all know exactly what we want in every area of our lives, from our morning coffee to our ready-to-play DVR list," said Mann. (For more, including how the company is leveraging data from the Freestyle machine, read Warc's exclusive report: Coca-Cola's Freestyle fountain puts big data on tap.)

"We all know what we want, and we expect the companies that serve to deliver on that personalisation. The 'one-to-many' isn't good enough anymore; we all know that we're in a one-to-one world."

Such a shift can seem "scary" for organisations that have traditionally focused on mass production, and drawn strength from such constancy.

"This is the challenge that we know well at the Coca-Cola Company. While we have over 3,500 products worldwide, they are all based on a formula, on a recipe; they are all created the same way each and every time," said Mann.

"No matter where you go in the world, or what packaging it comes in, it's the same everywhere. And that secret formula that's behind Coke has been part of our great success; that consistency of the product has been one of our enablers to take this product worldwide."

The "age of personalisation", however, means that closely-guarded recipes must find a way to co-exist with individualised preferences.

And it is here where the Freestyle machine – which was unveiled in 2009 and has already racked up more than five billion servings – comes in.

"We knew that we didn't want to change our recipes ... After all, that's really the core of Coca-Cola: it's making great-tasting products," Mann said.

"But you know how you like to drink them. So we worked on an innovation that would allow us to do the best of what we know, and deliver it with the way that you want your products.

"It's really the ability for us to deliver our secret formula in the shape of your secret formula."

Data sourced from Warc