Coca-Cola: Big Data Pioneers

POSTED BY   Will Darbyshire
21st September 2017
Coca-Cola: Big Data Pioneers | TDMB Tech

Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most recognisable brands. With 500 products, served in over 200 countries, the soft-drinks colossus sells over 1.9 billion drinks a day; that’s the equivalent of every single person in the UK buying about 30 drinks each, every single day.  With such astonishing figures, one would be forgiven for thinking that Coca-Cola’s need for advertising is minimal. But you’d be wrong, and because having so many customers creates a whole lot of data, Coca-Cola is proving to be a pioneer in the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in marketing.

Coca-Cola: Big Data Pioneers | TDMB Tech

Big Data Product Development

Customer feedback, production, distribution, sales; Coca-Cola generates Big Data on a scale that very few can match.  In order to take advantage of this fact, to be able to make sense of their data ocean, the company was the first globally recognised brand, outside of IT, to invest in, and speak about, Big Data.

Back in 2012, they already had a Chief Big Data Officer. His name was Esat Sezer and, in October of that year, he said;: 

“Social media, mobile applications, cloud computing and e-commerce are combining to give companies like Coca-Cola an unprecedented toolset to change the way they approach IT. Behind all this, big data gives you the intelligence to cap it all off.”

Being hot off the mark gave Coca-Cola a significant head start, they were able to develop heightened strategies by analysing Big Data before most had even heard of it and, now that they finally have, Coca-Cola is already taking it to the next level; AI.

Personalised Drinks with AI

Greg Chambers, Global Director of Digital Innovation at Coca-Cola, said

AI is the foundation for everything we do. We create intelligent experiences. AI is the kernel that powers that experience.”

In order to extract every possible insight from their Big Data, Coca-Cola has invested huge amounts of money in AI research. Most excitingly, the company has developed an inventive way of pairing the two together; personalised drinks.

Coca-Cola recently launched a series of drinks vending machines called Coca-Cola Freestyle. They allow customers to mix their own drinks and, over time,  learn what combinations are most popular. This data is collected and analysed in order for the most popular new flavours to be canned and sold to the public. The first result of this; Cherry Sprite.

Taking AI a step further still, Coca-Cola is working on its very own voice assistant. When this AI is placed inside the vending machine, customers will be able to more closely personalise their drinks, even save the recipe for future use at all AI vending machines around the globe. The machines will even be able to adapt to the environment they are placed into. For example, voice assistant vending machines at leisure centres or football grounds can be lively, exciting, and entertaining. But those in hospital waiting rooms can be far more functional and low-key.  

By analysing the past and present, Big Data is the closest thing we have to being able to predict the future. If a company the size of Coca-Cola feels the need to invest deeply in it, then there isn’t a single business in the world that can be excused for ignoring it. Letting all that precious, invaluable data just float away is, in this day and age, the equivalent of lighting farts with fivers.

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Will Darbyshire

Will is Content Strategist with The Digital Marketing Bureau, writing on all aspects of tech. Will specialises in writing interviews and profiles, as well as all things PropTech.

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