Human Centered Innovation: Coca-Cola

coca cola
coca cola

Kudos to Coca-Cola – Human Centered Innovation

Kudos to Coca-Cola for connecting with the human behind each Coke, for using the world as their innovation playground and for their fully human connected organization. Their approach enables them to continuously create and advance great ideas from any part of the world to global expansion in record time!

The Share a Coke Initiative was launched in 2012-2013 in Australia- Asia Pacific quickly becoming a global mega success. They replaced the Coca-Cola branding on Coca-Cola bottles and cans with the customized phrase ‘Share A Coke With …’ followed by the 150 most popular names across Australia. This was a transformational success that later expanded to 70 countries globally and obtained 7 awards at the Cannes Lions festival.

But…. How did Coca-Cola come up with such a wonderful idea?

Let’s start with Coca-Cola brand purpose and values: Refresh the world by spreading happiness. To understand consumer relationships with refreshing the world and spreading happiness, Coca Cola didn’t stop on the Coca-Cola drink, they didn’t even stop at the beverage category or even in the understanding of refreshing moments of happiness. They went deeper to understand what makes people happy. The Coca-Cola team went outside the beverage category to understand key drivers of happiness. Back in 2010 Coca Cola developed a happiness barometer as part of the Coca-Cola Happiness Index, a scientific index designed by Complutense University of Madrid for the Coca-Cola Happiness Institute in Spain. Based on a scale developed by Ed Diener, who has written more than 240 scientific publications on happiness, the Happiness Index was a new and complete method of measuring overall happiness and consumers’ level of satisfaction with their life.

Using the Happiness Barometer, The Coca Cola company placed a global study across 16 countries and four continents identifying what happiness means to different nationalities. The study revealed despite the rapid pace of growth in the virtual world, “human contacts” wins hands down when it comes to happiness. People in all 16 countries agree that real world contact with family and partners is a greater source of joy (77%) than virtual world alternatives. Supporting the notion that human, rather than virtual interaction, is a greater source of pleasure; the biggest highlights of the day included catching up with loved ones in the evening (39%), eating with the family (22%) and chatting to friends or colleagues (17%). Modern alternatives at that time such as watching TV (14%), connecting with others online (5%) and receiving the day’s first text message (2%) paled in comparison. “The results of the Coca-Cola Happiness Barometer showed that staying connected with friends and family remains an important source of happiness for people around the world, and that this holds true across all continents and nationalities, including in the U.S. Despite the online social networking phenomenon, nothing beats quality time with loved ones or simple pleasures such as sharing a Coke with our nearest and dearest to bring happiness. Music also showed to be important with 18% saying it is a source of happiness and 22% saying listening to music is one of the happiest moments of the day.

All those moments were explored – family events? Christmas? New year, Graduations? Celebrations? Coca-Cola is there to help spread happiness. Furthermore, one of the best ways to share with friends is the moment we share, the moment we give a present; a present with your name on it creating a more personal relationship with consumers and inspiring shared moments of happiness.

This was not only a marketing campaign, it was possible thanks to the full engagement of the technical team designing and qualifying the needed changes on package specifications and production lines to start production in record time. All possible thanks to an angaged and creative team well connected with the functions including marketing. They went beyond Australia being the key enablers of the expansion of the initiative across more than 70 countries.

Coca- Cola didn’t stop with the share a Coke initiative, it was followed by sharing a song and  they also explored the idea of sharing a can (298) Coca-Cola Sharing Can – YouTube by dividing a can in two, the shared friendships by connecting people in separate countries (298) Coca-Cola Small World Machines – Bringing India & Pakistan Together – YouTube and a lot more.

Kudos to Coca-Cola for taking the time, for having the capacity to observe and finetune their ability to connect with the human behind the Coke, for using the world as their playground to experiment ideas; for having a motivated human connected organization enabling them to progress their ideas in any part of the world from conception to global expansion in record time!

The Coca-Cola company was considered one of the most innovative companies by the prestigious BCG report and recently was back in the Kantar BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands.



References: Coca-Cola company press releases, Study Smarter- Share a Coke campaign