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How Coca-Cola HBC scaled their employer brand with Smarp

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Industry

Consumer Packaged Goods

Use case

Employee Advocacy and Employer Branding

Company size
27,000
Employees
How Smarp helped Coca-Cola HBC grow

4M

People Reached

The practice scaling the Coca-Cola HBC employer brand has seen significant results, with over 4 million people already reached on social media.

$100 000

of Visibility

In just 8 months, Coca-Cola HBC created $100 000 worth of visibility on social media through Smarp.

94%

User Engagement

Not only do Coca-Cola HBC employees come to Smarp to share great content, they also come there to learn and develop their skills.

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A world class bottling partner for an iconic brand

 

Coca-Cola HBC is a growth-focused consumer packaged goods (CPG) business and strategic bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company. They create value for all of their stakeholders by supporting the socio-economic development of the communities in which they operate and believe that building a more positive environmental impact is integral to our future growth.

Coca-Cola HBC and their customers serve more than 600 million consumers across a broad geographic footprint of 28 countries on 3 continents. Their portfolio is one of the strongest, broadest, and most flexible in the beverage industry, offering consumer-leading partner brands in the sparkling, juice, water, sport, energy, plant-based, ready-to-drink tea, coffee, adult sparkling, and premium spirits categories. These brands include Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Schweppes, Kinley, Royal Bliss, Costa Coffee, Valser, Romerquelle, Fanta, Sprite, Powerade, FuzeTea, Dobry, Cappy, Monster, Adez, and more. They promote an open and inclusive work environment for more than 27,000 employees and are ranked among the top sustainability performers in ESG benchmarks such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, CDP, MSCI ESG and FTSE4Good.

 

Building the foundation of the Employer Brand

 

Coca-Cola HBC is a company with a unique position when it comes to their employer brand. To carry one of the most iconic beverage brands in the Company’s name brings unrivalled recognition.

Although most people recognize Coca-Cola HBC for the beverages they produce, many don’t know what it’s like to work for such a prominent organization. What are the employees like? What is the culture there? What goes on behind the scenes? These are questions that Coca-Cola HBC wanted to make clear to their networks when building their own authentic and unique employer brand. 

In 2017, Coca-Cola HBC began working on refining their employee value proposition (EVP). The employer branding team created a thorough process that involved detailed research to secure their value proposition. The goal was to provide an external facing EVP that was more than just a nice story: they wanted it to be a genuine and authentic representation of Coca-Cola HBC's internal culture.

Followed few years of growth focused on creating the right channels and content strategy that enables the EVP, and by 2019 Coca-Cola HBC was already seeing results. Their networks grew and started to truly understand what the employer brand of Coca-Cola HBC was like, and what it’s like to work for the organization. And for them, taking the next step in their employer brand journey brought up one key question: How do we scale our employer brand?

 


 Maya
 
“After we started seeing the results of our employer value proposition we thought to ourselves: how far can we scale this? What comes next?”
 
Maya Tsankova,
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 

They wanted to find out how far the Coca-Cola HBC message could carry, how it could land in front of the right people, resonate with the correct audience, yet remain authentic.

 

Attracting the right talent is crucial in the long run

 

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Keeping a sustainable value proposition externally is crucial for long term quality hiring.

They wanted to make sure that whatever they said externally about the brand is what people would actually experience when joining the organization. Not only did this mean they would attract talent, but they would attract the right talent who would genuinely enjoy working at Coca-Cola HBC.

 


 Maya
 
“We want to attract people with the Coca-Cola HBC mindset. The environment we work in moves quickly. People here love challenges and the fast pace of the industry. They genuinely care to support others, are eager to learn, and to drive impact. Finding people that share that mindset is the key to success."
 
Maya Tsankova,
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 

Being able to attract the right people is extremely important to Coca-Cola HBC, as they pride themselves on their company culture. The organization's ethos is open and collaborative, something they wish to maintain every time they hire and onboard new people. Everyone is encouraged to collaborate with whoever they need to in order to get the job done.

The value in attracting the right talent is simple: hiring people that fit the culture of Coca-Cola HBC is a major driver of employee satisfaction. When new hires are good culture fits, they are more likely to enjoy and succeed in their work. Furthermore, they are more likely to stay at the organization for the long run. In other words, hiring good culture fits greatly improves employee retention.

 


 Maya
 
“When we hire people that have a good understanding of our employer brand, they are more likely to stay at Coca-Cola HBC for longer periods of time.”
 
Maya Tsankova,
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 

This is why projecting an authentic employee value proposition and employer brand was so important at Coca-Cola HBC. From talent attraction to employee satisfaction and retention, being able to scale their authentic employer brand was a crucial element in building an engaged workforce.

 

Smarp – the flexible and integrated partner

 

Coca-Cola HBC knew that they had to get their employees involved to communicate their EPV authentically. Having employees as brand advocates discuss and share the great work Coca-Cola HBC were doing was a natural step in scaling their employer brand.

With this in mind, Coca-Cola HBC undertook employee advocacy as a key initiative for 2020. To get the initiative right, they needed to find a flexible partner to fit their needs, and that’s where Smarp came in. Coca-Cola HBC chose Smarp as their partner and platform for several reasons, including user experience, flexibility, and easy integration.

 

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User experience

 

User experience in employee advocacy is one of the most important factors when building engagement around the program. Coca-Cola HBC chose Smarp because they wanted a platform that was easy enough for users to learn without lots of training yet powerful enough to deliver on their objective of scaling their employer brand. The user-friendliness of the Smarp platform ensured high adoption rates among Coca-Cola HBC users. In fact, since launching, Coca-Cola HBC have seen a staggering 94% user engagement rate on Smarp.

Besides user experience, this powerful content distribution engine has allowed Coca-Cola HBC to deliver a feed of relevant content to every single user. As a company, Coca-Cola HBC spans 28 markets and covers over 100 beverage brands, meaning their diverse user base has varying needs and preferences regarding information. Using Smarp, Coca-Cola HBC could map their users according to their complex business structure and provide over 170 different topic channels that users could leverage to personalize their content feeds.

 

users

 

 

 

Flexibility

 

Another important consideration for Coca-Cola HBC was platform flexibility. With a geographic footprint of 28 countries on three continents, their workforce is extremely diverse. Being able to customize the platform to meet the individual needs of different locations was a key factor. This included elements like customizing the language, content, and different channels offered across the regions, enhancing overall user experience and increasing engagement across the platform.


 Maya
 
“We want to make sure that everyone has the chance to interact with our advocacy program in their native language and in their preferred social media channel, so customizing the platform is extremely beneficial.”
 
Maya Tsankova
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 


 

Giving enough autonomy to the different countries was also a big piece of the puzzle. It enabled Coca-Cola HBC to "think global, act local" by giving day-to-day administrative rights to local administrators while also retaining the platform's global governance from a centralized location.

 

 

Integrations

 

Last but certainly not least, Coca-Cola HBC leveraged some of the available enterprise integrations on the Smarp platform to ensure everything worked seamlessly with their existing systems. No one wants the hassle of maintaining a bunch of usernames and passwords for different platforms, and enabling Coca-Cola HBC employees to access the platform with their existing work accounts was key in boosting accessibility and engagement.

 

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Coca-Cola HBC also utilized the A.I. Content integration provided by Smarp. A.I. Content monitors the web for relevant business articles under predefined topics and makes it readily available for employees to consume and share. From employee training all the way through to internal promotion, Coca-Cola HBC truly believes in investing in their employees to ensure they have everything they need to succeed. With this in mind, A.I. Content was brought in to supplement their existing employee advocacy and employer brand content with materials around leadership, self-awareness, diversity and inclusion, and empathy: all traits that Coca-Cola HBC values in their employees and believes will help them progress in their careers.

 


 Maya
 
“We know that if we invest in our people, they will invest in us.”
 
Maya Tsankova
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 

 

 

Results beyond expectations

 

The introduction of Smarp into the Coca-Cola HBC employer branding program has already yielded significant results in about eight months. This is especially visible in the way the employee advocacy initiative was able to strengthen the sense of community, even during 2020, a year which saw no shortage of challenges for companies around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the beginning of 2021, Coca-Cola HBC established an internal community of brand ambassadors and started organizing events around their initiatives. The company focused on engaging and training employee advocates via the international community of employer brand managers and specialists across all countries. The reception of the community at Coca-Cola HBC has been overwhelmingly positive. Employees were more than happy to share tips and stories on what it means to be brand ambassadors on both a personal and organizational level.

 


 Maya
 
“It’s amazing to see such a positive vibe in the same space surrounding the use of the employee advocacy platform.”
 
Maya Tsankova
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Coca-Cola HBC has maintained positive scores in its employee brand rankings and tailor-made engagement surveys. This is a true testament to their work surrounding their employee value proposition, employee retention, and attracting the right talent to work with them by scaling their messages through Smarp.

However, the benefits go beyond their employer brand and internal communities. By encouraging employees to participate and spread the word about the Coca-Cola HBC brand, the company has reached nearly 4 million people on social media in less than a year. By leveraging the vast networks of Coca-Cola HBC employees, they have driven an additional 30,750 unique visitors to Coca-Cola HBC resources and materials. Overall, Coca-Cola HBC has generated 15 clicks and reactions per share to social media – an impressive number for any employee advocacy program.

share

All in all, the exposure Coca-Cola HBC has created on social media using Smarp would have cost nearly $100 000 in paid social media advertising in just over 8 months.  From internal community building all the way to generating visibility and engagement on social media, the Coca-Cola HBC advocacy program is an inspiring story of what can be achieved when employee advocacy is done right.

 


Maya
 
““We consciously chose to empower employees to be a voice for the work experience at Coca-Cola HBC. This helps them grow their social presence and supports the company’s authentic employer brand.”
 
Maya Tsankova
Group Employer Branding Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC

 


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