5 Lessons from Coca Cola’s Content Marketing Strategy

Coca Cola has been part of popular culture for over 100 years and has been called a “Vision Brand“.

Its marketing and communication is purposeful and connects with its audience in a way that makes it stand out from its competitors.5 Lessons from Coca Cola's New Content Marketing Strategy

Its mission is not about selling products but to create significant positive change in the world that makes the world a better place.

Coca Cola’s mission statement

  • To refresh the world
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness
  • To create value and make a difference

Recently they have realised that their marketing strategy that has worked well for them for decades needed to evolve and as such they are moving from “Creative Excellence” to “Content  Excellence

Creative excellence has always been at the heart of Coca Cola’s advertising and they have decided that content is now the key to marketing in the 21st century on a social web.

Content for Coca Cola is is now the “Matter” and “Substance” of “Brand Engagement”

So what can we learn from Coca Cola’s new marketing strategy?

Lesson 1: Create Liquid Content

The purpose of content excellence is to create “Ideas” so contagious that they cannot be controlled this is what is called “liquid content”.

On a social web people can easily share ideas, videos and photos on social networks such Facebook.

So create content that begs to be shared whether that be an image, a video or an article.

Lesson 2: Ensure your Content is Linked

The next part of the equation is to ensure that these ideas create content that is innately relevant to

  • The business objectives of your company
  • The brand
  • Your customer interests

This is “Linked” content…. Content that is relevant and connected to the companies goals and brand.

Ensure that the content communicates your message that is congruent with your mission and values.

Lesson 3: Create Conversations

Coca Cola has realised that the consumer creates more stories and ideas than they do so the goal is provoke conversations and then “Act” and “React” to those conversations 365 days of the year.

The new “Distribution Technologies” of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook provide greater connectivity and consumer empowerment than ever before.

Don’t just publish but interact with your audience and tribe.

Lesson 4. Move onto Dynamic Story Telling

On traditional media in the past, story telling was static and a one way street. Television and newspapers shouted at you with no means of interaction.

Coca Cola has come the realisation that to grow their business on the social web they need to move on from “One Way Story Telling” to “Dynamic Story Telling

This means you need to allow the story to evolve as you interact and converse with your customers. You need to converse with your customers in many media formats and social networks.

Storytelling has moved on from static and synchronous to multifaceted, engaged and spreadable.

Lesson 5: Be Brave and Creative with Your Content Creation

Part of the new Coca Cola content strategy is applying a 70/20/10 Investment principle to creating “Liquid content“.

  • 70% of your content should be low risk. It pays the rent and is your bread and butter marketing (should be easy to do and only consumes 50% of your time)
  • 20% of your content creation should innovate off what works.
  • 10% of your content marketing is high risk ideas that will be tomorrows 70% or 20%…. be prepared to fail

This provides a blueprint regarding moving on from just developing white papers, to trying some content that is more visual, courageous and engaging in web world that has embraced multimedia and interactive content.

The 30 Second TV Ad is no Longer King

Coca Cola has come to the conclusion that the world has moved on from the 30 second TV ad. So has the the Old Spice brand and many other businesses who are embracing social media as part of their marketing strategy.

We need to move towards a genuine consumer collaboration model that builds buzz and adopts a more iterative approach to content creation.

Learning how to fuel the conversations, act and interact has never been more important.

Consumers ideas, creativity and conversations have been set free with the evolution of social networks, learning to leverage and wrangle those conversations to increase your brand visibility is now a vital part of your marketing.

What About You?

Do you create conversations with your marketing? How many people are talking about your stories on Facebook?

Is your content liquid, linked and multi-faceted?

More Reading

Image by KB35

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/yuriy.sklyar Yuriy Sklyar

    “Its mission is not about selling products but to create significant positive change in the world that makes the world a better place.”Do they actually make this world a better place?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for the question. Maybe a refreshing cold drink makes someone’s world a better place :)

      • Gaythia

         Just maybe reducing the rate of obesity and diabetes would make the world a better place.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for the question. Maybe a refreshing cold drink makes someone’s world a better place :)

    • http://cynthiaschames.tumblr.com/ Cynthia Schames

      Coca Cola actually invests significantly in sustainability, community and health/economic development initiatives.  Check out this page http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/environment.html and the left navigation. 

      • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

        Thanks Cynthia for the that link.

        • http://cynthiaschames.tumblr.com/ Cynthia Schames

          My pleasure, Jeff.

  • JBMediaConnect

    Isn’t attribution important when it comes to blogging?
    http://www.copyblogger.com/coca-cola-content-marketing/

  • Tuku

    thanks u sir for such
    nice information i like your article

    http://worldweb-directory.com

  • http://twitter.com/jameshartKey James Hart

    I watched the video and I am left wondering 
    Can story telling really influence popular culture?
    Can the art of story telling, humorous or otherwise really influence buying decisions?  

    The Interaction on Social media platforms as so minuscule that they cannot possible be considered as influential 

    I am as yet unconvinced 

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for the comment James. I think that nearly 37 million interactions (likes) on Coca Cola’s Facebook page
      http://www.facebook.com/cocacola
      is not minuscule and that is just the tip of the social media iceberg. :)

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Thanks for the comment. What I like is that they have actually outlined their new strategy which I think helps position them mas a leader despite other brands maybe embracing it sooner on a large scale. eg Old Spice

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    That is a good question, The risk is more on if it works, something they haven’t done before and how! :)

  • http://www.thevillageofuseful.com.au/ Andy Howard

    Good wrap-up Jeff. We found the move fascinating and encouraging as well, and blogged our thoughts here (includes a video from Coca-Cola about the ‘Content 2020’ plan): http://www.thevillageofuseful.com.au/2012/01/coca-cola-digital-content-marketing/

  • http://twitter.com/dee__ch Deepak Chawla

    Nice post. Its time now we as brands start to be more engaging with our customers and work on creating a difference with our brand idea. Creation of conversations incorporated as/with promotional material being a vital brand association is the only way to succeed at this moment. 

  • http://twitter.com/dee__ch Deepak Chawla

    Nice post. Its time now we as brands start to be more engaging with our customers and work on creating a difference with our brand idea. Creation of conversations incorporated as/with promotional material being a vital brand association is the only way to succeed at this moment. 

  • Theo

    “Its mission is not about selling products but to create significant
    positive change in the world that makes the world a better place.”

    Certainly not in India:

    “Coca-Cola Charged with Groundwater Depletion and Pollution in India”http://environment.about.com/od/waterpollution/a/groundwater_ind.htm

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Thanks Dawn for your kind comment and thanks for sharing :)

  • http://twitter.com/SocialMMMDiva Karen RogersRobinson

    I love the 5 lesson concept of learning social media marketing!  And find lesson 5 most interesting; do you know how many companies refuse to take risks at all and end up failing at social media? Love how they break down a workabale formula for taking risks. 

    Lesson 5: Be Brave and Creative with Your Content CreationPart of the new Coca Cola content strategy is applying a 70/20/10 Investment principle to creating “Liquid content“.70% of your content should be low risk. It pays the rent and is your bread and butter marketing (should be easy to do and only consumes 50% of your time)20% of your content creation should innovate off what works.10% of your content marketing is high risk ideas that will be tomorrows 70% or 20%…. be prepared to fail

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Karen for the comment. I often use the phrase “fail fast and frequently”

  • http://room214.com jasoncormier

    I dig your overview Jeff. I collected some similar insights around Coke’s social media “mastery” here: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2095613/Social-Media-Mastery-Wisdom-from-the-Leaders-of-Coca-Cola

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Thanks for your comment and insights. Email should be one of the first digital elements in the marketing mix and is often forgotten.

  • http://bizmarketingbuilder.com/ marketing strategies

    Whats up, very good blog post! Make appreciate it. You can get plenty of nice skills mentioned these.Come to understand many stuff. great bless you!

  • http://bizmarketingbuilder.com/ marketing strategies

    Whats up, very good blog post! Make appreciate it. You can get plenty of nice skills mentioned these.Come to understand many stuff. great bless you!

  • Cheri Marchio

    Nice post – great content!

  • http://twitter.com/rakacreative Raka

    Thanks for distilling what’s good about Coke’s marketing into a few key takeaways. Very helpful in explaining why they’re doing a great job instead of just pointing to them as an example. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YZIJTW5T3ORC6RQZJ5LF3EOA Jonathan Salem Baskin

    Jeez, I hate to be a killjoy or, worse, a Luddite, but how does all this help sell Coke again?

    I get that it’s possible and that people are willing to watch and share stuff that’s free and requires no forethought or follow-up, but what does this have to do with marketing? What about Coke’s “liquid content” any different than, say, Ford’s or Progressive?

    Collaboration, empowerment, conversation…it’s all wonderful, really…but aren’t they stand-in words for “selling?”  Oh, and as for the death of the 30-second TV spot? It’s the ONLY way Old Spice achieved any sales (the viral stuff afterwards was gravy, at best). The challenge here isn’t one of tech medium but of message, so a TV spot with compelling and meaningful content is worth a lot more than an endless social conversation about, well, nothing at all.

    • http://twitter.com/SoozyPR Soozy G. Miller

      Jonathan, I hear ya. I just posted something on here that replies a little bit to your point. I *think” they’re trying to do what Calvin Klein tried to or did to advertising 20-30 years ago; selling an idea bigger than the product, selling a way of thinking and a lifestyle. I agree with you about the 30 second spot, if it’s good it pulls you right in. But I think primetime spots have gotten too expensive and that’s why they’re looking to the free internet and social media.

  • http://twitter.com/fasonepartners Fasone & Partners

    Sounds great, if you have Coca Cola’s budget. Coke can sell this way because Coke has budget to burn. “Collaboration” “Empowerment” “Dynamic story telling” No matter what Coke calls it, if sales drop below Pepsi we’re never going to hear about their liquid content again.

  • Caroline Hornby

    We’re really trying to focus on content at my company, and whilst I embrace the principle, the thing that I find difficult is coming up ideas for what kind of content to release. Do you have any specific examples of coca cola’s content? Would love to see what someone with their kind of budget and experience is capable of producing.

  • http://twitter.com/jkristufek Jason

    Yes, thank you for sharing this. Content marketing and social media marketing has become a powerful tool for business and the five points you mention are excellent, especially the power of dynamic storytelling. Do you know of any brands besides Coca Cola that do this well?

    Here are my “Top Three Takeaways for B2B Social Media”
    http://jasonkristufek.com/2012/08/21/top-three-takeaways-for-b2b-social-media/

  • Ammar

    How Mr. Muhtar A. Kent made Coca-Cola bullet proof?
    find out on the following link!
    http://management107.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-mr-muhtar-kent-made-coca-cola.html

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    You are welcome Jason :)

  • http://about.me/wardchandler Ward Chandler

    Excellent. Thank you

  • http://www.wholesalepages.co.uk/ Julie Robert

    The lesson I get is that we should do experiments and creativity in our work either it is any strategy or content. This not only keeps us up to date but also shows positive variation in our work. Coca Cola develops emotional connection with customers and attracting their attention through different ways.

  • Linda Carey

    Coca Cola’s attempt at “Social Engagement” via their Super Bowl ad was nothing less than disappointing. In my opinion, multi-millions of dollars in social media investment should provide a stellar impact. Very surprising that that would fall prey to this type of ad content considering their many years of decent branding. Regardless of the alleged 50k participants, it was simply not good. Had they farmed it out to social mediastas on the internet via a contest for advice and ideas, they probably would have fared better and made a tremendous impression on their loyal customers garnered through many years with their conventional branding.

  • http://twitter.com/SoozyPR Soozy G. Miller

    While I understand why Coca Cola is doing this, a recent spot showed they’re not quite there yet. I was watching a spot with my 10 year old and it was cool: there were many 2-3 second videos of people showing kindness and paying it forward. And my son asked, “What is this commercial for?” It wasn’t until we saw the Coca Cola logo (with the new “happiness” addition) at the end that we understood whose it was. They should have had some kind of facts about Coca Cola’s community services and/or sustainability information. Cool commercial but missed the mark with the overall message.

  • Lisa Cash Hanson

    I do both with my baby product the Snuggwugg and my coaching business. I found that publications like Entrepreneur Magazine have done a lot for my brand. After my product was named one of 10 most innovative I received a ton of inquires from distributors and it continues daily. But as far as conversations on Facebook that is growing steadily but an area I will be working on as well.

  • http://www.leftygbalogh.com/tag/content-strategy Lefty Balogh, Content Strategy

    Jeff, have you got an example for liquid content?

  • http://www.sasabassac.info/ Jamie Noel

    Really Interesting article. Thanks for taking time to write Jeff.

  • TheoryofRelativity

    Did anyone else not appreciate the consistent grammatical errors in this post?

    And why doesn’t this guy start using the Oxford comma? It seems like the words at the end of his lists (that are combined with “and”) have some relationship when really they’re just a list of words.

  • http://www.callbox.com.sg/ Dara Lin

    Thank you for sharing it with us Jeff. Thanks for the lessons. I’ve learned a lot :)

  • http://www.taylormadeinkew.com Heidi Taylor

    Hi Jeff, it looks like this is a blog from 3 years ago when Coca Cola developed its Coca Cola Content 2020 Initiative in 2012 and published it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1P3r2EsAos.

    You’re spot on in that it is still highly relevant and in fact, Coca Cola was way ahead of its time. I still reference this video a LOT in my speaking and blogging and I have 3 key take-aways from it:

    1) Experiential engagement,

    2) underpinned by content with substance

    3) that provokes conversations…

    This is not just story-telling, but inspiring story-making that engages customers on a very personal level.