Coca Cola at Barclays Conference Notes

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Sandy Douglas – Executive Vice President and President, Coca-Cola North America

Bifurcated consumer environment

“What we’re seeing broadly is kind of a bifurcated consumer environment. The upper part of the economy is healthy and vibrant, positive expectations for investor performance, tax relief. And then the bottom half is really struggling, which is impacting purchasing habits, trips to retail, et cetera.”

don’t count out the brick retailers

“don’t count out the brick retailers. They’re moving fast. They have significant assets and they’re working to serve the shopper. And don’t think of e-commerce as a channel. It’s a way for consumers to research, to buy, to experience brands and then, ultimately, to have them have fulfilled.”

Digitization good for add ons

“But also, more broadly, think about like restaurant operators. Restaurant operators – think of pizza, for example. Pizza orders that have moved on to apps. Our incidence of beverage attachment, if we’re well merchandised on a digital app, is 50% higher than on telephone.”

Entrepreneurs face common issues around distribution

“And then the other thing we’ve done is we’ve found that – and it gets to this very fragmented innovative category that we’re in, is that the innovators are launching hundreds of new products every year. But once they’re successful, they all have the same kind of issues, issues like buying, procurement, like selling, distributing, manufacturing and capital. And so, we have a venturing group that we started about ten years ago and, basically, it goes out to all the entrepreneurs and says, instead of going to private equity to get money, why don’t we work with you, we’ll invest in you and we’ll help you. And we’ll help you take your idea, solve some of the issues you might have, and we can see how you can be a part of what we’re doing and we can help you achieve your dreams as an entrepreneur…All of that allowing us to kind of source external innovation, so that when you take a healthy core, build strong, new businesses, and then bring all the next businesses in, it gives you a sustainable top line.

The thing that had the highest correlation with success was the number of tries

“Because we’ve analyzed innovation and we did a pretty exhaustive study to try to figure out how we could become more innovative. And the net is that there are a lot of things going on in innovation, but the one thing that had the highest correlation with success was the number of at-bests.

It wasn’t the super brainy process. It wasn’t the eight-page request for authorization form that was better than another. It was, you had the general idea of what you’re trying to do and where the consumer is going and you create the opportunity for lots of tries.

And the only way we could figure how to do that was to get other people to try and then to give us the chance to help them make the more likely winners succeed. But even then, the more likely winners don’t all win.