July 18, 2018

Read time: 4min

Insights agility at Coca-Cola

Market Logic Team

The 2018 London Market Logic Insights Executive Roundtable took place June 14th at Soho House in Chiswick. This is the second executive roundtable to take place in England, hosted once more by Chet Henderson, VP CMI Content, Connect & U-Innov8 at Unilever. The Roundtable brought together executives responsible for consumer insights all over Europe, with attendees from Mondelez, Mars, Tetra Pak, Chanel, Imperial Brands, Shell, Tesco, Coca-Cola, RSA, BSH, Kingfisher, BT, Ferrero, Kimberly-Clark, Asda, and Sky in attendance. Chet opened the 2018 Insights Executive Roundtable by acknowledging the hum of positive energy in the room, welcoming newcomers and greeting returning executives from the 2017 session. Begoña Fafian, K&I Director of Coca-Cola Western Europe, then took the floor to present a case study on the S&I Connect platform at Coca-Cola, which she framed as an enabler for lean and agile delivery of insights.

Coca-Cola and S&I Connect

Begonia acknowledged that when S&I Connect started as a pilot in North-West Europe, some stakeholders weren’t convinced. The key moment came when the Chief Commercial Officer asked all K&I Directors to pull together available knowledge on Stevia. While most teams scrambled through research repositories and agency networks, North-West Europe used their Market Logic platform to send a comprehensive answer in 20 minutes, proving its value as a tool for faster speed to insight.

Part of the infrastructure

S&I Connect is now global, used by Coca-Cola researchers and marketers worldwide. The platform is used to answer over 100,000 questions and to request over 1,500 new projects every year. Begoña sees it as the infrastructure that her team needs to “deliver business context, knowledge and insight, instead of just being a data provider, handing over search results.”

Reduction in wasted research

S&I Connect manager Lauren Raby then explained how the platform is also used to deliver end-to-end support across Coca-Cola’s research workflow, reducing about 10 hours of admin effort for every insights manager by automatically recommending suppliers, providing best-practice templates for different project types, organizing POs, and tracking resources. Begoña added that this type of support differentiates an effective insights platform from a repository. “The platform frees up scarce time and resources so the insights team can have conversations with the business about what’s important, not what data we should be looking at or where to find it.”

Next-gen insights platform

Kay Iversen, CEO of Market Logic, gave a presentation on next-generation insights platforms, which is driven by four universal client requirements:
  1. Use all types of data: primary, secondary, social, POS, CRM, and public sources.
  2. Leverage all existing tools and systems.
  3. Be compatible with all established corporate processes across research, innovation, marketing and sales.
  4. Engage millennial workers with a beautiful design and a great user experience.
He said next-generation platforms will use AI to extract content from each source, combining knowledge from structured and unstructured data into new insights, so insights managers can leverage all available tools and data to analyze answers to questions. At the same time, this will help insights teams to be efficient by managing their tasks and resources, and by understanding the logic of marketing, the job to be done, questions to ask, and best answers from relevant data. As Kay says, “You won’t have to be a data scientist to find the answers and get the job done.” Ultimately, next-generation platforms will guarantee that insights are being used by the business.

Mars and the Synapse Platform

Chet Henderson, Begoña Fafian, and Kay Iversen were joined on stage by Sébastien Lion, VP CMI Petcare at Mars and champion of their Synapse platform, and Rachel Schoenecker, CMI Specialist and manager of Ferrero’s CSU Connect platform, to kick off the panel discussion. To the question “What is marketing without insights?” Chet responded that insights organizations need to make sure marketing doesn’t happen without them, moving from a mindset of “making market research” to “marketing the research.” Sébastien described marketing without insights as “oxymoronic,” emphasizing the need for speed and citing instances where insights were applied to prevent continued business mistakes in fast-growing markets. Panellists agreed that money is the best measure for insights ROI. Chet brought up the tendency for marketers to lose sight of the insight that triggered a business opportunity as it moves through the execution phases. For this reason, platforms must link the research spend to the decisions they inform.

The value of past knowledge

Sébastien highlighted the value of past knowledge, arguing that research managers are responsible for the entire knowledge asset, not just their new project budget. “Every research manager is responsible for an annual budget of $100 million or more – their project budgets of course, but more importantly, the history of knowledge they use to generate insights from our Synapse platform”. Successful change management is always important when introducing a new platform to a company. The panellists agreed on the importance of integrating their platforms into the daily life of an insights manager. Mandatory usage of platforms is key, especially for partner agencies, who upload fresh results. Rachel pointed out that Ferrero jump starts promotion of CSU Connect by embedding training in their staff onboarding program, which is run by their Ferrero Academy.