COCA-COLA – GUILTY OR INNOCENT?
Innocent is simply the best new brand and business I’ve come across in the past decade. The products, the people, the ethos and the performance have all been extraordinary. I’ve known the founders from quite early on and have admired how they adapted to rapid growth, while staying true to their core values. Even this past year, faced with a massive onslaught from Tropicana smoothies and a UK market downturn, Innocent has remained a strong leader and has recovered market share. It is well advanced in its development strategy of diversifying into new products and expanding into new territories. So many other companies have faltered at this stage. Trying to do it themselves without adequate resources or expertise. Picking the wrong partners with divergent perspectives. Very few potential alliances offer a genuine international reach. In Europe even Coca-Cola lacks chilled distribution, smoothie production facilities and short shelf life experience. But that’s not the point. So long as Coke provides the right support, then Innocent can benefit from the funding and market access that it needs. In some ways, I wish Innocent had stayed independent, but we must allow Innocent to spread its message rather than be overtaken by imitators. So on today’s evidence, I find Innocent not guilty and Coke innocent.