Design to Grow

Discover Coca-Cola’s secret recipe to success.

Marty Mcfly from the 1985 movie Back to the Future, was taken back to 1955. Obviously, everything seems so different to what he was used to, but one thing stayed unchanged- the bottle of Coca-Cola. Funny enough, even thirty years after the movie had been made, the Coke bottle still hasn’t changed much.

You may believe that an item that hasn’t changed much in the duration of 60 years would be quite outdated, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A part of Coca-Cola’s success lies in the fact that it was made to remain the same and for its all-present design. However, even though their main item has remained virtually identical the whole time, they have been very innovative in other aspects.

Coca-Cola is dexterous and it’s balanced, which at first may seem like a difficult feat to accomplish, but in this text, we’ll outline how your company can do the same thing.

You will find out:

  • How a single jingle that only holds five notes has been used over and over;
  • How come no one has a blackberry;
  • How come Coca-Cola asks you to help market their items.

Good design is the key to company growth.

In our heads, “design” is synonymous to “art”. Despite us used to viewing design as a type of artistic chase, often times, it couldn’t be further from reality. Although beautiful art is biased, all of us can agree on what differentiates a solid design from a poor one.

Whenever a painter makes a picture, we end up comparing it to the type of art that we’re accustomed to or we claim it to be unique and creative and then conclude whether it’s good or not. The same does not apply to design. Look all around you; notice how everything that you see, whether it’s your coffee mug or the phone that you’re using to read this, was created for a reason.

The pervasiveness of design has honed our acute and overall perception of what a solid design is. For instance, a site that lets you purchase something in just several clicks is properly designed, correct? In that same vein, those websites that make you fill out one form after another don’t have a good design. In other words, a good design functions the way we’d like it to and does so in an effective manner.

The same thing applies to your business as well. Although there are a lot of ways that you can approach design from a business perspective, it’s beneficial to begin by taking it into consideration based on what’s visible and what isn’t. The things that are visible are what your customers are able to see like your items or your customer service. Invisible things would be the things that your customers can’t see such as your processes and partnerships.

A solid company design puts together both the visible and the invisible and the best example of this is Coca-Cola.

When this legendary brand had to remake their Minaqua bottled water over in Japan, they had put together both visible and invisible features. They started off by doing their research where they had found out that Japanese people have a strong desire to recycle and live in pretty small houses. As a result, their processes as well as the product had been remade to work better with the information that they had found out.

Coca-Cola ended up creating a small and light plastic bottle that could be twisted in order to create the most storage space possible as well as make it simple to recycle. Also, it looked good and had a solid invisible design, thus boosting their item sales immensely. This example proves how we shouldn’t ever underestimate how important design is.

Simplicity and standardized quality are what makes a company scalable.

In order for a start-up to gain success, one of the first characteristics they need is flexibility. Young businesses can’t ever stop experimenting and need to always look for their most perfect market. However, as soon as your firm pinpoints its market niche, flexibility needs to be changed out for a new resistance of some sort.

Any business that is looking to scale needs to be able to make their items and processes standardized, but, at the same time, they want to make sure that the highest quality is continuously supported. As a result, the company will turn into one that’s recognizable that way it can scale fast and efficiently.

Let’s take a look at how Coca-Cola tried to scale their business via simple, yet quality designs, which ended up increasing their growth, in order to make things clearer.

Take, for instance, the counter bottle, which had been created in 1915. During that time, Coca-Cola had to grow, therefore, they increased their item awareness through a competition revolving around creating a never-before-done bottle design. The one that had one was based on a cocoa root and how turned into one of today’s most recognized items around the globe.

Afterward, think about their logo. By 1923, they had already been able to assimilate their curly script, which has remained the same since the time on every item and marketing campaign.

Lastly, take for instance, their Coca-Cola Franchise Business Model. Back in 1899, they had wanted to widen their item so they made a deal with a couple of businessmen who were given the right to purchase the rights to bottle Coca-Cola for only a dollar. This helped give birth to the franchise system.

While bottlers were able to purchase the rights to bottle the drink in then sell it in their respective locations, Coca-Cola was able to expand worldwide at considerable speed. In addition, through their already set bottle shape and logo, their brand could be recognized anywhere, making it famous, but most of all, popular.

Therefore, the next time that you’re thinking about putting forth another difficult management system, sun-logo, or even another selection of items, rethink the choice that you made. Why don’t you go the simplicity and quality route? After all, that is the secret behind scaling.

Businesses face complex problems, which require targeted solutions.

It’s no secret that both standardization as well as simplicity as important in order to scale with success. That being said, your company still can’t sit around around! Indeed, it is more dangerous to create a business today than it ever has been. How come?

In the post-Internet world that we live in today, any smart kid is able to create an app directly from their bedroom that is able to entirely undermine all of your hard-earned success. Worst of all, you won’t ever see it coming. Today, business is the combination of numerous complex relationships that help outline how the system will act, but at the same time, it is virtually impossible to predict what will actually occur.

As a result, companies are faced with more and more incredibly difficult issues and those issues can’t be solved with just some formula. Every single one of them needs a narrowed down and thought out answer.

Coca-Cola has dealt with a lot of those incredibly difficult issues, but one of their biggest revolves around water. Clean water is one of the most important assets for them, their factories, as well as their staff, therefore, anything that messes with its supply ends up being a huge threat such as climate change, bad infrastructure, as well as significant increases in population growth, to name a few.

Since there are so many moving parts, the issue of clean water is very intricate and thus needs a targeted solution. Therefore, what did Coca-Cola end up doing?

They have stated that they will strive to become water-neutral in the next decade. If they are able to bring back the same amount of water that they use to supply it then they will be able to make sure that both their staff and communities get enough water.

This type of solution needs to have agility if they want to make sure it happens before it ends up being too late. However, what does agility actually look like? Keep on reading.

Stay agile by experimenting fearlessly.

During the new millennium’s first decade, if you had a cool cell phone, then it was most likely a BlackBerry. Throughout 2004 to 2010, BlackBerry had half of the market share, so what ended up happening?

During their last five years, their popularity had seen a huge downfall as they were getting beat by Apple’s and Sony’s smartphones. How was a previous market leader able to make that occur? They had to have seen their rival’s gradual rise in popularity. So, why did they not act on it?

The thing is, BlackBerry was a business that was founded on scale versus agility, therefore, they weren’t able to adapt to their environment which was changing. As a result, they ended up paying a big price for it. So, how can you make sure that you are always adapting? Experimenting. Do it, even if you believe that you’ll end up failing the first time.

Take, for instance, Norm Larsen. He had tried 40 times to create a substance that was able to keep nuclear missiles from rusting and yet he still wasn’t able to figure it out.

Instead, he ended up creating a substance that was able to stop doors from squeaking, clean the strings of guitars, and get rid of tomato stains on clothes. All of his failures helped him create today’s infamous WD40.

If you’d like to make room for some experiments similar to Larsen’s, you need to think about taking up modular system. This type of system is similar to a set of Lego’s; you put together fixed pieces that can be combined in a number of different ways in order to create various results.

Coca-Cola shows us how great modular systems are through their jingle. Made back in 2006, their jingle only has five basic notes. This was just enough for it to turn into a success as it was what got Coca-Cola into people’s head whenever it would be heard.

Since it was modular, the notes worked with virtually any style. For instance, when South Africa had held the 2010 FIFA World Cup, they had made a number of African-influenced versions of the jingle. This goes to show how only one basic system suffices for experimentation, allowing a business to learn as well as become even brighter.

That being said, learning by doing is only the first thing that you can do to make your business design agile. It’s also important that you implement your brighter ideas as fast as possible. Therefore, keep on reading to find out how you can do the same.

Keep your company lean by crowdsourcing innovation.

Regardless of the business that you’re in or how long you’ve been successful, your customers will continuously let you know what you can do to become better. You won’t be able to steer of such so instead, simply try to make the most out of it.

If you’ve got an open innovation system, you are able to utilize your customers’ ideas in order to ensure that your business remains reliable and as efficient as it can be. An open innovation system is essentially a modular system that’s got fixed elements while at the same time, is also flexible.

A good example of such is Wikipedia. Some of their fixed elements are the font, format, as well as the coding, meaning none of them can be altered on the website. That being said, the content that users write for it can be changed.

Since so many people work towards the same goal of putting information out into the world, there’s a good chance to create ideas and push forward improvement without the company itself needing to put in that much effort.

Since they are able to make the most out of crowd knowledge, big businesses are also able to decrease how much they spend on both research and development. Coca-Cola benefited from an open innovation system through their Design Machine, which is a web-based platform that gives users the opportunity to make their own Coca-Cola ads and item designs.

They’ve got a number of fixed elements like their standardized templates for the packaging, the advertising slogans, the Spencerian script, and their Coca-Cola red, the rest of it is all up to their customers and what they prefer.

Coca-Cola then monitors the preferences of their customers so that they can find out what they like and what they don’t. Customer created content such as this one caused Coca-Cola’s marketing and research expenses to be decreased by an overwhelming $100 million.

Final Summary

A large business attempting to remain on top of its market, it’s got to be scalable as well as agile. If you constantly offer the opportunity of both growth and adaptation with the help of thought out design and innovative systems, you will put yourself on the right path towards long-term success.