So is Coca-Cola a tech company? Of course not, most people would say. But as the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer Guy Wollaert confessed, the future will be shaped by today’s new technologies, especially digital technology. That’s why Wollaert both attended and spoke at the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay. And that’s why Coca-Cola has invested in a series of innovation initatives called the Co-Founder Network, in which the company makes investments in promising start-ups.
The Internet, Wollaert told me, has changed the relationship between Coca-Cola and its hundreds of millions of customers. Personalization and social media—particularly Twitter and Facebook—are reinventing how Coca-Cola interacts with its customers. But it would be naïve to imagine Wallaert and Coke as social media newbies. Indeed, given the company’s historic leadership in customer relations and marketing, we should expect Coca-Cola to be pioneering the most effectives uses of all this new technology.