Why Invest In Content Marketing? Because Coca~Cola Says So

The next time your boss or a client asks you why on earth you’re commissioning, writing or creating all this damn content, point them in the direction of Coca~Cola’s Content 2020 marketing mission. If that doesn’t convince them, nothing will.

You don’t know what Content 2020 is? Let me fill you in. In a nutshell, Content 2020 is Coke’s vision for the future of marketing…and it’s content marketing all the way. They are investing what must amount to millions in content marketing.

The big question is, of course, WHY? This shift in direction comes from the mind of Coke’s Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence Vice President, Jonathan Mildenhall, who recently said:

All advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of the 24/7 connectivity. If you’re going to be successful around the world, you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core.

The global drinks company has already relaunched their corporate site, calling it the “Coca~Cola Journey”, in a format now more than reminiscent of a consumer magazine than corporate information portal. The name, incidentally, comes from an employee magazine that used to be published between 1987 and 1997.

Instead of stuffy financial reports and product listings, you’re now looking at a mass of content and, most importantly to Coke, Stories, all designed to engage, interest, bring benefit and, of course, raise brand awareness and drive sales. Or as contentmarketinginstitute.com put it:

  • Coca-Cola needs to move from creative excellence to content excellence,
  • They need to develop content that makes a commitment to making the world a better place and to develop value and significance in people’s lives…while at the same time driving business objectives for Coca-Cola, and
  • Through the stories they tell, to provoke conversations and earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.

Yes, quite. A disproportionate share of popular culture. One could argue they already have this. You don’t go into a pub, restaurant or bar and order a ‘cola’…or even a Pepsi…you order a Coke. And while you’re not too fussed if that’s what you actually get, you will always order a Coke.

That’s not enough for Mildenhall though. He wants you to feel personally attached to the brand – well, to all 100+ brands Coca~Cola are responsible for – and is not only pushing big, big content featuring the likes of female NASCAR and Coke Zero-sponsored Danica Patrick, fitness icon Jake Steinfeld and basketball legends LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but is also giving you the opportunity to have your say and tell your story. In short, they are making you feel like they’re listening.

That’s a lesson all content marketers need to learn and remember – it’s not just about creating great content, it’s about creating a two way conversation and listening to your audience. Go one step further and actually give them a voice and you’re onto a winner.

Coke’s whole strategy is geared towards that engagement and Coca~Cola Journey is really only part of it. Coke’s own reasoning for creating the new look website is provided by Ashley Brown. You can read the full blog post here, but here’s an extract:

Today, we launch the most ambitious rethink of Coca-Cola’s web properties since we launched our first website in 1995. And while we hope you enjoy the beautiful design and compelling content in these pages, you might ask yourself why we’re here. Why would any brand do this?

We want Coca-Cola Journey to be a place where thoughtful people indulge their curiosity about the world around them, engage in a civil discussion, and hopefully learn a little more about one of the world’s best-known companies. For our part, we commit to be an open, transparent, and honest host and a thoughtful curator.

We’re doing this because we’re optimistic about our world, and we think we have something to contribute to the global dialogue.

Laudable, no doubt, but of course the underlying, whispered, yet perfectly acceptable reason is to sell more Coke, more Sprite, more Fanta, more Powerade, more Fresca, more, more, MORE!

If, at the same time, they can contribute to our lives in a more meaningful way than simply slaking our thirst and taking money out of our pockets then so much the better. I’m a cynic, but I’m also willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

The point is, Coca~Cola are putting a significant chunk of their marketing budget into content marketing and that tells a story. Any digital/online/content/whatever marketer should sit up and take notice. And watch these two videos, which explain Mildenhall’s vision for Content 2020.

Content 2020 Part 1

Content 2020 Part 2

It’s not social media, it’s not SEO, it’s not online marketing…it’s an all-encompassing global marketing strategy for the future. You’ll either buy into it or you won’t.

Personally, I am, simply because traditional forms of marketing no longer even register on my conscious mind. But give me something to read, watch, listen to, something to contribute to, something to be a part of and make me feel like you’re listening…well, then I’m all yours. I’ll buy from you, I’ll become a brand advocate and I’ll scream your name from the rooftops. That’s why Coca~Cola are betting it all on Content 2020.

fluidcreativity
  • Written by on 13th November 2012 at 09:39
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
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  • James Dunn

    “But give me something to read, watch, listen to, something to contribute to, something to be a part of and make me feel like you’re listening…well, then I’m all yours.”

    Which, arguably, has been a part of what marketing – in all forms i.e. digital or otherwise – is all about.

    What Coca-Cola has mentioned in these Content 2020 videos is nothing new as we’ve been told all this before. It’s just an inbound/content marketing bandwagon that everyone is jumping on despite it being a part of everyone’s linking strategy for the past few years.

    And the one thing that bugs me was the mention of the Nike Girl Effect and of brands changing the world. How has it come to this “discovery” of content marketing for them to do something like this? In fact, the Nike Girl Effect wasn’t well thought out since most of the ideas behind it were vague and the joint initiative didn’t even have a child protection policy.

    Evidence for this is in the Guardian column here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/mar/23/girl-hub-strength-weaknesses

    And the linked report, within the guardian column, from the ICAI (with almost all assessments being subpar aka being marked 2/4):
    http://icai.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ICAI-Girl-Hub-Final-Report_P1-51.pdf

    And I’m not going to even start on the hypocrisy of brands destroying with one hand and helping with another!

    • Ben Greenwood

      There are, of course, a lot of rehashed ideas, lots of opportunity to ‘knock’ Coke and certainly plenty of scope for pointing out their flaws. The point is, while it has been part of MOST people’s linking strategy for a long time, it’s becoming more and more a part of every avenue of marketing and the fact that a company the size of Coke is doing it, it becomes a fantastic selling tool and a convincing argument to put to those clients and prospects who still aren’t quite sure.

  • James Dunn

    “But give me something to read, watch, listen to, something to contribute to, something to be a part of and make me feel like you’re listening…well, then I’m all yours.”

    Which, arguably, has been a part of what marketing – in all forms i.e. digital or otherwise – is all about.

    What Coca-Cola has mentioned in these Content 2020 videos is nothing new as we’ve been told all this before. It’s just an inbound/content marketing bandwagon that everyone is jumping on despite it being a part of everyone’s linking strategy for the past few years.

    And the one thing that bugs me was the mention of the Nike Girl Effect and of brands changing the world. How has it come to this “discovery” of content marketing for them to do something like this? In fact, the Nike Girl Effect wasn’t well thought out since most of the ideas behind it were vague and the joint initiative didn’t even have a child protection policy.

    Evidence for this is in the Guardian column here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/mar/23/girl-hub-strength-weaknesses

    And the linked report, within the guardian column, from the ICAI (with almost all assessments being subpar aka being marked 2/4):
    http://icai.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ICAI-Girl-Hub-Final-Report_P1-51.pdf

    And I’m not going to even start on the hypocrisy of brands destroying with one hand and helping with another!

    • Ben Greenwood

      There are, of course, a lot of rehashed ideas, lots of opportunity to ‘knock’ Coke and certainly plenty of scope for pointing out their flaws. The point is, while it has been part of MOST people’s linking strategy for a long time, it’s becoming more and more a part of every avenue of marketing and the fact that a company the size of Coke is doing it, it becomes a fantastic selling tool and a convincing argument to put to those clients and prospects who still aren’t quite sure.

  • James Dunn

    Oh and Minute Physics did the whiteboard drawing idea better!

    What if the Earth were Hollow?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN-FfJKgis8&feature=plcp

    Why is it Dark at Night?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxJ4M7tyLRE&feature=plcp

  • James Dunn

    Oh and Minute Physics did the whiteboard drawing idea better!

    What if the Earth were Hollow?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN-FfJKgis8&feature=plcp

    Why is it Dark at Night?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxJ4M7tyLRE&feature=plcp