CASE: Brand Story Telling; The Coca-Cola Journey

Coca-Cola unveiled their answer to the content marketing trend through the Coca-Cola Journey. According to Ashley Brown, Director of Digital Communications and Social Media, Journey will provide content related to all drinks produced by the company and will be home to a vast amount of Coke-related content. More like a magazine than a typical company website, this massive content investment shows a commitment to gaining a “disproportionate share” of public interest, according to VP of Global Advertising; Jonathan Mildenhall. It also shows that the company has taken the global lead as a branded content producer.

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Journey marks the triumph of the editorial role in content marketing. “The role of content excellence is to behave like a ruthless editor, otherwise we will risk just creating noise,” said Mildenhall.

The website is set up much like a magazine, with subject categories that include sports, pop culture, and Coke’s various brands. Every page features content – everything from articles to videos – that highlight Coca-Cola products and branding.

According to Mildenhall, 70 percent of Coke’s content investment is in “low risk, bread-and-butter, pays-the-rent content.” Twenty percent builds on “what works within that 70 percent.” Ten percent of the content investment is in “high-risk content,” which may succeed, fail, or prove controversial. That 10 percent will keep Coke in the vanguard.

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“We must remember that storytelling is at the heart of every family, community, and culture,” Mildenhall says. “And it is something that the Coca-Cola Company has excelled at for the past 125 years.” The content of the website reflects Coke’s vision: “To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness [and] to create value and make a difference.” The optimism, nostalgia and neighbourly attitude that Coke has fostered in its brand identity is evident on the website, especially in the featured content.

In order to monitor the response to their storytelling and to react on a daily basis, Coke makes use of standard social metrics and “listening tracking tools” like Sysomos and NetBase.

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Coke has taken the lead in branded content. Holding on to it will require enough successful, high-risk content to maintain interest. This cannot be accomplished by analysis, but by truly creative endeavour. If Coke stays faithful to its vision and its content investment plan, it has a good chance of maintaining the edge for some years to come.

Jess Alexander

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