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Partnering to innovation

How does Coca-Cola drive innovation?

How does Coca-Cola drive innovation?

The worlds largest beverage company has a trick up its sleeve. Partnering to innovation.

How else would Coca-Cola, the behemoth with an employee network of over 700,000 stay on top of its competitors?

The key word here is ‘competitors’, which interestingly Coca-Cola doesn’t really believe in. Rather, the 130-year-old company much prefers bringing its partners along for the ride.

Taking this view is what allows this week’s guest, Alan Boehme, Coca-Cola’s Global CTO to be “a business person…strategist…up to date on security, consumer trends” at the same time, all the time, on a global basis.

“You just can’t do it yourself. You have to partner with as many people as you can.”

Coca-Cola started building its enviable global network in the 1920s and since then has used its franchise strategy to localize parts of the production of its drinks to build distribution and sales infrastructure through partnerships at every stage of the process worldwide.

Starting in the early 1900s, Coca-Cola built bottling operations in countries as far afield as Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, the Philippines and Guam. Many of these initial ventures were either joint or franchised operations entirely.

This in turn allowed Coca-Cola to maintain control over its ingredients and to protect the intellectual property of its brand, whilst manufacturing concentrate in a few locations to sell on to bottlers who endeavor to package, manufacture and distribute the finished beverages to retail locations.

Thus allowing Coca-Cola to achieve global reach and scale through the local knowledge and distribution strength of the global partner.

It’s a smart operation, and one that causes envy amongst FMCG businesses worldwide.

Take a listen to this week’s episode above, where Alan Boehme talks us through the value of partnering to innovation.

He even provides some tips on the steps a small business can take to become a partner of Coca-Cola’s.

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