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Coke Shuffles Marketing Org to Reflect Changing Landscape



How does a company become one of the most recognized and respected brands on the planet? In the case of Coke (get it, case of Coke?) it’s comes from the benefit of a lot of years of being at it (over 100) making changes along the way (sometimes failing miserably like the New Coke debacle) and adjusting to the shifts in how people receive, digest and disseminate marketing messages.

It appears as if they are well on their way to keeping their position if the recent moves in their organization are any indication. AdAge reports

Coca-Cola announced internally today that it is making changes to the leadership team of its global integrated marketing communications and capabilities organization. That group, led by Wendy Clark, falls under Joe Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer.

“It’s recognition of a shift in the landscape,” said Ms. Clark, senior-VP integrated marketing communications and capabilities. “Increasingly, we understand the idea of a liquid and linked landscape. And perhaps we weren’t structured for ultimate success within that landscape.”

Seeing large, iconic brands recognize that in order to remain at the top and compete in the future that they need to have their organizations reflect the new marketing reality is pretty big. It was last year in fact that a representative of Coke said that Coke.com was no longer their home page but Google and social media in general was where people reach Coke and truly was their front facing web presence. In a day and age where it’s pretty easy to poke fun at big companies and their lack of social media savvy this move is pretty refreshing (like an ice cold Coke on a hot day, right?).

The article went on to explain more of the theory that went behind this shift in the marketing organization and why a key hire was made.

Ivan Pollard, formerly global partner at Naked Communications in London, will be relocating to Atlanta to take on the role of VP-global connections. He had been working with Coca-Cola in his role at the agency, most recently leading the integrated agency efforts for the brand’s World Cup efforts. His new role will include leading the company’s efforts to engage consumers through paid, owned, shared and earned media.

First of all, look at his title, VP-global connections. A non-traditional title because traditional marketing, while still important, is not the beginning and end all for brands. His role? To engage consumers. Enough said. With a brand that is purely a consumer product play engagement will be critical because that’s what individuals are learning to expect from the brands they support.

And if you were not convinced already that Coke is setting the stage for the new look marketing organizations of the future see what Wendy Clark had to say about what they had been seeing that prompted this change.

Ms. Clark said that, previously, the organization had been more siloed and, in some ways, put more emphasis on paid media. It was a revelation to discover that of the 150 million views the brand has amassed on YouTube, only 25 million to 30 million of those views could be attributed to content Coca-Cola had put into the marketplace.

Wait, did I read that correctly? Someone at a big company had the smarts and humility to realize that the success of the brand wasn’t all about their efforts? Instead they are listening to the marketplace and responding in a way to best capitalize on the market conditions that are evolving now and will only become more important moving forward.

Look, maybe you guessed it already but I am a Coca-Cola bigot. It’s the only soft drink I will ever consider and I look for other types of drinks to have the Coca-Cola origin to decide if I will try them or not.

Having said that I like the brand even more now that I see that as a company they are staying flexible and responding to the shifts and changes in the world of consumer marketing in a way that will give others pause to think “Is this the real thing and should we being doing it too?”

So have a great weekend and enjoy a Coke and a smile!

  • Kaley K

    I love to hear about this company doing well! They have over 3,300 beverages world-wide and will continue to grow. It takes well organized, humble and intelligent executives to realize they need to be ever-changing their company in order to continue to be on top. Many times companies get too relaxed with being on top and become lazy but it seems like Coca-Cola is not following this trend.