Learning From Coke’s New (Internet) Strategy

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The inspiration for this post came from an article I read about Coca Cola’s future marketing and branding strategy.

The soft drink powerhouse is planning their marketing strategy, and they’re calling it “Content 2020.”

According to a post from U.K. based MarketingWeek, Coca-Cola will be moving from “creative excellence to content excellence.

When you’re the most widely recognized brand in the WORLD, you can switch focus away from creativity and onto content and still make several billion dollars a year. To the rest of the world and many inspired entrepreneurs, you’ve got to tackle both.

Sonia Simone handily covered this same topic over at CopyBlogger pointing out there are “3 Content Marketing Ideas You Should Steal from Coca-Cola.” I’m not in the habit of stealing, but I’d have to agree with Sonia and have been a huge fan of hers and CopyBlogger’s for years – where content marketing is basically ALL they talk about. I’m sure they’re all too happy to see one of the largest companies in the world, with one of the largest marketing budgets – switch to an online marketing direction that’s inline with their own message.

Coke Doesn’t Really Mean What They’re Saying… Or Do They?

Ask yourself this question: does Coke really intend to stop being creative? In my opinion, some of their commercials have been somewhat stretching to meet with their audience, but they have always been creative and they have always had deeper meaning. Think about those Polar Bear commercials with the Beach Boys in the background. Those commercials were catchy. They defined creativity.

So, with a company like Coke, you can say you’re going to focus on content almost exclusively because you’ve built into your organization such deep threads of creativity. Now, take a look at this Coke commercial from 2011 for example. They’ve brought the Polar bears back, but now they’re using them to raise funds for the WWF, and polar bears. If you’re Coke, you can’t help but be creative even when you want to engage your audience with some cause marketing.

A Thirst-Quenching Plan

Polar Bears Love Coke (and Diabetes)

Coca-Cola is directing their advertising efforts to enrich their content marketing and engage their fans and customers. They believe that filling the need for actual depth in the ever-evolving community of Coke drinkers will result in increased profitability. They are removing the adjectives (much like I did above) and drilling down on making their message interactive.

This type of approach is refreshing to me for several reasons. First of all, I like it because I have been writing that content is the most critical component for success on the web for quite some time now. Secondly, Coke recognizes that the internet has evolved to such a point that the public engagement is the standard.

Coke’s Spin on the “Excellence Theory”

Lastly, Coke theoretically is taking their cue from the “Excellence Theory”, which claims that “organizations must communicate symmetrically with the public (taking the interests of both the organization and public into account) to cultivate high-quality, long-term relationships with them.” Coke wants to build deeper advertising methods.

Content is king. Though Coke is redefining their marketing, they’re being consistent. I’m not alone in that assessment.

What Coke is doing is smart, and content marketers are on board with their thinking and direction…but can you really beat “the feeling you get with a Coca-Cola Classic”? Can you “beat the real thing”?

Maybe not exactly, but we’re evolving into a world where 100 million people are no longer glued to their televisions or radios each night – at the same time – and on the same program. So, large singular campaigns aren’t as effective. Instead Coke is appropriately targeting people where they are, through content marketing, and addressing the thousands (if not millions) of ways they find content, and interact with the brands they’ve come to love.

Coca-cola may have an insane budget – and may pay gentlemen with a British accent to narrate a fancy sketch with fancy-sounding strategies, but every business owner, or web developer can profit from they example they’re setting by providing your own content marketing and concentrating on targeting your audience appropriately.

Get to writing, start engaging on social media (and even through good-ole email) and success is sure to be yours too.

Drink it up!

Zach Katkin
Zach Katkin - Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Designer and Writer - is the co-founder of Florida Web Design Company Atilus. In business for nearly a decade, Atilus has more than 600 clients worldwide.
  • Very good article and interesting topic. I agree and although I can’t say I personally go out of my way and check their content but I am aware of it as well as their effort. Its nice to see that in my opinion rather than the age old plain advertisements.

  • Sid

    I suppose well thought out content is always a good thing but what’s so new about that? Content requires creativity too. I think you could have been a little clear in the language as to what your point regarding content was:
    a) Engagement with the audience.
    b) It should relate to a cause which is dear to them.

    Or perhaps I missed your point (which will be a huge irony). :P

    • Zach Katkin

      Hi Sid, Thanks for your comment. It would be funny if you missed my point – which I guess you did if I’m having to explain it in a follow up comment – but that’s why comments are so great ;). You nearly hit it on the head, but I think the largest point is this – content marketing is a very complex, (I’d argue) longer, and less direct form of marketing – and the fact that one of the largest companies in the world is doubling down on this – investing in it so heavily – should be proof positive to businesses of ALL sizes that content is how you get users/visitors/customers long term now a days. The time where you could pay millions for an ad and expect customers is gone, or is less effective than it once was. I’m also still surprised at how few businesses understand online marketing, and a content-centric approach. Most simply want a monthly fee and for customers to flock in – not to engage with an audience and develop a long term strategy (one that, like Coke revolves around content). I’m rambling.