Coca-Cola joins forces with digital natives

For the fourth year in a row, Vlerick Business School organised a Digital Boot Camp in partnership with Coca-Cola. Students were submerged for three weeks in the world of digital marketing in an attempt to get to grips with rapid digital evolutions.

‘Learning by doing’ is the underlying rationale with which Masters students are sent into the professional field. The students acquire deep and valuable insight into the way in which companies use digital resources. During the boot camp, the students apply their accumulated knowledge and search for digital solutions based on their own experiences. 

Digital boot camp at Coca-Cola

Innovating with students

The Happy Caps app from a previous edition proves that this approach works. Happy Caps is a digital loyalty programme for students. By playing games, moving, performing tasks or making purchases, students can earn caps that they can exchange for free drinks from the campus’ vending machines. The idea arose during a boot camp several years ago. The app was launched at the start of the 2015-2016 academic year in Ghent, and has since been made available to students in Leuven, Brussels and Liège. This is proof that innovation through co-creation really works! 

Vlerick 2017 Boot Camp

This year the boot camp was again attended by an enthusiastic bunch of students who tackled the various digital challenges with plenty of energy and a thirst for knowledge. The students worked on a main case for Coca-Cola and two mini cases for Bol.com and Takeaway.com.

I was pleasantly surprised by the great deal of effort that Coca-Cola put into this boot camp. I didn’t expect so many Coca-Cola staff, managers and partners to be involved. It was a fantastic experience.” – Diego Bradt

It was interesting to visit a number of different companies and to see how they approach marketing. This enables you to view an idea from a different perspective.” – Laura Fluyt

During this boot camp, we noticed how difficult it is to come up with creative ideas. It is impressive to see how much Coca-Cola has done in relation to marketing.” – Julie Konings

For the Coca-Cola case, the students acted as digital brand managers and examined the current digital approach. At Takeaway.com they gained further insight into the online ordering process for home food deliveries, while at Bol.com they dived deeper into the wondrous world of e-commerce.

The main case for Coca-Cola was the most challenging of all because we were able to go deeper into a specific subject. This meant it was possible to consider exactly what the brand stands for.” – Mareike Reidick

The benefit of a mini case like this is that you are allowed to fail. You learn a lot from that.” – Tom Van de Maele

During a boot camp, you discuss things with your co-students, and that is equally educational. I am all for positive discussions, because if everyone thinks along the same lines then no original ideas arise.” – Diego Bradt

How do you arrive at an original idea or digital solution?

Several Masters students have their say.

I discovered that besides creativity, an open mind and analytical thinking are crucially important to arrive at a good digital solution. You must be able to substantiate what you do and follow it up afterwards.” – Diego Bradt

You may like your own idea but it also has to engage the consumer. Furthermore, the idea shouldn't be too complicated. When you develop an app, it should be simple and user-friendly.” – Julie Konings

It is important to think in terms of problem solving. You must draw the right conclusions from the answers in your survey and then try to find a solution for the ‘problems’ faced by your target group.” – Margaux Van Helleputte

You have to have a critical mindset. You shouldn’t instantly think you have found the Holy Grail. If someone questions your idea, you must be able to accept this and be confident enough to make changes.” – Tom Van de Maele

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