Damiano Marabelli: leading customer centric innovation

The Coca-Cola Company's Damiano Marabelli discusses why leaders should place customer centricity front and centre

Damiano Marabelli
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Central & Eastern Europe Business Unit CIO

In charge of the company’s IT operations, Damiano Marabelli is Central & Eastern Europe Business Unit CIO, “I joined TCCC as ‘Central & South European BU IT Client Engagement Director’ at the beginning of 2013.

Then I was asked to structurally merge the IT operations of the above BU with Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia BU; creating the second biggest BU outside North America: the Central & Eastern Europe Business Unit (CEE BU) with its headquarters in Athens”.

Within his role Marabelli is guided by the objectives set by Barry Simpson, Senior VP and Chief Information Officer at TCCC, who two years ago articulated a digital transformation program known as ‘Digitizing for Growth’.

The three main objectives of the program are: ‘digitizing for the Consumer’, ‘digitizing for the Customer’ and ‘digitizing the Enterprise’. To achieve those aims, TCCC is focused on continued investment in digital marketing, ecommerce platforms, scalable sales and commercial technology.

TCCC’s unique relationship with its bottling partners is an important element for its digital transformation. known as “The Coca-Cola System” the network involves TCCC supplying beverage products to the bottling partners which then add other ingredients, package the products and distribute them through four main market channels.

“TCCC invests heavily in category development, both creating innovative packaging solutions and fostering brand development,” says Marabelli. “Given its multi-segmented shopper and customer base, TCCC must spend heavily on market research - it’s necessary for TCCC to stay ahead of changing market trends, consumption behaviour and competitive tactics.”

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These unique relationships extend into the company’s joint IT projects. Introduced in the last few years the company has implemented a Price-Profit-Volume Simulator and Assortment Optimisation alongside Microsoft and McKinsey to build scenarios and volume projections for profitability and margin improvements.

The essence of Revenue Growth Management (RGM) to maximise the understanding of consumers’ perception of product value and accurately aligning product prices, placement and availability with each customer segment.”

Consumer-facing technology has also been a focus for the company. During 2019 the brand new Coca-Cola app was active in 17 CEE markets, fully leveraging the business unit’s digital marketing ecosystem.

“The mobile experience covered by the app involves user-generated content, loyalty and promotions - users upload pictures and unlock words to build stories by participating in promotions and earning points to be exchanged for digital prizes. As a result of that, more than 1.3 million consumers have registered in our consumer database, 1.4 million stories have been uploaded to the app and more than 4.3 million pin codes have been redeemed - corresponding with the same amount of drinks being purchased.”

The delivery of these types of systems stems from a reimagined role for the IT function, which Marabelli traces back to the previous CIO and Vice President Ed Steinike.

Marabelli remembers the words of Steinike, who previously said: “It’s all about people. Just like Coca-Cola’s marketing organisation, which hired some really smart people in the field of digital and interactive marketing, we started to recruit talented IT people who were more entrepreneurial, a little more strategic in their thinking, and who connected better with what marketing was trying to achieve.”

This culture has been reiterated by Corporate CIO Barry Simpson, with Marabelli taking a number of lessons from him.

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