How Coca-Cola Stays Relevant, with David Butler

Designer
David Butler, Coca-Cola's VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, explains the two reasons why his company remains attractive to investors. First, its presence as a so-called "iconic brand." Second, its proven ability to leverage its assets in new ways. Butler offers a glimpse into the ideas espoused in his new book "Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)."
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

David Butler:  I think what makes Coca-Cola interesting, to an investor or to anyone, is really two things: It's been able to maintain its point of view as a brand over time. And this is what is commonly referred to as an iconic brand. So in other words there are great brands out there, lots of brands, but there are relatively few that are able to maintain a point of view on the changing times around them. So if you think about it Coke has always had a point of view on society. So in the early '60s when there was a lot of cultural change, they had a point of view on race relationships. And remember the Mean Joe Greene commercial where Mean Joe Greene tosses his shirt to the kid. This is what makes brands iconic, having a point of you around the world around them.

And then the second thing is I think Coke has always been able to leverage its assets in new ways. Of course we have a core business, but it's always been able to adapt and change to the marketplace by offering new products and services, again, that are outside of our core business.

I mean Coke and every other large corporation can't stand on its laurels. So you have to adapt. Every large company or brand or product must adapt to be relevant. Every company is right now afraid of having a Kodak moment. You can imagine that the people inside of Kodak looking at the iPhone and calling it a toy at some point; now they're not. So that's what every large company, every brand should be looking at and frankly avoiding. And lots of phrases out there right now rolling around disruptive innovation and so forth, but whatever you want to call it, every brand, every company, every large organization must remain relevant or they simply die.



Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton