Digital Transformation & Culture : The Coca-Cola Canada Story
The Coca-Cola Company is undeniably one of the most iconic businesses in the world. Approaching its 131st Anniversary in May, Coca-Cola is available in 194 of the 196 countries in the world, making it the most universal soda beverage on the planet.
Renowned for its marketing prowess and its relentless focus on delivering brilliant experiences for their consumers, I was fortunate to sit down with Coca-Cola Canada’s VP of Integrated Marketing Communications, David Allard, to discuss how Digital Transformation and Culture intersect within the Coca-Cola Canada organization.
HB: Give us some context for your role and responsibility here?
DA: When I joined Coca-Cola Canada nine months ago, my initial role was to lead Marketing Services, including driving the digital marketing agenda for the company. Since then, as we looked at the Marketing organization, my role has morphed. We always have to be looking to the future, and what that means for structure, capabilities and how we work with our bottler partners, our customers like WalMart, Loblaws and McDonalds and, ultimately, our consumers. The scope is extensive.
HB: Digital Transformation has almost become a cliché for any project that has a digital component to it. How do you define it here at Coca-Cola Canada?
DA: Too often “Digital Transformation” can be decoded internally as unlocking marketing opportunity. And when you’re responsible for delivering meaningful and relevant experiences to your consumers, Marketing is definitely the first stop on the bus. The larger opportunity of Digital Transformation is how we look at solving problems for our customers and our consumers. In real terms, that means looking at historically siloed aspects of the business and working in a truly collaborative fashion to break those down. Silos that may have formerly existed between IT, Key Account Teams, Operations etc. So while there’s nothing wrong with starting with Marketing and working back into the organization, it doesn’t always have to be an organizational-wide initiative to gain traction.
HB: Collaborating locally, and even globally, with the labyrinth of customers you have must make for an interesting level of collaboration. Talk to me about that dynamic.
DA: It certainly is. Particularly on two fronts. One is looking at how Digital helps us add value to our customer relationships with the WalMarts and so on. Their digital teams are also aggressively looking at how they execute their own digital transformation so there’s an immediate