Over lunch last Friday, Coca-Cola Enterprises’ new general manager Leendert den Hollander said that, typically, if you ask business people in the UK how they are doing, you get two answers: tough or challenging. His answer, he said, would be “dynamic”.
He joined CCE six months ago to the triple challenge of a lively health debate, a tough retail environment and changing shopper behaviour. However, he is upbeat about his prospects, he said, because Coke is a dynamic business in a dynamic environment.
Many retailers will recognise this position – more competition in a low-growth environment – and could learn from how CCE is reacting. I have picked out a few examples. No one person has all the right answers, but working with other businesses and suppliers will bring new ideas and sales opportunities
Firstly, be agile and adapt constantly. “If there’s an issue, you need to call it, fix it and move on,” Mr den Hollander said. “And if you are first to spot an opportunity, you are likely to be the first to benefit from it. This is all around agility and it’s what the new environment calls for.”
Secondly, prioritise offering choice over editing choice. For CCE, this involves being transparent, offering a zero calorie variant for each brand and making this choice evident.
Thirdly, make sure you have the three ingredients for winning: the best ideas, the best execution and the best team. Mr Hollander says he is obsessed by execution and will keep innovating his brands and portfolio to bring new ideas to consumers in order to change their behaviour.
Finally, be confident, but humble. No one person has all the right answers, but working with other businesses and suppliers will bring new ideas and sales opportunities.
With all these ingredients, there is no reason you, too, shouldn’t feel upbeat about your own prospects for the future.