Social Media Series: Marketing Innovation

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Social Media Series: Marketing Innovation

Coca-Cola has found a way to stay relevant in a market that is slowly turning away from sugary drinks like soda. Coke’s integrated marketing strategies utilize both traditional and new media to create unique ads that tell a brand story across multiple channels. Coke employs social media as a way to invite consumers to be a part of their story. Using social media as a marketing tool allows Coke to onboard younger generations and creates a call to action. Personalized content and an innovative delivery system are what make Coke so popular. No matter which way you slice it, Coke is winning the social media ad game. Because after watching these videos, you’re probably going to be thinking about having a Coke.

Coke is happiness, and it’s always been equated with happiness. But, now the company is moving away from promoting happiness to provoking it. Who doesn’t like to be happy? Take a look at Coke ads and take note of how you feel. If you’re unsure, take a quick look at their Facebook, Youtube, Instagram for ideas. If you’re feeling hopeful, excited, happy, or empowered that is no accident. Coke has carefully crafted their marketing campaigns to elicit these feelings. This approach empowers fans and allows them to become the center of their own Coke narrative because they get to choose their type of happy. By creating a type of choose your adventure dialogue, Coke makes a strong connection with their fans, and this connection is why they are a dominant force globally.

How does Coke allow you to become the center of your own Coke narrative? By creating epic campaigns that get you excited about Coke.

  1. Drinkable Ads: Coke partnered with music identification software maker Shazam to create technology that would allow people to drink a virtual coke. The software uses the built-in microphone on your smart phone to allow you to sync up with a digital billboard, a social media post, and drink down a coke. As you sip the liquid in the glass goes down as if you are drinking the coke. Once finished, you are rewarded with a coupon for a free Coke Zero. Fans were able to share their experiences on social media. This innovative marketing tactic generated significant buzz on social media and elicited thousands of shares and likes for Coke across multiple social platforms.

    “Drinkable advertising is an innovative approach to removing barriers and making it ridiculously easy for those who are open to try Coke Zero to enjoy it in fun and unique ways.” – Racquel Mason VP for Coca-Cola and Coke Zero brands.

“An idea working across experiential, digital, social, PR and broadcast channels creates an intimate ‘trial’ experience at mass scale,” – Adam Tucker Ogilvy & Mather New York President

2. Share a Coke: Coke created a personalized brand experience for their customers when they created individualized bottles. There is something exciting about finding your name on a bottle of Coke. Tell me you haven’t spent a few moments browsing for your name on a Coke bottle. I know I have, and I don’t even drink pop. People were so enthused about the personalization that they shared 250,000 tweets with the hashtag #shareacoke. The wildly popular campaign was so popular that it has received a makeover and will now feature song lyrics. #shareacokeandasong allows fans to find bottles with their favorite song lyrics. Fans can use Shazam to record a video of them lip-syncing to the song and upload it to social media. This marketing approach helped put Coke back on the map after a period of declining sales and helped Coke land a 28% growth in customers. The reason this campaign was so successful is because it encouraged action. It encouraged fans to go out and buy a Coke product and then talk about it online.

3. Coca-Cola Journey:  Coke no longer has a corporate website. Instead, it has a media platform that looks like a digital magazine that acts as Coke’s publishing umbrella. Coca-Cola Journey continues Coke’s tradition of story telling by intricately weaving branded articles, and non branded articles to create a cohesive content journey.  The site features all matter of content from articles about why Coke bottles are a treasure for sea glass collectors to stories about music.

“The brand said the site has contributed up to 50 percent of the social media growth for Coke the brand in the last three years.” – Digiday

“Our social channels serve as an amplifier for Coca-Cola Journey content and as a means of engagement with consumers. We collaborate with sister departments across the company to discover and curate the stories we publish on Journey and, in turn, our social media channels.” – Doug Rusk, Global Group Director for Digital Communications & Social Media at The Coca-Cola Company

Stories published on Journey are shared on a host of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn to drive traffic to the site and boost engagement. Coke has created a unique type of social media metric to measure reader engagement called: Expression of Interest. This metric identifies which content is being read, how and where it is being shared, and how it is interacted with.

Kevin Shively argues that Coke is successful at social media marketing because they employ the following tactics:

  1. Build Central Campaigns: Coke creates ads that are based on specific events such as the World Cup, or a holiday like Christmas. The ads are inclusive and work to unite audiences across borders around a central concept: Coke.
  1. Crowd-source: Coke gets their fans in on it, and that’s why they succeed. Their fans can upload all manner of content and participate in the creative process.
  1. Interact directly: Coke responds to comments, re-posts fun content, and interacts with their fans. Coke makes you feel important.
  1. Measure your Success: Coke carefully crafts marketing strategies that respond to their fan base. They’ve been able to embrace new social media platforms in a bid to increase their millennial fan base. This approach works for them because it shows fans that Coke is adventurous, hip, and witty.

Coke uses an integrated marketing approach to create a cohesive brand story. Coke ads make you excited about Coke. If they don’t make you excited, they at least make you curious. A drinkable ad, a bottle that prompts you to lip sync, a bottle that knows your name? To Coke, you’re not a customer; you’re part of their story. Coke markets itself not as a company, but as an experience. When you engage with their social media ads, you’re embarking on a journey, and you get to choose your own adventure. That’s how Coke wins at social media marketing.

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