NRF Session: Coca-Cola “Opens Happiness” For Consumers And Retailers

Customer-centricity, key for increasing engagement with retail audiences, was a primary focus during educational sessions and discussion at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) BIG Show.

During a keynote session, titled: Coca-Cola Opens Happiness For Consumers And Retailers, Melvin Landis, Chief Retail Sales Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments for The Coca-Cola Company, addressed customer-centricity and how retailers can create relevant passion points with consumers to drive brand loyalty and product growth.

Consumers want more information about the products they purchase, and they want the information to be relevant to their personal experiences, said Landis. For example, “to help our shoppers make the right choice in the drink they choose, Coca-Cola was the first beverage company to offer front-of-package labeling that states the number of calories in each can.”


Subsequently Coca-Cola partnered with the American Beverage Association to offer the same calorie information on the front of beverage cans offered in vending machines.

Coca-Cola currently sells 500 brands in 207 countries and sells 1.8 billion servings each day.

Capturing The Essence Of Coca-Cola

The idea of shared values is the essence of what the Coca-Cola system hopes to accomplish, noted Landis. He noted that one of the company’s goals is to help retailers “harness a little happiness” in their businesses.

“It all starts with having great brands, and matching those brands to consumers’ needs,” stated Landis. “Coca-Cola calls this ‘translating brand value into customer value.’” Coca-Cola strives to help retail customers “understand the value in our brands and how they can play a role in driving their businesses,” Landis continued. “Retailers must reinvest in the capabilities of the business to sustain [the value] and repeat it for customers as new categories and consumer trends emerge, and new value propositions make themselves available.”

If the consumer “stops caring about the brand, stops believing in the value of hope, happiness and optimism,” Landis remarked, “then we don’t have the business that we want.”

Coca-Cola Partnerships With Leading Retailers

Keynote session panelists joining Landis to shed more light on the Coca-Cola approach included Alison Lewis, SVP of Marketing, North America for The Coca-Cola Company; Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN; Joseph C. Magnacca, President of Daily Living Products and Solutions for Walgreens; and Lori Mitchell-Keller, SVP of the Retail Industry Business Unit for SAP.

Walgreens And Coca-Cola: 100+ Years Of Partnership. Walgreens has merchandised the Coca-Cola brand since Charles Walgreen opened his first store in 1901. As part of the retailer’s latest flagship locations, which offer fresh and prepared foods, Walgreens is evolving from a traditional pharmacy store to a lifestyle brand.  

To help Walgreens in this transformation, Landis noted, Coca-Cola installed Freestyle machines at Walgreens locations (a Coca-Cola branded dispenser that offers the choice of 125 different drinks in a single machine). In addition, the two companies partnered recently to drive trials of Coca-Cola in-store, out-of-home and through digital technologies, further supporting Walgreens as a destination for consumers’ favorite beverages.

HSN Shares The Coke Experience With Shoppers. Coca-Cola has aligned with HSN to create an online store of Coca-Cola trademarked and licensed merchandise throughout the year as well as during the seasonal celebrations Although HSN does not sell Coca-Cola beverages, it now offers modern and nostalgic Coca-Cola products such as kitchen appliances, home décor and toys.

HSN said the company will launch an HSN Cares campaign with Diet Coke in support of The Heart Truth  set to launch February 2012. The partnership with Coca-Cola is designed to offer HSN the opportunity to leverage innovative digital platforms and engage its customer base.  In addition to Coca-Cola merchandise, the campaign will include HSN merchandise added to the My Coke Rewards stores and offer engaging programming and unique multiplatform content throughout 2013.

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