Is brand building a good enough reason to launch an IT initiative? It is, apparently, for fast-moving consumer goods company Coca-Cola. The beverage manufacturer has partnered Lenovo to build the Limited Edition Lenovo F20 iCoke notebook computer.
The laptop computer sports a string of features, including a 12.1-inch widescreen monitor, Mg-Al casing, dual batteries providing up to 8.5 hours of usage, an Intel Pentium M778 processor, a 512MB DDR2 RAM, an 80GB hard drive, GMA900 graphics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, three USB 2.0 ports and FireWire.
According to Coca-Cola, this is part of its plan to reach out to young, Internet-savvy consumers in China. The F20 notebook has a special built-in hot button which will allow direct access to the iCoke China Web site, where Coke fans can find specially-designed wallpaper and screen savers.
What are the returns on the F20 investment for Coca-Cola? I'm not sure what the key performance indicators are, or how much money has been invested in this IT venture. But, I doubt if there is a high sales target (or any at all), and I'm guessing that the benefits the company is gunning for are more intangible in nature.
Overall, I'd say the Cola company has scored well with this pretty innovative idea. By smartly choosing to partner PC giant Lenovo, it has also followed one of the golden rules of business: Thou shalt not do it all thyself.
Ranked the world's top brand for the last four years by Interbrand and BusinessWeek, Coca-Cola knows what it is that it does best and leverages technology to achieve the right effect.