How personalized Coke bottles became a big data strategy

By Folake Dosu  |  December 4, 2018


Remember the personalized Coke bottles from the popular “Share a Coke” campaign? Fin 24 reports on the beverage maker, with the help of Experian, turned the novelty into a big data success story.

Under CEO Brian Cassin’s leadership, Experian has expanded its focus on providing credit references to meeting data and software needs for enterprise businesses looking to monetize their customer information without incurring criticism from privacy advocates.

In the case of Coca-Cola, the conglomerate tapped Experian’s expertise to find the most popular names among likely soda drinkers in Britain in order to generate the names to print in the style of its logo for these specialty bottles. To complete the request, Experian analyzed various data points for the 19- to 29-year-old demographic.

“We have the capabilities to actually do more with the combination of technology, data and software,” Cassin said to Fin 24 in an interview in Experian’s London office.

The “Share a Coke” campaign is running in more than 100 countries and has been a runaway success, propelling increased market share for the brand. 

According to Fin 24, other large Experian customers include Spain’s Banco Santander SA and Fannie Mae in addition to companies in utilities and telecom. The firm sees the value of its data crunching for smaller customers as well. “Companies further down the chain are going to require a lot of help,” Cassin said.

This shift in strategy has helped Experian fend off fears of a Brexit slump and enjoy a stock surge as its revenue continues to climb.

"If you have more and more data, it doesn’t necessarily help you unless you understand what to do with it. That’s where I think we come in."

“If you have more and more data, it doesn’t necessarily help you unless you understand what to do with it. That’s where I think we come in,” Cassin said.

Among the tools that Experian has rolled out are Ascend, which forecasts customer behavior using AI and machine learning, and PowerCurve, which predicts customer receptiveness to new products.

Experian has not abandoned its credit-scoring roots, which it still runs. As a company that secures vast amounts of personal data, Experian is vulnerable to hackers. The fallout from the recent hacking of its rival Equifax illustrated that risk. Cybersecurity remains a top priority.

“Nobody needs to be told anymore about how important this is,” said Cassin. “You’re never done.”

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