The Coca Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company selling more than 500 brands of soft drink to customers in over 200 countries. It generates mountains of data – from production and distribution to sales and customer feedback, and the company relies of a solid data-driven strategy to inform business decisions at a strategic level.
In fact, Coca Cola was one of the first globally-recognized brands outside of the IT market to speak about Big Data, when in 2012 their chief big data officer, Esat Sezer, said “Social media, mobile applications, cloud computing and e-commerce are combining to give companies like Coca-Cola an unprecedented tool-set to change the way they approach IT. Behind all this, big data gives you the intelligence to cap it all off.”
Coca Cola is known to have ploughed extensive research and development resources into artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure it is squeezing every drop of insight it can from the data it collects.
As sales of sugary, fizzy drink products have declined in recent years Coca Cola has also hooked into data to help produce and market some of its healthier options, such as orange juice, which the company sells under a number of brands around the world (including Minute Maid and Simply Orange).
The company combines weather data, satellite images, information on crop yields, pricing factors and acidity and sweetness ratings, to ensure that orange crops are grown in an optimum way, and maintain a consistent taste.
The algorithm then finds the best combination of variables in order to match products to local consumer tastes in the 200-plus countries around the world where its products are sold.
Social data mining
With 105 million Facebook fans and 35 million Twitter followers, social media is another hugely important source of data for the company.
Coca Cola closely tracks how its products are represented across social media, mining this gives insight into who is consuming their drinks, where their customers are, and what situations prompt them to talk about their brand. The company has used AI-driven image recognition technology to spot when photographs of its products, or those of competitors, are uploaded to the internet, and uses algorithms to determine the best way to serve them advertisements. Ads targeted in this way have a four times greater chance of being clicked on than other methods of targeted advertising, the company has said.