Coca-Cola focuses on personalization with latest Freestyle offering
Marketers aiming for mobile-friendly and personalized efforts should take a
lesson from Coca-Cola.
The soft-drink company recently unveiled its latest Freestyle dispenser
design, which will enable consumers to use their smartphones to craft a
drink from its 200 beverage choices.
The new machine, which is available next year, provides upgraded technology
including Bluetooth. It will stand alongside (or replace) its thousands of
In a jargon-heavy press release, Coca-Cola said:
More than 50,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle units pour 14 million drinks per day
in restaurants, cinemas, convenience stores, amusement parks and other
locations across the United States and a handful of other countries.
Beverage servings are up 8% in Freestyle outlets, and calories-per-serving
in these locations are down nearly 10%.
“When we introduced Freestyle, it was truly a disruptive innovation,” said
Hellmann, vice president general manager, Coca-Cola Freestyle. “Today it’s
a billion-dollar business.”
USA Today reported:
The previous iteration customized drinks using QR codes, but that required
a more cumbersome process on a phone app.
… Coca-Cola also uses information from the fountain machines to gain
insight into what consumers want, Hellmann said. For example, the idea for
Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero, introduced in packaged form last
year, came from that data.
Marketers should take note of Coke’s effort to cater to the more mobile
consumer, as well as the focus on customized products. The move makes the
drinks more friendly, especially as consumers are buying less sugary soft
Bottled water has bumped soda to become Americans’ favorite drink. In 2016,
Americans bought 12.8 billion gallons of H2O versus 12.4 billion gallons of
carbonated soft drinks, according to Beverage Marketing, a research and
Take advantage of the power of video—regardless of resources orbudget]
However, marketing pros don’t have to come up with a machine that enables
consumers to create their own drinks to take a nod from Coke.
You should regularly review digital media analytics for insights into
consumers’ behavior, and then tailor your articles, videos and products to
what your consumers seek. Savvy brand managers can also use data to help
inform product tweaks and distribution strategies.
“A greater level of customization really allows companies to connect with
consumers, especially when it’s what they’re looking for and making them
feel special,” said Charles Lindsey, an associate professor of marketing at
the University at Buffalo.
“Choice and variety and customization—they’re not just fads,” said Chris
Hellman, Coca-Cola Freestyle’s vice president general manager.
You can learn more about the company’s new Freestyle machine below: