Coca-Cola – From brand publisher to brand innovator

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As one of the biggest brands in the world, Coca-Cola doesn’t really need to promote its products that much. Every day, 1.8 billion of the company’s beverages are served in over 200 countries and you’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t drank a glass of its sugary goodness.

However, not long ago the soft drinks giant embarked upon a radical marketing strategy to become a fully-fledged brand publisher. After announcing that “the corporate website is dead and press release PR is on its way out,” it launched Coca-Cola Journey, a revamp of its main website that strictly featured lifestyle-type editorial.

While it continues to follow the “Coca-Cola Content 2020” strategy, which has shifted from “Creative Excellence” to “Content Excellence,” the forward-thinking brand is now reinventing itself once again to become a technology innovator.

Coca-Cola Journey

2012 was the start of the Coca-Cola Journey, which strived to provide consumers with interesting and informative stories rather than simple news updates or product promotions. A year after it launched, Coca-Cola contributor Ashley Brown wrote: “We believed that the best content is social at the core, digital by design, and emotional.”

With this in mind, the brand dived into user and traffic data, introduced new content channels and made tweaks to website design, which resulted in more page views and visits. Today, Coca-Cola says it attracts an average of 1.2 million visitors a month to the site with a bounce rate of 20 to 24 per cent. Impressive stuff.

Beyond a brand publisher

Not satisfied with its all-encompassing brand publisher status, Coca-Cola has now embarked on a new expedition. Launched last year but not publicised in order to generate funding, the Coca-Cola Founders Network is a global initiative with the aim of getting close to small technology start-ups. The brand supports these entrepreneurs and enterprises with an investment, which turns into equity once a sustainable business model has been achieved.

Examples so far include a staffing level management app originating in San Francisco and a video sharing social network from Rio de Janeiro. Alongside signing a deal with Spotify, Coca-Cola seems intent on pursuing technology to increase its reach and boost revenue.

Digital diversification

Many seem to be asking why Coca-Cola, which is fundamentally a drinks company, is branching out into areas that don’t concern its core business. But ever since starting the bold yet brilliant Coca-Cola Journey, its strategy to innovate marketing efforts has no limits.

The brand knows it can’t expand much with drinks alone, especially when health conscious consumers read the ingredients. So by starting with content and moving on to technology, Coca-Cola is grabbing hold of today’s ever-changing world with both hands. The Coca-Cola Founders network is nothing to do with publicity or promotion, it is a way for a big corporation to build strong relationships with more accessible companies and thus become the good guy.

Marketing lesson

Other brands should watch Coca-Cola’s approach to marketing carefully. While several companies don’t have the same budget, it doesn’t cost anything to come up with innovative and unique ideas that enhance awareness, build identity and inspire customers.

But will Coca-Cola’s mission to become a brand innovator succeed? Or is it just a way for them to increase their already extensive reach? Comment below and have your say!