Shanghai Expo with Coca-Cola – Day 2 of 4 (morning)

Me at the Coca-Cola Global Innovation & Technology Centre in Shanghai
Me at the Coca-Cola Global Innovation & Technology Center in Shanghai

On the second day, after breakfast at the Hyatt in-house restaurant, Aroma, we headed to the Coca-Cola ‘s Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITC) in Shanghai.

There, we were provided some insights into Coca-Cola’s research and development initiatives, particularly in the field of eco-friendly and sustainable manufacturing.

We also sat through an intense bloggers conference at the same venue, whereby Coca-Cola invited a host of global speakers to share with us marketing insights. My day job is as a marketeer for online portal, www.omy.sg – hence this was a rewarding session for me as I get to learn some of the marketing strategies of one of the top brand name in the world, Coca-Cola.

One of my key take-away is to think long-term when it comes to branding and marketing. It may seems common sense, but when you are engulfed in day-to-day battle to meet various KPIs and ROIs, the long term branding and marketing goals tend to take a back seat. Running contests and giving away prizes are effective hit-and-run marketing to raise figures in the short-run, but they tend to do nothing for your brand in the long run. I need to bear this in mind the next time I am executing a campaign.

Another key take-away from this trip is that Coca-Cola deems China as a very important market in the near future and are already working ahead, channeling resources to capture this emerging market. Just by sheer size with a population of over 2 billion, the China market simply cannot be ignored by any brand that claims to have a global presence.

The other blogger who went to Shanghai with me, Walter Lim, have written five very comprehensive and detailed posts on the conference and other marketing-related insights. You can read his posts via the links below. It’s better to leave the niche marketing topics to the expert (Walter is the Marketing Director at the National Art Gallery under the National Heritage Board).

Learning Coca-Cola’s Secret Success Formula
The Impact of Macroforces on Coke’s Strategy
Coca-Cola’s Brand-sational World Expo Pavillion
How Brands Can Apply Digital Communications
The 4 Rs of Coca-Cola’s Social Media Strategy

For a junior marketeer like me, I will focus on the “experiential marketing experience” that Coca-Cola provided me with through this trip. I am now a convert and vow to drink  Coca-Cola over Pxxxi any time. 🙂

I will let the images below the the captions do the talking versus a heavy chunk of text.

My breakfast
My breakfast
On board the bus to GITC
On board the bus to GITC
Our pretty guide, Young Yang Yang (her real name)
Our pretty guide, Young Yang Yang (her real name)
GITC entrance
GITC entrance
Happy to reach our destination
Happy to reach our destination

Upon arriving at GITC, we were warmly welcomed by Brenda and Nancy from the local Coca-Cola office. Both of them gave us a tour of the building premise while explaining to us about Coca-Cola’s operation in China and their green initiatives.

There are some 600 Coca-Cola China associates and the Pacific Group’s R&D team housed in the GITC. The building is also one of the few “green building” in China, boasting environmental-friendly features like rooftop solar panels, rainwater harvesting facilities and wind turbines-powered street lamps (Captain Planet will be proud of this building).

Spotted these wind-turbine-powered street lamps
Spotted these wind-turbine-powered street lamps

Walter’s post has a detailed walk-through of the building. Essentially, we  visited their R&D labs where the bottle designs are incubated and produced as well as the koLab collaboration centre which looks at Coca-Cola’s collaborations with their customers.

Due to commercial sensitivity, photography was not allowed in the labs. Sorry guys, you have to be there to see it. The koLab was quite an experience, starting with a 360 degree wall-to-wall video screening, followed by a sliding table top, where Coca-Cola beverages from around the world mysteriously popped up for our sampling pleasure. The sliding walls then opened up a large alley which individually featured various fully-stocked mock up Coca-Cola retailers and distributors like convenience stores, restaurants, bars, and even karaoke rooms.

At the GITC lobby
At the GITC lobby – the large oil painting featured China athletes like Liu Xiang and Yao Ming at the Beijing Olympics
Another picture of the sprawling lobby
Another picture of the sprawling lobby
Brenda from the local Coca Cola office greeted us once we arrived
Brenda from the local Coca Cola office greeted us once we arrived
Brenda and Nancy from the local Coca-Cola office
Brenda and Nancy from the local Coca-Cola office
Bubbly team of Australian mommy bloggers
Bubbly team of Australian mommy bloggers
The three friendly Japanese bloggers
The three friendly Japanese bloggers
The Singapore team (L to R): Walter, me and June from Coca-Cola
The Singapore team (L to R): Walter, me and June from Coca-Cola
The filled bottles represent Coca-Cola's 12% share in the total China market
The filled bottles represent Coca-Cola’s 12% share in the total China market
The remaining 88% of the market to capture
The remaining 88% of the market to capture
The captured market
The captured market
Australian blogger, Sunny Mommy, showing her sunny side :)
Australian blogger, Sunny Mommy, showing her sunny side 🙂
The Coca-Cola "Live Positively" logo is everywhere
The Coca-Cola “Live Positively” logo is everywhere
Employee feedback boxes - I like the round friendly-looking feedback cards
Employee feedback boxes – I like the round friendly-looking feedback cards
There are many designer bottles like these, each represent a Chinese province
There are many designer bottles like these, each represent a Chinese province
I see Eason Chan
I see Eason Chan
Auditorium
Auditorium
Chinese people love slogans and this is felt in the Coca-Cola China office too
Chinese people love slogans and this is felt in the Coca-Cola China office too
Water conservation posters in the male washroom
Water conservation posters in the male washroom
Staff library for ideas
Staff library for ideas
The tea room for enjoying and researching on tea
The tea room for enjoying and researching on tea
Nancy explaining to us the importance of the tea beverage in Asian markets
Nancy explaining to us the importance of the tea beverage in Asian markets
Really comfortable looking relax corner
Really comfortable looking relax corner
Bloggers plunging in
Bloggers plunging in
One of the many rest/waiting areas
One of the many rest/waiting areas
Office cubicles
Office cubicles
Tried a bottle of this newly launched yoguart drink with fruit pulps - love it
Tried a bottle of this newly launched yoguart drink with fruit pulps – love it
I love  these "Live Positively" cushions
I love these “Live Positively” cushions
Digital signboard to welcome the bloggers, how flattering!
Digital signboard to welcome the bloggers, how flattering!
The top secret koLab - there's lots of cool stuff, but no photography allowed
The top secret koLab – there’s lots of cool stuff, but no photography allowed
Me with a friendly Coca-Cola staff at the koLab
Me with a friendly Coca-Cola staff at the koLab

After the tour, it was time for lunch. We headed to the GITC canteen where a buffet spread was already prepared for us. The Coca-Cola folks are great host and we all had a hearty meal. I was delighted to try some of their beverages which are not available in Singapore, particularly the funky “Sprite Ice Tea”.

Garden with the middle of GITC
Garden in the middle of GITC
A koi pond
A koi pond
Staff canteen
Staff canteen
Me trying to blend in as a Coca-Cola staff in the canteen
Me trying to blend in as a Coca-Cola staff in the canteen
Spotted this cool bottle design at the canteen
Spotted this cool bottle design at the canteen
A buffet spread was prepared for our lunch in the canteen
A buffet spread was prepared for our lunch in the canteen
My heavy lunch
My heavy lunch
Sprite ice tea! The combination seems weird, but it tastes surprisingly good.
Sprite ice tea! The combination seems weird, but it tastes surprisingly good.
The Hong Kong bloggers enjoying their lunch
The Hong Kong bloggers enjoying their lunch

After lunch, it was time for the heavy stuff – the bloggers conference on Innovation, Urbanisation and New Trends.

The host very thoughtfully provided translation for various languages, in view of the international group of bloggers. We were also presented with some cool Coca-Cola premiums to take home.

My name plate
My name plate
Translation ear-pieces - I feel like I am sitting in a UN conference!
Translation ear-pieces – I feel like I am sitting in a UN conference!
Translators in their boxes
Translators in their boxes
Live Positively notebook - gave this to my sister
Live Positively notebook – gave this to my sister
Coca-Cola video pen
Coca-Cola video pen
Coca-Cola can thumb drive
Coca-Cola can thumb drive
I was seated in the same table with Walter and June
I was seated in the same table with Walter and June

The first speaker was Tom LaForge, Director, Knowledge & Insights, Coca-Cola. Tom’s job is to identify trends, foresee the future, and position Coca-Cola accordingly. He spoke on the impact of eight macroforces on Coca-Cola and the respective responses. You can read this post by Walter for the whole deal. In summary, consumers nowadays are more environmental conscious and has a general dislike of cold, big corporations. Hence the launch of the Coca-Cola’s “Live Positively” campaign, various green and eco-friendly initiatives in identifying with the consumers.

Tom LaForge
Tom LaForge

The second speaker was Deidre McGlashan, CEO, wwwins Isobar, Greater China. She spoke on digital communications in Asia, with examples from major brands like Toyota, LEGO and Nokia. You can read this post by Walter for the whole deal.

Deidre Mcglashan
Deidre McGlashan

The third speaker was Natalie Johnson, Manager, Digital & Social Media, Coca-Cola. She spoke on the company’s 4Rs in marketing Review, Respond, Record and Redirect. Again, you can read this post by Walter for the whole deal. Natalie’s segment was the most useful to me as it has the most relevance with my day job, marketing a web portal.

Natalie Johnson
Natalie Johnson

After listening to three speakers, there was a blogger panel involving Stacey Sullaphen from Australia, Chen Qiang from China, Celia Cheng from Hong Kong, Motohiko Tokuriki from Japan, Kum Ran Son from Korea, Katika Saiseni from Thailand, and of course, Walter Lim from Singapore. Each gave a short self-introduction and answered questions posted by the moderator, Natalie and the floor.

Bloggers panel
Bloggers panel

Walter Lim’s self introduction:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/-ZEUicu5Ndc&hl=en_US&fs=1&”]

The last speaker for the day was Piers Fawkes, CEO, PSFK who spoke on innovation and sustainability.

Piers Fawkes
Piers Fawkes
The Singapore team's GITC parting shot
The Singapore team’s GITC parting shot

We had some time for mingling, networking and exchanging of ideas after that. This concluded the first half of my second day in Shanghai. Stay tuned for my next post on our evening at Xintiandi  (新天地) where we met the trio from Expedition 206.

My previous posts on Shanghai with Coca-Cola:

Shanghai Expo with Coca-Cola – A Preview

Day 1 – Arrive Shanghai, The Bund

Shanghai Expo Express (my paper travel story)

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3 comments
  1. Wow! Thanks for the comprehensive coverage in lovely pictures of what we experienced that day. I certainly couldn’t stop nattering about my Coke Shanghai encounters, especially how cutting edge their management philosophies and business strategies are. Would be great to go to Atlanta one day. 🙂

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