Coca Cola's Branded Content Success Story
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
It’s always a success story of an underdog that makes you relish in the beauty of innovation and hard work. Coca Cola, in this case, was the underdog. That may be hard to believe considering it is a world famous soda brand that provides people with their coveted dark carbonated drinks.
Over the last decade, however, the U.S. has turned their back on sugary soft drinks leaving the industry’s sales in a “soda slump.” This decline forced Coca Cola to reinvent the culture of their company and in doing so they started with revamping their social media platforms to tell a story.
“The use of the word “story” is significant because the Web site changes are indicative of the growing interest among marketers in recasting their communications with consumers as storytelling rather than advertising. ’”
--Stuart Elliott, The New York Times
Instead of maintaining a corporate approach to their website, Coca Cola transitioned their site to look more like a media-website. With this look, they also began publishing content that consumers would want to consume--the purpose of branded content.
The goal of this was to converge the corporate website with a publishing platform. Coca Cola wanted to offer a plethora of point of views on topics ranging from entertainment, health, sports to interviews and opinion columns in order to foster conversation and to establish a brand voice.
In doing so, Coca Cola employed freelance writers and photographers coupled with marketing and public relations teams which collectively have the ability to generate over 15 million Coke stories in the social graph. The company’s approach to social media changed from broadcasting their products to instead focusing on content that is engaging and inspiring.
Coca Cola also took a holistic approach by not only creating their own content to be published on their site, but they also linked content from other sites as another way to promote who they are within the community. It is simply a site used as a “hub” for more information. The idea was channel coca-cola’s story and to make publishing a part of their identity.
Since there are teams of people generating content for the site, they are able to connect with a larger audience and help drive engagement with their brand.
The company’s look is completely new and resembles a glossy magazine with topics and stories that are appealing. For example, on the front page today, Coca Cola featured a story about sustainability in the North Atlantic Gyre to their involvement in helping Denver launch a Recycling Education Campaign. These stories highlight Coke’s focus on community which causes viewers to have a higher regard for the company.
This approach was risky to say the least, yet it has attracted over 1.1 million visitors to the site each month.