Wendy Clark: Putting New Sparkle on the Beverage Biz
President-Sparkling Brands and Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America
Recently charged with leading sparkling brands and strategic marketing for Coca-Cola’s North America business. In her prior role, global sparkling brand and integrated marketing teams were combined under her leadership. She oversaw sparkling brand strategy and integrated marketing for Coca-Cola’s global brands. Previously she served as SVP of Advertising and Brand at AT&T, Inc. and as SVP Client Service at GSD&M.
Innovating in Field of Work:
• While a company of Coca-Cola’s size and reputation could easily move slowly and depend on its past successes, Coke’s marketing has been both forward thinking and nimble. Clark and her team led the global execution of Coca-Cola’s sponsorship for the 2010 Winter Olympics, 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup. The latter was Coke’s biggest integrated marketing campaign ever, spanning more than 175 countries.
• Her team aligned Coca-Cola’s ad agencies under a new value-based compensation model and drove great adoption and understanding of digital media with a “fans-first” mentality.
• Mother of 3, Clark is emblematic of the change in Coke’s workplace as well. “If a company wants a great worker, then allow them to be a great mother or parent. I’d like to see us make significant strides in work-life integration. Let me organize my work and my life, and I will get the work done. I’d like to think that my work experience won’t be anything like my daughters’.”
• Clark has overseen global design, creative excellence, marketing capabilities, interactive marketing, media, sponsorships, and marketing of the company’s Live Positively sustainability platform. Clark’s stamp on the company is evident and has been recognized by Fortune magazine, which included Clark in its “40 Under 40” issues in 2009 and 2010.
• Under Wendy’s guidance, her team led the successful global launch of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” campaign, now deployed in markets representing 100% of Coca-Cola’s volume.
• She works to dispel mystique around ‘leadership’ – she’s approachable; not handled. She has the attitude of rolling up her sleeves to work with teams.
• Wendy was a participant in this year’s Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring program, which brings rising-star women from developing countries to the U.S. each year to shadow participants of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. She found the experience to be a two way street, saying, “Seeing my company, my country and my life anew through Tidings’ [her mentees] eyes has been a gift.” She wrote about her lessons learned at Fortune.
• Clark often speaks on the need for more women in the boardroom.
Reinvention / Momentum:
She has just taken on a big challenge in Coca-Cola North America as the company is poised to make a big impact through improving the quality and quantity of its marketing. The company considers the move to bolster the “company’s commitment to the advancement of women in our leadership pipeline.” It is a big endorsement of her abilities and the company’s confidence in the US carbonated beverage market.
“Not just effective, collaborative & kind, but also “wicked smart. She cares about doing the right thing.”