1. Engage with consumers, don’t dictate
Brands like Coke understand that great content marketing means you need to engage with consumers, not dictate to them. Red Bull is leading this drive more than any other consumer brand, especially in Coke’s market.
2. Create “Liquid and Linked” ideas
Coke talk about the need to “produce liquid ideas that earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.” “Liquid” content is made of connected sub-stories that connect to the dominant brand story. Red Bull has been doing it for a while. Their brand story about how Red Bull “gives you wings” is perfectly illustrated by guys flying through the air on bikes, snowboards or in Felix Baumgartner’s case, breaking the sound barrier 24 miles above the earth.
3. Content needs to be great
Coke wants to create space for “big, fat, fertile thinking”, committing to bigger thinking – “seeking bigger transformational actions over small incremental thinking.” Coke don’t want their content to “get lost in noise”, or worse, become irritating to their fan base.
4. Earn attention and build trust. Sell later
Don’t interrupt consumers or intrude with marketing messages. Say something relevant and interesting. Best of all, get them to talk about your message.
“Coca-Cola can no longer rely on 30-second TV-centric brand communications… we must instead create the most compelling content in the world… we have to have fat and fertile ideas at our core.”
Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy & Creative, Coca-Cola
5. Have a purpose
Coke’s over-arching purpose for content is “to make the world a better place. It’s a strong mission statement that they can be held accountable by their fans. The idea of Coke’s “Live Positively Principles” sounds like a big area to expand into from a content marketing stand-point and can work with an unhealthy product.
6. The importance of data
“Data is the new soil for ideas to grow…”, says Coke, “data whispers are the new messiahs.” Coke recognise the importance of data as a part of creating those big fat, fertile creative briefs and that they need to be brave, to measure what happens, to “iterate, iterate, iterate” and improve what they do based on what they learn from data.
7. Storytelling binds content together
Coke talk of “value and significance”, recognising that engaging content must engage consumers and spark conversation (Nandos has always done this so well, and so has Virgin). Stories need to be expressed consistently through every possible connection to have a real impact on popular culture.
8. Commit to Strategy
Coke has a 70%-20%-10% model for content creation. 70% of content will be low risk and take 70% of their time resource.
20% of their content will be more innovative. It will work harder to engage the audience at a deeper level and carry some risk.
10% of their content will be high risk, based on brand new creative ideas.
“We have this belief in great, real content and creating content that can be spread through any medium as part of our “liquid and linked” strategy…My team, the digital communications and social media team, has been re-formed in the last year to look more like an editorial team at a long-lead magazine… with a production schedule and an editorial calendar.”
Ashley Brown, Director for digital communications and social media, Coca-Cola Company