Coca-Cola has an ambitious plan to utilize content marketing as the central driver of its goal to double its business by 2020. For a company as big as Coke, that’s a lot of growth. And, for the marketing world, Coke’s approach is validation of the important and growing role of content in every company’s marketing efforts.
Coke’s strategy is explained in great detail through two videos (Part 1, Part 2) that were the subject of a post by content marketing evangelist Joe Pulizzi.
I recommend that anyone interested in the development and management of a content marketing strategy watch the videos. I should note that some of the comments online, and even in our office, have been critical of the videos, calling them long-winded, jargon laden and overly ambitious. I agree that the videos are long. And, they are filled with a lot of insider language. At the same time, there are valuable takeaways for all marketers.
3 Drivers of Coke’s Content Marketing Strategy
Coca-Cola understands that its approach to marketing must change. It cites three primary drivers of its content strategy:
1. It wants to double the size of its business.
2. It recognizes that it no longer controls the conversation about its brands.
3. Technology gives the company more ways to connect with consumers than ever before.
In approaching content marketing, Coke understands it must compete for its consumers’ attention by starting, and contributing to, engaging stories:
The stories must have value and significance to peoples’ lives.
Our content is the substance and matter of brand engagement and conversation.
As such, it must be the world’s most engaging content.
Skeptics may question whether a marketer of sugar water has the ability to create stories that relate to people on an emotional level. I would tell them to look at what Coke has done with traditional advertising. The success of Coke’s previous marketing efforts made the brand a central part of popular culture – way beyond a way to quench your thirst. On television, the Polar Bear ads, the Mean Joe Greene spot and (for those old enough to remember) the famous Hilltop “I’d like to teach the world to sing” ad connected with consumers in powerful ways. Within 10 days of airing the Hilltop ad, Coke received more than 10,000 letters from consumers thanking it for the message. That’s as viral as it got in 1971.
Whether Coke can translate compelling storytelling ability into new, dynamic and democratic media is up for debate. What is clear is that they are making a big bet on their ability to do so.