Blog Like the Big Brands: Coca-Cola

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Blog Like the Big Brands is Brandsplat’s newest weekly series wherein we look at how top global companies use blog writing and blog marketing to leverage their brands. This week, we crack open a cold one with Coca-Cola to learn how the world’s No. 1 brand uses blogging to stay on top.

Year after year, on every list, one company consistently ranks as the world’s most successful and recognizable brand — Coca-Cola. Coke has long been a leader on the digital and online marketing forefront. They tweet. They Facebook. They have a billion popular YouTube videos from around the world. And Coca-Cola blogs. So what’s Coca-Cola’s blogging strategy, and can normal blogging-for-business schmoes like you and me copy some of their moves?

Coke’s apparent strategy for blogging is of the “blog everywhere” variety. Launched in 2008, Coca-Cola Conversations is the company’s corporate blog, which focuses on Coke’s history and the value of its collectibles. Conversations is exactly that; Coke employees talking about the brand they love while giving readers a glimpse into the past. It’s surprisingly homey and old timey but with enough videos and mentions of social media to remind you that yes, it is still 2012.

Now, when a company chooses the “blog everywhere” path, it must fully commit to blogging on every popular platform, and Coke has done just that. Not only is Coke on Twitter but so are all of its other brands. Coke didn’t miss a beat when Tumblr’s popularity exploded; the company launched its own blog on the platform over the winter. “Happiness is drinking a Coke” is the Tumblr’s main message, so all of the blog posts are focused on great smile-inducing images and messages with Coke’s products and campaigns sprinkled throughout. It’s very Tumblr and very Coke all at the same time. The company didn’t need to twist itself to fit Tumblr or vice versa.

Naturally, you have to be a brand of Coke’s magnitude to dominate so many digital platforms, but there a few blogging ideas anybody can swipe from the soda giant. First, campaign-specific blogging is for everybody. Coke is great about launching blogs or social media accounts just for a certain promotional push, and that’s something every business can try. The great thing about blog campaigns is that they are low-cost and low-risk. Next, having multiple blogs can help you reach different audiences. The visual-based consumer that window shops on platforms like Tumblr or Pinterest is different from a blog visitor who likes to read a lot of text, so if you have the time, why not be like Coke and talk to all of them? Finally, be everywhere but know your limitations. Coke didn’t climb to the top without its share of trial and error. Coke has backed out of plenty of online campaigns over the years because they didn’t work. So remember that it’s okay if a blogging effort or social media marketing idea doesn’t pan out. Just don’t waste your time on things that don’t make an impression; focus on the efforts that make your audience happy.

Controversial ads aside, the Super Bowl could use a makeover

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barcalounger

The Super Bowl is still five days away but the buzz around banned ads and controversial commercials continues. Last week’s ManCrunch.com ad was axed by CBS amongst cries of homophobia and discrimination. And then there’s the Focus on the Family commercial that features college football star Tim Tebow .  Naturally,  it wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without a totally disgusting misogynistic Godaddy.com that was deemed too hot for TV. The most recent advertising reject is cellphone provider KGB’s raunchy advertisement featuring a man who’s head literally goes up his backside.

All of this hoopla, while it makes for decent headlines, seems to be a cry for attention for a major event that could use a creative overall. The 2009 telecast was down in viewers compared to 2008’s record breaking numbers.  This year’s network CBS won’t likely be stirring up any Janet Jackson-like controversy as aging rockers The Who headline the halftime show. Younger viewers will be wondering “the who?” as older viewers may confuse the band’s more

Is your blog a happiness machine?

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happiness_machine

I came across this really cool advertising stunt by Coca-Cola. The marketing geniuses responsible for the event rigged a Coca-cola vending machine to gave out extra goodies to college students who put their hard earned college coinage into the machine.  Students who visited the machine got a bevy of freebees designed to make people smile: free bottles of Coke, a pizza, a bouquet of sunflowers, even a very large sub. Imagine if your blog, website or social media campaign followed this same format. Instead of just regurgitating the same stuff over and over, what if a blog or a website or a social media campaign gave you doses of happiness. Okay, you don’t have to spread happiness, but you should strive to make people feel something. Whether you make them laugh, cry or get angry, you are doing what the Coke Machine is doing. You are getting people to engage with your brand. When people come to your site, blog or Facebook page expecting the same-old stuff and you give them a dose of something more…. bonus! And what do you get in return? You get loyalty, readership, engagement and possibly one more person out there who likes you. It’s a simple yet powerful lesson, one that i will aspire to practice as a marketer. So what have you done to spread the good stuff around?

When Pepsi Abandons Traditional Marketing, It’s Time To Take Notice

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Pepsi is not only abandoning traditional marketing, it is abandoning a 23 year old tradition of Super Bowl advertising and replacing it with social media marketing. The tens of millions of dollars spent on Super Bowl advertising will certainly buy a lot of social media marketing – the question is, will it be a smart move? I think it will and here’s why.

The Super Bowl is a one dimensional market when it comes to geographic location and that dimension is the US market. Pepsi has a strong presence in the US, so the time is probably right to look at other markets where their presence is not so strong. It is also worth pointing out that they will get plenty of mileage in the US by simply making this announcement.

Geographical regions such as Europe and Asia (particularly China) are huge and Pepsi doesn’t have a large following in these regions. China, in particular, is interesting given the huge penetration made by Coke; this may provide a clue to Pepsi’s thinking. China is also one of the largest users of social media. So if asked how Pepsi could make an impact in China – the answer may be through social media marketing.

There are many other advantages, of course. Television advertising is very much a one shot wonder – even the Super Bowl. It needs to be followed up with newspaper, billboard and in-store marketing. Social media marketing is a long term strategy that will continue to produce results down the road. They will still need the follow-up marketing, however the total cost will be far lower. This means they can repeat the exercise across several geographical regions and still spend less than their current Super Bowl outlay.

Pepsi is not the first to realize the power of social media marketing. Pepsi is probably one of the biggest in terms of dollars spent on TV advertising. What will be interesting to follow is whether or not Coke will respond in a similar way and what sort of influence this will have on other businesses that have been considering social media marketing. When the big boys decide to change the rules of the game, you know it’s time to take notice.