Esteban Foulkes and Roxana Paciente
Coca-Cola were faced with the challenge of increasing the impact of personal packaging in Argentina. A strategy, oriented for developing consumption rituals needed to be defined. The innovation was not based on a new product proposal but on the development of a new consumption experience that needed to strengthen the bond between the brand and the consumer and impact directly on the growth of the business.
Innovation is usually associated with an incredible breakthrough: the less something is expected, the more innovative it is seen as. Creative, original, disruptive, and unexpected are all concepts that dominate meaning when it comes to innovation. It is usually associated with brilliant ideas, an enlightening inspiration with the potential to change everything. Innovation resembles creativity, it is not by chance that the iconic image of innovation is the lighted bulb. However, innovation is more than that.
To us, innovation is a way of effectively responding to proposed business objectives. It may be amazing or it may be disarmningly simple. But what makes innovation successful is whether it favours the ability to reach the desired outcome.
The 3 stages of innovation
Creation is the key aspect of the innovation process. But in a strategic innovation process there are vital aspects to consider before and and after the creative stage.
The first stage is to define the “what for”: what is the final objective of a strategic intervention process on the market? This step is the strategic stage.
The ultimate objective of innovation is always business growth. A good diagnostic and clear strategic vision are the key elements in the success in the innovation process. In other words, a good reading of the conditions and possibilities, and an accurate picture of the desired outcomes should be the foundations of any innovation.
Once the objective has been clearly defined and the opportunity has been detected, a brief for the creative stage is developed.
New ideas can be developed at multiple levels: product, packaging, selling strategy, or even how the product is consumed. The definition of what to innovate on is included in the strategic brief.
Once designed, the new proposal gains value as far as it is appropriate for the consumer. Thus, the adoption stage comes next. Here, the objective is for the new design to become a part of the reality. A good idea which is not adopted by the market remains only at that, a good idea. By contrast, a good idea that changes people’s behaviour is an innovation. The adoption stage is focused on the bond between the consumer and the brand, and on the role that the new proposal can take to enrich and strengthen this relationship.
The strategic stage defines the desired objective, the creative stage defines the tools to achieve it, and the adoption stage strives for ensuring that the consumer adopts this proposal.
For The Coca-Cola Company South Latin, the diagnostic and the objectives were clear. The impact of the personal Coca-Cola packaging on the Argentine, Peruvian and Chilean markets was lower than in other Latin American markets, and the opportunity of increasing that impact would directly affect business growth.
The challenge was to sell a greater number personal package units. In this case, the challenge in the innovation was not focused on developing a new product or packaging, but on changing people’s behaviour, on developing new consumption habits.
Behaviour Change, Ritual Development
All marketing strategies seek to modify the market to some degree. Out of all the possible interventions, changing a habit is one of the most difficult interventions we can propose.
A habit is a repeated behaviour which ends up becoming a natural response for the consumer, in many cases people are not entirely aware of their habits. We do what we do without even noticing it. Our routines organise us, these habits simplify our daily behaviours. We become especially aware of the value of the behaviours that have become natural for us, only when we lose them. Moving house, for example, brings to the fore everything we had solved and now have to figure out again.
But habits can be valued for reasons other from the aspect they solved. In fact, the most valued habits are those we need to do and we don’t know why: the daily rituals. Unlike the routines that help us achieve results, instrumental habits, rituals have a value in themselves, irrespective of the result we achieve through performing them. Brushing your teeth is an instrumental habit. We brush our teeth to have clean teeth, to avoid bad breath. On the other hand, making popcorn before watching a movie at home is part of a ritual. It is a behaviour which has value in itself; there is an emotional and irrational value involved.
Rituals are necessary because they reaffirm us; they confirm we are who we are. They are identitary practices.
Our daily routine is full of rituals. For a brand, being part of these daily rituals represents a double value. Apart from the certainty of achieving consumption frequency, there is an additional value that is to be a part of fundamental and recurring scenarios in the lives of the target.
Our challenge consisted of developing a new Coca-Cola consumption ritual, associated to the personal package. With that objective, the first step consisted in determining at which moments in the lives of each main target a new ritual could be inserted. We explored multiple daily situations in the different target groups, individual and social, at home and away from home, in leisure time and throughout production activities, in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, standing still or on the move, and many more. Through this we spotted the most convenient opportunity.
Young adults spend little time at home and they are busy a considerable amount of that time, they have many responsibilities. Some of them were used to alternating a moment of disconnection with production activities. That moment was ideal to develop the ritual. An individual moment, a leisure moment, with no strings or obligations attached. A moment to clear the mind. A moment to indulge oneself.
This gap in their schedule gave us the opportunity was to formalise that moment and provide value to the personal packaging in order to maximise that moment’s reward. The solution was to develop a platform called MIMOMENTO COCA COLA: an invitation for each person to experience their own individual pleasure moment at home, with a small cold bottle of Coca-Cola in their hands. In Spanish, “Mimomento” is a play on words combining “mimo” (Spanish for “pamper”) with “momento” (Spanish for “moment”), which invites people to generate a space for gratification, reward. A pause for pleasure.
To complete the innovation cycle, the strategy had to consider an efficient activation of the proposal. The idea has value only if it can motivate and start installing a new behaviour.
The construction of the ritual needed strong work, articulated in two levels:
- Aspirationality of the scene. Generating desire, a consumption image. We call this “mental activation”. This level’s objective is to make consumers see themselves in the scene.
- Behaviour facilitation. This includes everything necessary to materialise the scene. We call this “operative activation”. This level’s objective is the materialisation of the scene.
Even though in our markets the Traditional Channel (M&P) is the biggest channel for beverages, we decided to activate Mimomento in the Modern Channel (Hiper & Supermarkets) due to its fit with the key target (Adults, ABC1C2 SEL) and the shopper objective: reposition & stock up.
Our key asset to raise awareness and communicate the campaign was the pack itself. The objective was to build the physical space for single serve packs in the fridge. For that we developed a 3 type multipack strategy with differentiated roles, but all with the Mimomento image:
- An offer pack for massive volume building
- A convenience pack which was a novelty: the fridge pack to build cold “real estate” for the single serve pack in the fridge
- And a value added pack for experience building.
The strength of the concept allowed people to build the consumption imaginary just with a single image, without the need of an explanation.
For the launching, the special activation was delivered to the outlets to promote purchase and repetition, basically with new POCs (point of contacts) and developing special rack for the fast lane (impulse zone)
96% of shoppers would probably and definitely buy the multipack again. The message was clearly transmitted (74% T2B) and the target identified with Mimomento through the emotional value of single serve.
Changing a habit is not easy. Installing a ritual is even more difficult. We are sure that the strategy implemented was the first step in that path. The execution was very valued among consumers and the message reinforced the brand’s initial proposal. But, above all, an innovation creative process based on the needs of the business was developed, which motivated appropriation by the consumer.
Esteban Foulkes is Business Intelligence Director at BMC and Roxana Paciente, is Single Serve Development Director at The Coca-Cola Company