The ICSC Blog

Get To Know MOCIAL Speaker: Scott Ryan, Coca-Cola Company

CokeCurrently, I work as the Vice President of Strategic Partner Marketing -Specialty Retail for The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. In this role, I lead a team of sales and marketing professionals to grow revenues and profits among retailers in the specialty retail on-premise channels where the company’s bottled beverages are bought and consumed one drink at a time.

Since joining The Coca-Cola Company in 2001, I’ve worked in a variety of sales and marketing capacities with regional and national On-Premise and Retail customers as well with marketing alliances such as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), 2010 Winter Olympics and MGM Mirage at both Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola Enterprises – formerly Coca-Cola’s largest bottler. As part of my current responsibilities, I now head up Coca-Cola Refreshment’s North American strategy and implementation with the National Shopping Center industry players. I received my Bachelors in Advertising from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I am currently completing my Masters of International Business at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.

Away from Coca-Cola, I’m an avid international traveler, snow skier and scuba diver and involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta, Dress for Success and a member of the Network of Executive Women (NEW).

With society’s increasing dependence on technology, what changes in marketing strategies has it made in last few years?
Technology is one of the true great enablers and has truly transformed the way that companies, like The Coca-Cola Company, connect and engage with customers and consumers. These changes in connection capabilities and tools, force us all to be better marketers and to see the world differently. The difference now is that we, as marketers and brand stewards, need to focus on creating content that cuts through the clutter and is “share-worthy” all while reinforcing the core brand promise. The way consumers now engage with our brands has dramatically changed and inspires us at Coca-Cola to discover new opportunities to deliver shopper “value” all while helping them connect with a brand that has existed for 127 years.

What have been the benefits of incorporating digital marketing and mobile apps into your corporation?
The currency of success has changed. There is an increased focus on technology and we have seen that shift as a great opportunity to engage with consumers with content that really connects to their core values. We’re honored that AdAge recently called our MyCokeRewards platform, “perhaps the best-known cross-brand loyalty program” and the results are pretty impressive – more than 21 million active members and operations across 15 U.S. brands and more than 230 products. But again, the core tenet here is not about amassing a massive number of members alone; it is about better understanding consumers –passions and behaviors.

Via MyCokeRewards we are able to engage and market to our consumers with more relevant marketing communications that align with their preferences and in turn help us to develop so that we bring richer programs and insights to our customers that continues to move their businesses forward.

In what ways has the digital age revitalized your industry?
As a global brand playing within a large global industry, the digital age has helped us to be more nimble as we engage and inspire consumers. With operations in 207 countries around the world, it can be challenging to execute programming across languages, cultures and populations. The digital age has been a wonderful enabler, in that we can now share content instantaneously with our networks that they can in turn share with their networks – allowing us to have a global dialogue within a significantly shorter timeframe. We have internally built on a strategy that we call “liquid and linked;” which forces us to really hone in to ensure that we are dispensing relevant content into the market that is “shareworthy” and will be shared and spread (liquid) but that at the same time remaining true to our brand promise (linked). Done correctly – we drive consumer connections with our brands and ultimately purchase intent; benefiting our customer’s businesses.

How important is consumer engagement? How do you bring attention to your brand through you social media channels/mobile apps?
The consumer package goods industry is really about consumer connections and probably most importantly, the advent of digital marketing and mobile apps has changed the way that we define success. It is no longer about static media buys, traditional sponsorships or traditional in-store promotion alone – it is about our ability to track and customize messaging in order to maximize engagement and to help consumers have a real-time conversation with The Coca-Cola Company and their networks around their experiences with our brands.

We can in turn use these tools to help consumers re-connect with members of our brand family that they have not tried in a while, to help educate consumers about our brands and our commitment to healthy active lifestyles and even to ultimately help guide shoppers on where to find the products they love.

Coca-Cola’s Freestyle® fountain dispenser is really interesting to me, in that it not only creates great consumers experiences with one machine providing over 125 different beverage options – of which 70 are low- and no-calorie, but the Freestyle® fountain dispenser “calls home” to Atlanta every night to help us better understand when and what consumers are purchasing – all in real-time. Coca-Cola’s Freestyle® allows us to truly offer something customizable to each person, tastebud and moment. Our biggest fans can now create their own new favorite drink recipes. This innovation also helps us better understand these new recipes to help with future product development or merchandising in outlet much more quickly. We then take it to the next level with the Coca-Cola Freestyle App, for example, that allows consumers to share their favorite creation with their networks via social media or even find the closest Coca-Cola Freestyle machine – driving sales and traffic for our retailers.

What do you hope participants will gain by attending your MOCIAL session?
The digital age is and will continue to be a part of our lives – the trend to Mocial engagement isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. My hope is that the session will spur thought and discussion around how we can all be better and more effective marketers and brand stewards. The best case of digital marketing is that we engage and inspire shoppers and in turn that it ultimately creates better shopping experiences for us all.

Is the increasing number of online shoppers a concern to you?
The number of online shoppers and the impact it has had on our partners has definitely raised the bar for us all collectively. With my team working within the shopping center industry in North America we definitely need to continue to find new ways to help our customers to create better shopping experiences. While the landscape may be changing, it is really forcing us all to think much harder about how we engage and delight consumers during each shopping trip in traditional centers and I am excited about the work we have under way to focus on just that.

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