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Why Coca Cola switched to an editorial website and what we can learn from it.
22nd November 2012

Came across this article in the New York Times titled 'Coke Revamps Web Site to Tell Its Story'. The skeptical among us might just consider this as another meaningless corporate re-branding but there is more here than meets the eye.

Here is the new Coca Cola Corporate site

Switching from 'company information' to the 'company story' - a paradigm shift.

This is a serious commitment by Coke to put a huge number of resources into this digital strategy change. Its not a commitment to take lightly and not something that can be reversed easily without damage to the brand. Its a true paradigm shift. Its a company saying we are not just a just a soft drinks seller but also a vital member of the global community and we are here to share our experiences and stories.

Is this a good idea for all companies - maybe not.

Coke is a giant in every sense of the word. Present in hundreds of countries and a workforce of hundreds of thousands. Its a truly global organization. Not only does it has the resources to pull of something like this but also has a treasure of stories, initiatives, events and technology to share through their site.

Most businesses would struggle to put together enough stories to justify this kind of change in strategy. I mean, Bob in accounting's birthday celebrations are hardly going to be a story of interest outside the company. There really has to be a lot happening with the company to be able to fill editorial pages.

This is not a strategy to increase sales, rather, its an outcome of increased sales and global customers.

Coke did not say, 'we need to boost sales so lets switch to an editorial site'. It already has global sales, global reach and millions of customers and that has prompted this switch. Coke has millions of fans on Facebook and other social sites, they wanted to give them something substantial in return for their loyalty. Hence the shift.

I very much doubt that this is going to boost sales but its definitely going to create deeper ties with existing customers and fans.

Here is what Ashley Brown, on the site's Opinions section says:

"We're here because more than 1.8 billion times a day, every day, people express their love for our brands by purchasing one of our products. But those purchases are more than transactional. They're emotional. We know because more than 50 million people have become our fans on Facebook, and millions of others have posted photos, videos and blog posts that demonstrate their passion for  Coca-Cola. We're here because our consumers allow us and want us to be here."

So what does all this mean for the average joe Coke customer or fan?

Only time will tell if this will work for Coke or whether this will turn out to be just another attempt at PR that fizzles out. But the average joe Coke fan it means:

  • A deeper connection with the company through the stories and ideas
  • Better awareness of Coke's campaigns, initiatives, events and charities.
  • A more human face to the company through its many contributors.
  • Better connections for all of Coke's global efforts.

In theory it sounds great. We will just have to see if it works out in practise.

Cheers,
Ron

* Coca Cola and Coke are trademarks of the Coca Cola Company.

Some additional viewpoint on this topic.
http://www.weidert.com/whole_brain_marketing_blog/bid/110951/How-Coca-Cola-Adopted-Content-Marketing-With-Their-New-Website

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