The Coca-Cola Co. owns 20 beverage brands that generate over a billion dollars in annual retail sales. The company’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) unit is looking for a few more.
Launched in 2007, VEB is tasked with finding and developing the next generation of brands with billion-dollar potential. Over the past eight years, the unit has made strategic investments in Honest Tea, Zico, Illy Issimo, Core Power and, most recently, Suja. Lending access to Coke’s sales expertise as well as its vast procurement capabilities and distribution muscle, VEB attempts to position each for accelerated scale and growth.
In an interview filmed at BevNET Live Winter 2015, Rebecca Messina, VEB’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Innovation, offered insight into how the unit identifies high-potential growth brands, saying that they need be on-trend, led by a strong management team and strong functional attributes. However, Messina noted one overarching key to brands targeted by VEB:
“It’s something that’s got to have a great story, because we believe in emotional brands,” Messina said. “That’s really our bread and butter.”
Watch this video to hear much more from Messina about VEB’s investment approach as well as which beverage categories the unit is currently eying. Messina also discusses the first few months of VEB’s relationship with Suja and her role as a judge in BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown competition.