Case Study


How can companies make sure their consumer insight data has the biggest impact internally? Coca-Cola Western Europe conducted an experiment to find out.

13th January 2020

It’s vital that what we learn about consumers gets into the heads and hearts of all our colleagues.

Begonia Fafian, Coca-Cola Western Europe

Understanding what consumers are thinking, feeling and buying is vital to any business.

Coca-Cola’s Western European business unit relies on a constant flow of data and insight from consumer panels, tracker surveys and more than 200 ad hoc studies every year, but this wealth of knowledge was not having the desired internal impact.

The insight team shares results of studies on the intranet and via email, and stakeholders for specific projects are always interested in the results, but when it comes to the rest of the business, “they never, ever read the email”, says Western Europe knowledge and insights director Begonia Fafian.

Working with Keen as Mustard Marketing, Coca-Cola designed an experiment to reveal why those emails were going unread – and establish how to change that.

Begonia says: “The problem we had is a common one for big organisations. People in different areas didn’t have a clear picture of who each other was or what their jobs involved.

Nor did they have the confidence – or the time, for that matter – to communicate what they knew in an impactful way.”

Getting to know your audience

The first step in any such test is to identify your audiences. Coca-Cola’s could be broadly divided into immediate stakeholders, the wider company and the senior leaders.

The problem group was the one in the middle: more than 400 people in departments including marketing, finance and digital, who were generally unaware of what their insight colleagues were up to.

The insight team took time to get to know these colleagues before segmenting them according to how much detail they needed, and whether their outlook was short-term or long-term. They then took results from recent consumer studies, and came up with six different ways of sharing them.

Changing the channel?

Some channels were straightforward: an HTML email with images and text, a plain text email and PowerPoint presentations – while others were more elaborate: animated videos, talking head videos, and an infographic.

The winner – perhaps surprisingly – was the humble HTML email, which got the most clickthroughs and the joint-best feedback. Plus, it had the lowest cost per click. The video versions took second and third place for clickthroughs.

By some distance, PowerPoint received the fewest clickthroughs and the poorest user feedback. The results show that simply attaching slides to an email isn’t enough – but more showy techniques are not always worth the effort.

Armed with a better understanding of what works for the broad audience, the company now shares consumer research findings more effectively, and makes targeted use of tools like video and infographics for the topics and audiences where they will have most impact.

Participants in the experiment who said they would benefit from regular updates from the insight team.

Coca-Cola’s experiment also highlights the power of a methodical approach to optimising comms: segmenting the internal audience and then comparing techniques in parallel to identify the best way forward.

Begonia reflects: “Consumers are at the centre of everything we do, so it’s vital that what we learn about them gets into the heads and hearts of all our colleagues. This work helps us to achieve that.”

This project was presented at the 2018 congress of global research association ESOMAR, and is described fully in the paper The great internal communications experiment.


It’s vital that what we learn about consumers gets into the heads and hearts of all our colleagues.

Begonia Fafian, Coca-Cola Western Europe

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