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December 7, 2017

'We Must Be More Agile': How a Culture Shift is Powering Coke’s Innovation Agenda

Coke Headquarters

Photo: The Headquarters building of The Coca-Cola Company is illuminated against the skyline of Atlanta as “Thank You” to the world in celebration of the company’s 125th anniversary. The visual display is the world’s largest single building illumination covering more than 210, 000 square feet. HO Photo Michael Pugh/Coca-Cola.

ATLANTA - Coca-Cola is speeding its transition to a total beverage company and has a renewed focus on innovation and growth, President and CEO James Quincey told more than 120 investors and financial analysts at the company’s global headquarters.

In Coke’s first major investor gathering since 2009, Quincey and other senior leaders explained how the company is expanding its consumer-centric product portfolio, quickly scaling wins from market to market, and embracing an experimental, test-and-learn approach.

“We must be more agile and get things to market quicker,” Quincey said. “We operate in 200-plus countries, so having a success in one country frankly doesn’t move the needle. The needle only really moves with a big success in more than one big country. So lifting and shifting… the best and most successful ideas around the world is absolutely critical to creating more billion-dollar brands in a diverse portfolio.”

For example, the company will launch soy-based beverage brand AdeS - a top performer in Latin America - in Europe early next year. Similarly, Honest Tea and smartwater recently made the jump across the pond from the U.S. to the U.K.

Over the last few years, Coca-Cola has been returning ownership of its bottling operations to independent companies around the world. This newly refranchised system returns the company to its core focus on building and nurturing brands and empowers a network of 250 bottling partners to bring the “total beverage company” vision to life in the marketplace.

“We’re driving a culture change in the way we operate, the way we engage with the bottling system, and the way we go to market collectively,” Quincey said.



Growth is not an objective… it’s a discipline’

Chief Growth Officer Francisco Crespo introduced on a new concept for Coca-Cola: the discipline of growth. “Growth is not an objective… it’s a discipline,” he said. “When you practice that discipline, the outcome is growth.”

Taking a disciplined approach to growth includes building a portfolio of brands with what Crespo calls “quality leadership.” The end result: stronger profit margins than the competition.

“Rather than telling consumers what they should be drinking, we will humbly align our portfolio to follow their tastes, their needs,” Crespo said.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:19 PM | Link to this Post

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