Value co creation in beverage industry

the case of Coca-Cola and Heineken and the future of healthy beverages

The battle between companies and organizations to attract and keep their customers are become increasingly fierce. Co-creation design has been proved to be a potential market trend by the fast growing market volume of ideation contest, and the volume is expected to reach 5.5 billion euros in 2015 (Dervojeda et. al, 2014).

In beverage industry, there are already many successful business innovation attempt conducted by large companies. Two cases, which would be detailedly illustrated here, are Heineken and Coca-Cola.

Coca-cola utilizes crowdsourcing as a tool in its innovation strategy, combined with social media, Coca-cola harness the power of the Internet by making use of user-generated content. Cooperated with eYeka, the company started an online co-creation activity gathering ideas expressing its brand promise ‘Energizing refreshment’ in the forms of videos, photographs, animations etc. At the end, the company gets a vast amount of contents of high enough quality that could be use a future marketing campaign for Coca. The productivity was 9 times higher than that of single traditional means according to Leonardo O’Grady, who is Asia Pacific regional director for sparkling and activation platforms. But the cost is only a flat fee including tapping into the creative community, responding to any questions and the winner’s prize.

Heineken won Co-Creation Award in crowdsourcing category with its Open Design Explorations project in 2011. The project aimed to develop a relevant and impactful understanding of club design by understanding the needs of clubbers and co-creating a visionary nightclub concept to enhance the nightlife experience. To achieve this goal, 120 young clubbers are selected as participants in the consumer consulting board serving as the inspiration point for the designers, by sharing their previous experience in current-existing clubs, their opinions on clubs and ideal nightlife expectation and giving feedback on the designer’s draft sketches. At the end, the creative designers, the managers and the consumers cooperated build a live concept club space in Milan during the Design Week. Besides, in best-practice markets including Netherlands, the UK, Czech Republic and Poland, this project has led to a sales increase of Heineken of up to 40% (InSites Consulting report on Heineken, 2012).

Some healthy food and beverage marketing experts believe that consumer involvement is vital when developing nutritious and functional beverage brand concepts. Since when it comes to healthy categories products, a paradigm shift arises by nature. Traditional beverage paradigm was based on mass-production, while the key success factor of healthy-oriented trends lies on starting and ending with the consumers, requiring ‘local’ and ‘fresh’. To do this, beverage industry giant Coca-cola, as a soft drink brand, acquisites Innocent to accomplish ‘healthy’.

The action taken by Coca-cola also reveals the fact that healthy beverages is not a standing still category, instead, it is evolving and tends to reach “a state of fusion”. But no matter how it is evolving, the essence is blending healthy beverages market from different categories to meet consumer’s demand for healthy, so the core value is customer’s needs. That’s why healthy beverage might have a bright future in co-creation design.


Design for Innovation, Co-creation design as a new way of value creation, Business Innovation Observatory

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