As part of last summer’s Open Like Never Before campaign, you may remember that we donated media budget and advertising space to British hospitality business owners to help them spread the word that they were open for business once again.

Now though, as we near the end of a second wave of Coronavirus lockdowns, we want to do more to help local business owners bounce back like never before. It’s why we’re launching Coca‑Cola Great Britain’s first ever Business Accelerator programme.

Here’s what Project Open will mean for local entrepreneurs…

Build back better

So what is Project Open? It’s a continuation of our mission to help British businesses – our customers – achieve every possible success. But it’s also a practical tour de force of business marketing advice, helmed by leaders from Coca‑Cola Great Britain, Coca‑Cola European Partners, Costa Coffee and innocent.

In the first instance, this will mean guiding a select group of restaurant, bar and cafe owners through the secrets of business success by taking a look behind the scenes at ours.

We’ll also discuss how their own business can respond to the challenge presented by three national lockdowns, and participants will benefit from cutting-edge expertise in behavioural science and its application to businesses, via world-leading experts at Influence at Work.

“The past year has been the toughest in memory for hospitality businesses,” says Coca‑Cola Great Britain’s General Manager, Jon Woods, “and we know it’s our smallest customers who have the biggest challenge ahead.

“That’s why our senior leaders have committed their time and expertise to helping these businesses get back on their feet. Through this programme we will help some of our valued high street partners survive and thrive in the post-COVID era.”

The roadmap

Project Open will take place over two distinct phases:

Phase 1: Sharing our expertise

The first part of the programme will provide a look under the bonnet at Coca‑Cola from a business perspective. Over a six-week period, from late February to early April, our group of British businesses will benefit from one virtual seminar per week on topics including marketing, HORECA trends, sustainability, working culture and how to be a B corporation – presented by leaders within Coca‑Cola Great Britain, CCEP, Costa Coffee and innocent.

The course will also provide practical insights and information about the journey to recovering from COVID-19, and advice on meeting the very real challenges associated with post-pandemic operations.

The great news is, the content and learnings from these webinars will then be packaged up into actionable insights and shared here on for the benefit of the wider-hospitality industry.

Phase 2: Driving behaviour change

Next up, participating businesses will be able to glean invaluable advice from the experts at Influence at Work (IAW) – a renowned team of behavioural scientists, and authors of the world’s best-selling suite of books on the psychology of ethical influence and persuasion and its application to business.

IAW experts will speak to each business owner via a remote 1-1 consultation to understand more about their business, product and customer base. After the businesses reopen in June, IAW will then visit each business as part of a fact-finding mission to observe how customers behave in the retail environment – as well as generally assessing changes in customer behaviour after lockdown and identifying challenges for hospitality businesses.

Open is our ethos

Speaking about the programme, Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “The government has backed small businesses with mentoring and advice as well as financial support to enable them to weather the pandemic and build back better, and it is great to see big brands like Coca‑Cola doing their bit too.

“The expert support provided through this programme will help to drive innovation and creativity, and I look forward to seeing how these businesses apply what they’ve learned in the months to come.”

Project Open comes hot on the heels of a raft of ‘Open’ activities that, together, represent part of a $120 million global effort by Coca‑Cola, its bottling partners and the Coca‑Cola foundation to support local COVID-19 relief efforts around the world.

In the UK, we’ve provided 4.3 million drinks to frontline workers and donated the equivalent of two million healthy meals and one million drinks for those in need through its charity partner Fareshare, while also helping small businesses with access to our marketing resources and advertising platforms.

You can find out lots more about our ‘Open’ ethos and activities here.

Have questions?