By Amanda Ponzar
Just read a great article “Coca-Cola Marketing Shifts from Impressions to Expressions” by Joe Tripodi, CMO of Coca-Cola, in Harvard Business Review.
In marketing, it’s not just about impressions (audience size) anymore but rather about engaging consumers and tracking what they DO, how they interact with your brand. Today, people create their own content and talk about brands –- what they like and what they don’t –- very publicly on social networks. In this very blog, I’ve posted about Starbucks, Salvation Army, Microsoft and many, many more.
Of course I have opinions on brands –- don't you? I love Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It removes all those black marks from walls without baking soda. I like driving Toyotas. I love Kashi cereal. Recently, I had trouble with a brand (their home fragrance product spilled and ate the paint off my mantel –- toxic!), but they jumped into action quickly and responded well, so I won’t be complaining about them in this blog post or on Twitter. Lucky them.
But back to Coke. They’re now tracking “consumer expressions”, or any way consumers engage with their brand, whether a like on Facebook or sharing a post with their network. This is harder to track as it’s not just the number of people, but WHAT they are doing –- qualitative versus quantitative data. It takes a lot more time and engagement on our part too –- not just shoveling news releases, tweets or TV commercials out the door, but listening, engaging and responding.
Coke’s key marketing ideas center around empowering people to promote the brand, which is what many of the best brands do (haven’t you heard of brand fanatics or brand evangelists? See “10 ways to create brand fanatics”).
Apparently, on YouTube, out of 145 million views related to Coke, only 26 million were related to content Coke actually created. Most of it was made by their fans! Coke also aims to make creative, relevant content that is “so compelling,” that people can’t help sharing it. (They call this “liquid and linked” -- content that can flow through any medium and is linked to their core brand/biz.) Coke even admitted that their Facebook fan page, with more than 25M fans, was created by consumers, not Coke. WHOA. Most brands would have had a heart attack and shut that sucker down, but Coke chose to partner and now claims their Facebook site is growing by 100k fans per week. How many brands can say that?
What struck me most was how willing Coke was to dialogue with consumers and adapt –- whether turning a viral video into a commercial or letting fans create content. Coke just celebrated its 125th anniversary in May (happy birthday to you), and they may just be on their way to another 125.