Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Coke seeks to become more 'collaborative'

Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent has set out an ambition for the company to become better at “collaborating, innovating and listening” to consumers and partners next year as it reported weaknesses in its European business in the fourth quarter.

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European revenue fell 6 per cent in the three months to 31 December, which Coca-Cola attributed to the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty, weak consumer confidence, adverse weather and an unfavourable price mix in the quarter.

The decline came despite high-profile marketing activity in the quarter, including the Coca-Cola master brand’s annual Christmas truck campaign.

Kent says the company expects economic uncertainty in the region to continue “well into 2013” but it will keep investing in its brands in the hope of outperforming the market.

Gains in developing markets and a 1 per cent increase in US sales helped offset the European decline, boosting operating revenues by 4 per cent to $11.45bn. Net income rose 13 per cent to $1.86bn.

Kent said Coca-Cola must continue investing in its business to “get even better” in terms of collaborating, innovating and listening to consumers, customers and partners - and to execute “with precision”.

Last year Coca-Cola’s global director of innovation Anthony Newstead said the company was looking to launch more collaborative innovation projects as part of its aspirations to become a less “secretive” company.

In September Coca-Cola invited its Facebook community to crowdsource ideas to help make the world a happier place in an initiative it said was “the next step in fan culture” as it looks to achieve its 2020 Vision of doubling the size of the business from 2010 in the next seven years.

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