Touching on everything from millennial engagement, to modern networks, to the resonance and reach of "passionate storytelling," Coca-Cola's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi spoke on a range of powerful trends that are shaping modern marketing across the global economy.

Joe Tripodi with his NYAMA Hall of Fame award.
Joe Tripodi with his NYAMA Hall of Fame award.

Maryana Hordeychuk of Maryana Hordeychuk Photography

His remarks came Wednesday night in New York, as Tripodi was inducted into The New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA) Hall of Fame.

“These awards are never about one person,” Tripodi said as he accepted the honor, “and I have been blessed to work with the greatest marketing talent in the world over the course of my 35-plus year career.”

Tripodi joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2007 as Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer and is responsible for the worldwide team managing our brand in an increasingly digital and demanding consumer marketplace.

Engaging Millennials

During Wednesday’s ceremony, he reflected on the dynamic global marketplace, in which the Coca-Cola brand holds new meaning to millennials, who are “loyal consumers if we engage them on their own terms.” Millennial consumers – born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s – are dramatically transforming how companies interact with customers. They’ve introduced a new value system and expect brands to be transparent, authentic, organic and sustainable, Tripodi said.

To meet these expectations, “we have to pivot and evolve everything we do, reorganizing with new skillsets, tools and processes.” Our Company is doing so, Tripodi explained, by placing emphasis on creating rich content, managing conversations in real time, investing in experiential marketing and providing compelling digital storytelling platforms.

“Everything has to be shareable,” he said.

Efficient Networks and Wired Customers

Tripodi also discussed the evolution of marketing, saying companies will be poised for success if they have efficient internal, external and consumers networks.

NYAMA attendees
NYAMA Hall of Fame Induction attendees

With strong internal networks, companies take risks on a daily basis as part of the culture and also share their successes and failures. Our Share a Coke campaign in Australia, in which consumers customize cans and bottles, was arguably a risky venture, but created a ‘share-worthy’ campaign that engaged consumers through mobile conversations, Tripodi noted.

Today, Share a Coke is in China, Japan, Europe and Russia, and has now been combined with our FIFA activation. Still, Tripodi says there’s room for improvement, noting there’s opportunity to scale the program globally more quickly.

Tripodi also noted that marketing requires new ways of engagement with a consumer network that’s wired, active and expecting two-way conversations with brands.

We must also take new capabilities into account, he said, as the world of marketing requires new skillsets around big data and analytics, e-commerce and gaming, to name a few areas.

“Good marketing is still about the soul of your brand,” Tripodi said. “It requires passion, intellectual curiosity, spirit and optimism, risk taking and cultural leadership.”

Tripodi cited a number of other Coca-Cola initiatives, including our sponsorship of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the largest marketing program in Coca-Cola history.

“We’re calling it the World’s Cup as it truly belongs to all nations, cultures, backgrounds and sporting passions.”

The Hall of Fame honors, which are voted on by more than 500 marketing experts from the AMA, major agencies, academia and leading global companies, recognizes individuals who are making outstanding contributions to marketing through “innovations that had dramatic impact on business results”, while also boosting the profile and influence of the marketing function.

Additional 2014 inductees were Phillip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Beth Comstock, SVP and CMO at General Electric. Read a Forbes feature on the three inductees.