Monday, November 19, 2012

Coca-Cola's "Journey" to Storytelling Success

The Coca-Cola Journey

“Coca-Cola Journey” has a ring to it. What is the “Coca-Cola Journey” you may ask? It is a new direction that the company is taking in order to “underline the intent to re-present the corporate website as an online magazine” (NY Times). Coca-Cola as a brand has decided to expand their interests, from branding their classic soft drink to making the consumer experience more than just taking a sip of a refreshing beverage on a hot day. The website will offer articles (on things like “entertainment, the environment, health and sports, etc.), video and audio clips, interviews, and other magazine-esque pieces. 

click here for original website

How do we know that this is going to appeal to Coca-Cola customers? Well, according to the New York Times, “the web site draws about 1.2 million unique visitors a month.” Some simple math shows us that that roughly 7.2 million visit the website every six months, which makes 14.4 million viewers a year. Assuming that these numbers were generated from people visiting the original website, I’d say its safe to proclaim the new website will be a Cola-Cola success. 

From A Marketing/Entrepreneurship Major's Prospective...

click here for original website

As an entrepreneurship and marketing major, the aspect about this new revamped website that caught my attention was the “storytelling” of it all. According to Stuart Elliott, “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.” 

By creating this new interactive website, Coca-Cola is enriching its brand. The company has already achieved an iconic brand status, yet they continue to strive for new consumer experiences. The best part about it all? The brand is taking its success with a grain of salt. Ashley Brown, the director for digital communications and social media at Coke, stated: “I’m sure we’re going to make mistakes, and readers are going to tell us.” 

Storytelling & Its Importance

As a consumer, I am reassured that the brand is going in the right direction by openly stating that mistakes might be on the horizon. I like to know that the executives of Coke are listening to my opinion and that my voice, as a consumer, matters. Revamping the website is always a good idea to get new customer insight, yet the brand is aware that there may be some kinks to work out. Regardless, creating a new environment for customers to play around in and connect more with the brand is both beneficial to the customers and the brand. The customers get a new toy (in terms of the new website) and the brand gets new feedback. Everybody wins.

Branding Strategy Insider defines storytelling as: “the white-hot center of how humans share ideas that matter and build relationships between them.” The storytelling of a brand essentially creates a relationship between the brand and the consumer that would otherwise be difficult to find.

According to Jesse Noyes, “As content marketing and brand journalism takes hold, better corporate storytelling examples have emerged, especially in B2B marketing where sales cycles are long and the need to engage an audience is pivotal.” There are many other examples of using social media as storytelling, and these are the brands that Coke needs to follow closely in order to get good tips for success. 

1) Cisco (They “transformed it’s former News@Cisco site into “The Network”, a dynamic, constantly changing newsroom for topics like social media, collaboration, video and data.”)
2) HSBC (This bank has a “business without borders” platform, which is “all about providing knowledge to companies who have or intend to expand internationally” by means of their website)
3) Intel (They launched the iQ project, which “uses an algorithm to identify the content employees are consuming by analyzing actions “likes” and retweets while taking into account recency and shares”)

These are just a few examples of companies that have decided to create value within their websites. When I say “create value,” I mean to say that these businesses have decided to give their consumers the ultimate experience from an intangible medium. This takes brand storytelling, and the customer experience, to the next level.


Resources:
http://blog.eloqua.com/corporate-storytelling-examples/
http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2012/09/brand-storytelling-strategy.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/business/media/coke-revamps-web-site-to-tell-its-story.html

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