Brand Coke: Master Storytellers Gone Digital

In 2010 Coca-Cola was valued at $67.983 billion dollars and ranked 5th among the world’s most valuable brands.

How does a company that essentially sells sugared water amass such value?

Consistent and compelling storytelling.

This has been the case for over 125 years and continues today.

The Coca-Cola Story

Take a stroll down Coca-Cola’s illustrious history -aka its story- to get a picture of how Coke became the brand it is today.

 

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1886-1892
Atlanta Beginnings

1893-1904
Beyond Atlanta

1905-1918 Safeguarding the brand

1919-1940 The Woodruff legacy

1941-1959 The war and its legacy

1960-1981 A world of customers

1982-1989 Diet Coke and new Coke

1990-1999 New markets and brands

2000-Now The Digital Age

 

Coca-Cola Today

Coca-Cola understands the value of human connections. It recognizes that in today’s age, storytelling and content marketing are essential to maintaining honest and on-going conversations with customers.

The billion dollar question…will Coke’s 125 years of storytelling mastery translate online?

The following 2 videos -produced by Coke- outline the Coca-Cola (Digital) Content Strategy codenamed Content 2020.

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Coca-Cola’s Digital Strategy in a Nutshell

Coca-Cola plans to move from creative excellence to content excellence with the concepts of  liquid and linked content development.

Coke plans to create ideas so contagious they cannot be controlled (liquid) and relevant to business objectives, brand and consumer interests (linked).  They plan to “tell conversation provoking stories to earn a disproportionate share of popular culture”

How has Coca-Cola Strategy Fared so Far?

It’s now 4 months into 2012 and I’ve been following the brand strategy and campaigns on 3 important social networks. Here are my verdicts.

Coca-Cola on Facebook

Coke on FacebookCoca-Cola has an active Facebook profile. Over 41 million fans, however only 348,000 are engaged. That’s less than 1%, not good!

They’ve made full use of the Facebook timeline feature to remind consumers of their long and illustrious heritage.

Coke also states their purpose quite clearly at the gate of their Facebook profile page:

The Coca-Cola Facebook Page is a collection of your stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today.

They’ve also recently found a creative way to engage their Facebook fanbase with digital riddles. Although a bit random, I Loved it!

Verdict: Qualified Thumbs Up (i.e. they need to raise their engagement levels)

Coca-Cola on Twitter

Coke on TwitterCoca-Cola’s Twitter profile is quite active with 76,400 followers and over 52,000 tweets.  Their engagement levels are good but not on par with the brand’s offline popularity.

In fact, Pepsi are outperforming Coke in both number of followers and level of engagement.

 

 

Verdict: Thumbs Down.

Coca-Cola on Pinterest

Coke on PinterestAt the time of writing, Coca-Cola’s Pinterest profile has a paltry 745 followers.

Coca-Cola are using Pinterest to curate “moments of pleasure” Most of the pins are photos of people enjoying a bottle of Coke.

They’ve created 5 boards and 77 pins in total.  Board titles include:  “Be Together“, “Be Active“, “Be Giving“, “Be in the Moment” and “Keep  Discovering“.

I don’t get it.  It appears neither do the followers, as many of the images have not been shared (aka “re-pinned” a la Pinterest lingo).

Personally, I don’t think they understand this new platform and are massively under-utilizing it, given the immense strength of their brand image.

Verdict: Thumbs Down.

In Summary

There is no doubt that Coke have the right mentality and resources to tackle the challenges brought on by the digital age and a new empowered consumer, but they’ve yet to master the art of storytelling online.  Last year’s drop of the brand out of the top 10 most valuable brands shows how steep the hill is.

Coke’s got a long way to go before they can actually implement what they’ve so eloquently described as their vision “2020″.  I for one will be watching this space.

Further recommended reading…

Inspired by Coke’s brand story?  What’s yours?  Share below…

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