Official development assistance (ODA) investments in low and middle-income countries are increasingly relying on innovation to respond to and recover from the COVID19 epidemic. Efforts to reuse existing aid tactics and generate new products have been the focus of innovation in humanitarian and development responses to the epidemic (Chatzoglou and Chatzoudes, 2017). In order to meet the immediate requirements arising from COVID-19, as well as to re-orient the development and humanitarian sector for future difficulties, such innovative activities should become more mainstream across industries. This paper analyses how the Coca-Cola company can respond to creative change and innovation.
Repositioning in the Post-2020 Pandemic World
The coronavirus pandemic affected all sorts of individuals around the world. Coca-Cola is doing its part to stop the virus from spreading more while considering the needs of its employees, consumers, and the community. They are determined to prioritize safety for their customers and system associates since their organizational purpose is to ensure that they make a difference in individuals, their workplace, and society. The pandemic affected their way of operation thus, there is a need for repositioning to match the prevailing situation in the market. As a result, they are continually monitoring the case to adapt their responses and efforts.
There are issues and challenges that organizations are facing during strategic repositioning. High levels of uncertainty pose a significant threat to globalization since global trade, and the movement of individuals is being limited to contain the virus. Closing of borders and strict migration procedures have disrupted the supply chains of many organizations globally, including Coca-Cola. Organizations, therefore, need to ensure that people are provided with social protection for economic productivity to be maintained. The pandemic made individuals develop new beliefs and behaviors, thus causing uncertainty and additional fear, making them more suspicious. Change, creativity, and innovation can help companies like Coca-Cola in the process of repositioning. This will enable the firm to compete effectively in the current market since it will change the perception the market has of the products and services offered. The demand will eventually improve since sales have slowed down due to the pandemic.
Digital transformation is a driving factor for change and innovation that has played a part in managing and developing creativity as a strategy in the Coca-Cola company. The COVID-19 crisis caused a significant change in how businesses operate by forcing them to digitize interaction between clients and the supply chain and their internal operations (Abdul-Hamid, 2020, p.1). Digitization is a new practice that helps companies remain competitive in the current economic environment since customers shifted to online channels during the pandemic. Coca-Cola is adopting digital channels to reposition itself since the new era of business requires more innovation through e-tailing. Internet technology applications are needed to innovate to help shift from physical to online transactions.
An unusually high proportion of online customers are making their first forays into the world of online buying during this outbreak. There has been an increase in the number of people of all ages, not just Millennials, who prefer to shop while on the go (Tong and Wei, 2020, p. 284). Shoppers of all ages, regardless of generation, are evaluating their purchasing patterns as a result of the surge inconvenience. According to Obal and Gao (2020), Walmart’s digital sales were said to have nearly doubled for the first quarter of 2020 over the same period in 2019. Third-quarter sales accounted for over half of Walmart’s growth, and Walmart’s mobile app climbed to the top of Apple’s iTunes chart in its early stages (Obal and Gao, 2020, p. 247). The “click and collect” model is projected to continue growing in the United States and Western having already moved beyond groceries into technology and home renovation products in those regions (Obal and Gao, 2020). It is not surprising that customers prefer having their purchases delivered to their homes rather than waiting in line at a store’s checkout. This includes prioritizing packaging alternatives that can be sold over the internet, investing in digital images, increasing exposure in e-delivery grocers’ applications, and piloting digitally-enabled fulfillment operations.
When it comes to managing customer orders and deliveries, bottlers are implementing digital B2B solutions. Customers want the same contactless simplicity in making purchases. According to Makrides et al. (2020), more than 8,000 stores in the United States now have MyCoke digital ordering rolled out in the second quarter. Consumers in Latin America can now order beverages and groceries online and have them delivered directly to their homes through Coca-D2C Cola-Cola’s commerce experiment, Coke En Tu Hogar (Makrides et al., 2020, p. 4).
Increasing the Presence of the Brand Virtually
To ensure that the company’s brands have a good appearance online as they do physical stores, high-quality pictures, tapes, and product descriptions are employed. The goal of Coca-Cola is to create a digital shopping experience similar to the real thing as closely as possible to increase the number of people who make purchases. The organization uses the same advertising and shopper mechanism for the digital customers to buy (Saiu et al., 2020, p. 1). As a part of digital marketing, this includes making Coca-Cola products more visible on screens, optimizing material for search engines, and disseminating and promoting digital best practices around the globe (Oestreicher-Singer and Sundararajan, 2017, p. 7). Consumers are rapidly shifting to mobile food delivery, and restaurants and aggregators are working together to ensure that Coke beverages are prominently shown on digital menus.
Prompting Impulse Buying on Digital Path
For online impulse purchases, the Coca-Cola company uses customized offers, social commerce solutions, and food-and-beverage packages, all of which rely on the company’s extensive retail expertise (Djafarova and Bowes, 2021, p. 102). When it comes to their clients, Coca-Cola adapts to their changing habits and makes sure they are provided with the accurate competencies that they will appreciate. The future has always been here, but now it is approaching far more quickly than anticipated.
Creative Change and Innovation
Wealthy individuals and organizations have spearheaded the vast majority of innovative activities. Customers’ purchasing habits have changed dramatically due to the coronavirus epidemic, posing new challenges for companies and opening up new avenues for brand launches and marketing campaigns, as well as revenue management techniques. To ensure that its brands are “within a click’s reach of desire”, Coca-Cola is stepping up its efforts following COVID-19 (Oliveira and Queirós, 2020). The company, therefore, needs innovation for it to develop better. Lewin’s change model has been applied to help explain and analyze the organization’s change strategy.
Unfreezing structures in an organization is necessary since firms may contain people, values, and behaviors that may not be receptive to change (Terril and Batrouney, 2018). Unfreezing helps the company understand the necessity of change and why it is important and urgent for the organization’s long-term success. A solid ice block is a good metaphor for unfreezing in change management, and changing the shape of a solid object like an organization is impossible (Tong and Wei, 2020, p. 284).
Coca-Cola can consider prioritizing preferred brands and packaging since a change to a more at-home lifestyle is causing the firm to rebuild its supply chains to focus on core brands like Coca-Cola and SKUs like multipacks. The company is trying to keep its best-selling products in stock and postpone or scale back the launch of new products since consumers are sticking with well-known brands during these challenging times. The more SKUs a company has, the better it does in times like these when customers are focused on what is moving. The company’s strategy has been modified to fit the circumstances (Njoroge, 2017). Click and collect sampling initiatives are helping Coca-Cola North America promote new brands, including Coke Energy and AHA sparkling water.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted people’s lives, communities, livelihoods, and enterprises over the globe. While changes can be minor or major, they are essential since they result from an orderly process of diagnosis and modification followed by observation. Before executing a new strategy, it is important to thoroughly examine the company’s demands (Cummings et al., 2016, p. 33). People’s health, safety, and security have always come first at Coca-Cola, and they will continue to do so (Prideaux et al., 2020. p. 667.). They are also continually modifying their efforts and replies to the changing situation. During this challenging period, Coca-Cola protects its employees and serves their communities and customers.
The firm is committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of its employees. Workers at offices, production, distribution, and retail sites around the world are safe since health and safety guidelines have been properly observed by local teams (Rhodes, 2021, p. 124). There is prioritizing safety in production and distribution facilities as a way of complying with laid down regulations. Since the coronavirus epidemic, additional cleaning and sanitization procedures have been established in Coca-Cola and they have taken precautions to restrict visitors (Maani et al., 2021, p. 503). People-to-people interaction is reduced in some areas where delivery drivers do not leave their vehicles. Split shifts have been introduced in several production plants in order to prevent shift-to-shift contact. The organization has encouraged remote working and employees at its headquarters have been asked by management to work from home (Maani et al., 2021, p. 504). It intends to limit mass gatherings and increase social separation, as well as personnel based in Atlanta, the company’s worldwide headquarters, and elsewhere.
The Refreezing stage is a step in which alterations are made in the organization. The process may be lengthy since it may take a long time for employees to acclimatize to new practices and absorb the newly introduced culture, depending on the organization’s scope, size, and type (Cummings et al., 2016, p. 33). Coca-Cola had the toughest and most difficult second quarter in 2020 from its history, as stated by CEO James Quincy (Maani et al., 2021). However, the company was able to overcome it due to its concentration and flexibility. “Beverages for Life” strategic transformation is being accelerated by the crisis. Consumers will keep spending money on commercial beverages and request superior choices when markets reopen, necessitating a broad brand portfolio and a scalable delivery system to meet that need. As a result of COVID-19, the corporation is being compelled to accelerate a number of strategic initiatives.
Reskilling of workers is an initiative that Coca-Cola needs to know the individuals and positions to be retrained with the kind of skills to be trained on. The company has applied this to equip its workers with skills such as adaptability, cognitive ability, and digitization. Employers and employees alike must constantly adapt in order to keep up with the changing demands of their various businesses in today’s fast-paced economic world (Illanes et al., 2018). One of the most important aspects of this dynamic is not merely the usage of automation and artificial intelligence. Retraining and reskilling the workforce in the post-pandemic age to deliver new business models is the focus here instead (Caneiro et al., 2020). The firm was able to face this challenge head-on by strengthening employees’ key digital and cognitive talents, social and emotional skills, and flexibility and adaptability. In order for businesses to keep up with the times, they must boost their investment in training and reskill their workforces. As a result, they will be better able to endure any future interruptions that might occur.
Role of Corporate Governance in Creative Change and Innovation
The corporate governance of any organization plays a key role in the process of creative change and innovation. This is so since it is the management and shareholders that make decisions that align with company objectives. They help in pushing forward the rate of change in innovation and creativity while mitigating possible environmental issues during the process. The pandemic exposed corporate pressures that force them to make adjustments as they participate in innovation and change. They are forced to come up with different measures on how to treat their employees, build trust, manage the supply chain and respond to climate change. The following are some of the roles played by the corporate governance of Coca-Cola.
Assisting Retail and Foodservice Clients Adapt
Coca-Cola’s corporate governance is engaging with supermarket customers in an effort to transform supply chains, focusing on key brands and stock-keeping units (SKUs) as consumers shift their purchasing habits. Consumers are turning to established brands in uncertain times, and Coca-Cola is striving to keep its best-selling products available and delay or scale down the introduction of new brands (Einstein, 2020). As evidence of the company’s commitment to packaging in accordance with the needs of consumers, Murphy declared recent victories in some countries like South Africa.
Joining of the Digital and Physical Worlds
When it comes to getting ready for the explosive growth of e-commerce channels, Coca-Cola is prioritizing packaging choices that are well-suited for selling online (Agrawal et al., 2020). They are also ramping up their digital promotions, boosting their visibility in delivery grocers’ apps, and testing out new digitally-enabled fulfillment methods (Brahmbhatt, 2021, p. 105). Orders for drinks and foodstuffs from local stores can now be delivered to customers’ homes across Latin America via the B2C platform of the corporation.
Creating A More Controlled Innovation Framework
Corporate governance is responsible for creating an innovation framework that will be suitable for this post-pandemic era. For example, Coca-Cola continues to make worldwide investments, such as the ongoing opportunity for reduced-sugar goods in its brand Coke (Ireland et al., 2019, p. 290). After 18 weeks, AHA-flavoured sparkling water in the U.S. has already gained a double-digit percentage of the retail value and has much more potential because of its wide appeal (Djekic et al., 2021, p. 10). For example, the current establishment of touchless Coca-Cola dispensers has opened the avenue to innovations concentrating on contactless solutions, such as the recent introduction of touchless fountain dispensers (White et al., 2020). In the wake of the recent epidemic of coronavirus, the company has increased its efforts to simplify its beverage portfolio, eliminating under-performing “zombie” brands and changing its innovation pipeline (Antwi, 2020). In the wake of this, the company has restricted its focus to a smaller number of larger, more relevant offers with the potential to expand into a number of different markets.
Firming Revenue Growth Management (RGM) And Implementation Abilities
Quincey said that customers are increasingly looking for beverages they can buy at costs they can afford, emphasizing that RGM is more than just pricing. Corporate governance is working towards eroding the current economic crisis and adjusting to new purchasing habits, satisfying rising demand, and assisting restaurants in their shift to takeaway and delivery methods (Duarte, 2020). Global Vice President of Digital Transformation has been brought in to help unify and create a comprehensive e-commerce strategy for the company’s new digital transformation (Nkengasong et al., 2020). As a result of dealing with large food delivery intermediaries, more restaurants in North America have added value bundles to their menus.
The pandemic has been a unique time that has caused a shift in the business world. This created a need for businesses to innovate for them to respond to the changing needs in the market with technology playing a major role in this. During the process of implementing change in organizations, resistance problems usually arise and need to be addressed by the corporation and the management. Getting the people involved in the change has become a common strategy for corporate governance to cope with opposition to change. Understanding the underlying nature of resistance is the key to solving the problem since it is usually a shift in interpersonal connections that often comes along with technological progress.
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