Michael Samoszewski’s marketing resolutions

Coca-Cola's marketing VP on getting back to basics and finding a balance between functional and emotional.
It’s a new year – have you set your 2015 resolutions? Forget about losing weight, seeing friends and family more or reading a book a week (okay, keep those resolutions – all good things), what are your marketing resolutions? Here at strategy, we’re seriously hoping folks jump off the gift-vertising train (we counted no less than 12 before the holidays), steer clear of a prank-vertising redux and ditch the dad-is-a-buffoon stereotype once and for all.
But, what are marketers actually hoping to accomplish in 2015?  We’ve chatted with Connie Morrison, SVP marketing and innovation at Canada Bread and Chris Stamper, SVP corporate marketing, community and environment at TD. Today, we talk to Michael Samoszewski, VP sparking business unit at Coca-Cola to hear what he’s got on the go for 2015.

What are you hoping to accomplish in 2015?

[In 2015 we'll be] getting back to basics of marketing.

How so?

First, the consumer is the boss in everything we do, in particular in a large organization we get caught up with what looks great on PowerPoint, what works in other markets, and we get caught up in the gut feel, but we have to remind ourselves that the consumer is the number one boss and make sure we understand who that consumer is really well and make sure the actions we take resonate best with that consumer.

Second, content is king. Great stories get retold. It’s agnostic in the medium, so how do we continue to focus on creating amazing content? We know when we do, it gets spread naturally across a whole host of media where people talk about it more and more.

And the last component is [finding] a balance between functional versus emotional. I think at times we get really jazzed about the emotional side of the equation and we need to remind ourselves that consumers need to hear about the functional side of the business. For Coke, that means tasty, refreshing, uplifting. We’re taking it as a mandate to tell the functional side of the equation, and obviously not walk away from emotional [storytelling]. It needs to be balanced.

Why is getting back to basics important for Coke?

One of the things we’ve been really focused on is how to increase the size of our franchise – the number of users we have. If you look at the size of our business, if you look back at our history there’s a pretty consistent framework or formula for growth in our business. And it’s these three things [stated above]. The industry has had a tough year [in 2014], and as we look to re-trench ourselves, we went back and focused on those three things.