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 toolset to change the way they approach IT. Behind all this, big data gives you the intelligence to cap it all off.”
More recently, Greg Chambers, global director of digital innovation, has said “AI is the foundation for everything we do. We create intelligent experiences. AI is the kernel that powers that experience.”
As sales of sugary, fizzy drink products have declined in recent years Coca Cola has 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.
The company has also 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.
The Coca Cola company is a shining example of a business which has re-ordered itself based on data and intelligence. It has long shown an appreciation of the fact that today’s technology offers unprecedented opportunity to reassess just about every aspect of how business is conducted. Rethinking itself as a technology driven company with a focus on strategic implementation of data and AI means it is likely to retain its place at the head of the pack for the foreseeable future.
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