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Coke's growth focus empowers marketers

News, 12 May 2017
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GLOBAL: With the appointment of Coca-Cola's first Chief Growth Officer, Francisco Crespo, in March, local marketers will have more autonomy over a growing portfolio, a marketing director says.

However, this is part of a more responsive Coke strategy, says Aedamar Howlett, UK marketing director, as the new growth officer will oversee how marketing, strategy and commercial sections of the business function together.

Despite the change, Howlett told Campaign, "marketing is still absolutely at the heart of our business," but the result, she predicts, will be an opportunity to "put all of those functional strengths together and build a vision".

This in turn, will liberate local marketing directors, "to drive that growth, to define our own portfolio strategies.

"The growth comes from the markets, it doesn't come from the centre, and that's what that structure's recognising. We'll be able to still lean into the centre for all that expertise, but we'll drive the growth from the local markets."

Speaking to the Drum, Howlett also hinted at an expansion into ecommerce offerings in partnership with Amazon.

"We're doing some great work with Amazon. There are projects happening that I can't share. But with our commercial teams we're working to really understand how consumers are interacting on those channels and how to make our offering right."

The development chimes with comments made by new global CEO, James Quincey, who told the Financial Times that Coca Cola needed to diversify, and take "a more investment portfolio view".

Coca-Cola, he said, "can be much bigger" than the flagship drink, as he told the paper that the company had invested in 42 start-up brands in the US alone.

However, Howlett says the company will continue the 'One Brand' strategy, which she says is "absolutely right" for Coke.

Howlett was speaking to Campaign as the brand launched its latest 'Share a Coke' campaign, which will be promoted with a new edit of the brand's "Pool Boy" spot.

Developed through the central Western Europe operation, the ad was the result of the brand's effort to bring neuroscience insights into the creative development of advertising.

Data sourced from Campaign, The Drum, Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff

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