Cathryn Sleight urges marketers to “light more fires”

Marketing Week Live!: Marketers must embrace the opportunities available to them through the digital revolution, in order to ensure their brands sparkle, according to Coca-Cola’s UK and Ireland marketing director.

Cathryn Sleight talking at Marketing Week Live!
Cathryn Sleight talking at Marketing Week Live!

Speaking at the Marketing Week Live! event today (29 June) in one of her last appearances in the role, Cathryn Sleight, said the advances in digital media are enabling marketers to be innovative by “lighting fires” and “taking risks” using more online content.

“Taking chances and lighting small fires using digital media can really help add extra value to brands in the long run, without the fire having to catch and go wild. Done correctly, it has the ability to increase brand affinity and engage audiences wherever they are. These advances are making the digital space much more exciting,” she said.

Using Coke as an example, Sleight said brands can adopt different tools such as social media, mobile and loyalty schemes to engage with their fans better and boost brand loyalty in the long term,

She spoke of how Coca-Cola was using Twitter to embrace its World Cup sponsorship by providing goal alerts and Diet Coke was using Facebook to boost its current fashion-themed advertising campaign. Coke Zone also embeds loyalty and provides forums for discussions.

She added it doesn’t have to be official sites that provide inspiration. “You can also fan the flames of other people’s content to inspire creativity. Find ways of working with them collaboratively to engage with these key audiences. Fans expect you to work with them.”

Mobile should also be a core component of campaigns, she added. “It’s fundamental to connect with consumers in every way possible. The whole concept is they want to connect to the brand, so you should find every possibility to enable this by lighting fires and allowing them to grow.”

Sleight said that this would be the way Coke looks to grow its business and is how they plan to engage with consumers in time for the London 2012 Olympics. She says digital is “amplifying opportunities and helping the brand with its strategic choices.”

She added the business was keen to be seen as a marketing organisation first and foremost, delivering business visibility through these strategic choices, and the process of more joint-up thinking.

Sleight is leaving the company after a restructure that sees the role of UK marketing director abolished. Coca-Cola GB president Sanjay Guha is assuming the new role of marketing and Olympics director for the new West Europe and Nordics region.

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