(By LACEY-ANN WISDOM)
From the beginning, Jade Guanchez-Leet’s talk was explosively engaging. Guanchez-Leet ‘06, started off her talk with giveaways that quickly captured the attention of the eager audience as she yelled, “anybody from NJ?” As a few hesitant hands went up, Guanchez-Leet picked a lucky conference attendee to win a free Coca-Cola giveaway. Soon everybody in the room wished they were an english major from ATL or Mexico, who had consumed a Sprite during the day (as give-aways were awarded on these conditions).
Guanchez-Leet quickly took us through the history of the marketing world. The 1980s were a time of mass marketing- in other words a golden era for advertising. The 1990s brought segmentation, followed by the individual brand marketing of the 2000s, and the personal networking and advertising of the 2010s. So what is today’s marketing challenge? “How do we manage the present but also invent the future?” Guanchez imparted this wisdom: the key is to operate in real- time. Listening and engaging in real time requires constant connectedness and quick reaction times. Coca-Cola remains connected through the Hub, a system that tracks, listens and analyzes any discussions about their products that are taking place on the web.
As the Q&A portion of the talk began, students didn’t hold back. “Are there any disadvantages to selling a product that is so widely consumed,” a student asked. Guanchez-Leet responded by saying that because Coca-Cola is such a well established company, many people have very strong opinions about its products. There are people on every end of the Coca-Cola spectrum. There are those who love Coke products and those who conversely want nothing to do with them. Nevertheless, countering any possible stagnation, Coca-Cola focuses on preserving and building upon its own unique qualities. “There are plenty of Coca-Cola imitators out there, but none of them taste quite as good as ours does.”