How Coca-Cola Created ONE Source of Truth - Presented at IIex North America
Most of us have heard the much-used term “fake news.” But how do we know if news is actually real or fake? The last few years of media reporting have proved that discovering the truth can be trickier than we ever thought. When it comes to market research, we are often seeking the truth based on a set of rules to get to the correct numbers and uncover the complete story the data is telling us. Our director of group services, Horst Feldhaeuser, dove into this issue, using a case example of our work with Coca-Cola, during his presentation at IIeX North America, “No Fake News: How Coca-Cola Created ONE Source of Truth – All the Time, Every Time.”
The first priority of the Coca-Cola Company is “winning the hearts and minds of consumers.” In order to achieve this, the company had to find its “truth.” This means bringing together all the data it collected, across 300 brands, 100+ data sources and 75+ agencies, to track and measure success among consumers in all markets in which it operates. Because the company has numerous touchpoints from marketing to bottlers, transport to point-of-sale and ultimately to the shopper and consumer, they needed a clear plan on how to manage all this information.
The Coca-Cola Company saw that the only way to have a superior understanding of consumer behavior was by achieving an integrated view of the company’s whole business. The research must provide a holistic and predictive understanding of the target audiences by leveraging behavioral, social, passive and survey data, all while doing it in a faster and more cost effective way.
This goal resulted in a shift in strategy, a refocusing of resources, while working on new ways to unlock growth and leverage technology. Coca-Cola did this while also recognizing the rapid changes taking place in the world – among consumers, retailers and the socio-political environment in which it operates as a whole. The result was uncovering a “single source of truth” for its consumer research and reporting metrics, applying global protocols, so that stakeholders would receive globally consistent results no matter where in the world of Coca-Cola - the right information at the right time.
This goal spurred the creation of a single integrated system to access and view the entire cycle of all brand activations from testing, evaluating and live conversations through impact evaluation and planning. This system brings together Coca-Cola’s complex survey data, harmonizes that data, makes accessing the data easier for stakeholders, and maintains data quality and integrity at all points between collection and analysis.
As a long-term partner, Infotools helps to keep all the market research items in check among Coca-Cola’s data suppliers and ensure global protocols are being followed. In addition, we help the company to harmonize its local and global tracking databases, ensuring all internal and external stakeholders use the same database, based on the same data processing and harmonization rules – for more than 100 markets. Providing Coca-Cola with the specialized market research software platform to achieve their goals was only part of the equation - we also partnered with them to spread the word internally and externally among their team members and consultants.
Using Infotools’ service and software solutions, Coca-Cola is able to feed its many internal and external reporting platforms, all relying on the same data outputs.
In our many years of working with global trackers and in particular in the 18 years we’ve been working with Coca-Cola, we’ve seen how important it is to have a SINGLE source of data truth. The complexity of market research survey metrics continues to rise, as technology advancements, new platforms and design demands take the forefront. Integrating data sources into specialized platforms first, combining into an overarching insights engine and seeking that truth - the way Coca-Cola has done - is the future of market research.