Case Study: Coca-Cola — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

3:00 — Kurt Vanderah introduces Adam Brown of Coca-Cola.

3:01 — Adam: Couple of things:

– You have to do four things right.

– Traditional campaign mindset doesn’t work.

– Fish where the fish are.

– Success revolves around genuine, compelling content.

3:01 — Adam: Our homepage isn’t just It is everywhere that people are talking about us.

3:02 — Adam: There are 5000 mentions of Coke every day. Most of them are casual references (i.e., I’m drinking a Coca-Cola Zero) but there are some that are more relevant.

3:03 — Adam: How do we manage the conversation? We have a 4R social media strategy.

– Review: see what people are saying about you.

– Respond: how, where, and who does the responding? It has to be a true dialogue.

– Record: YouTube and video is the future of conversation.

– Redirect

3:06 — Adam explains the 10x6x10 initiative. 10 influential people talk about 6 important topics in 10 different countries.

3:07 — Adam: We have to empower our employees to respond.

3:07 — Adam: We launched our online social media principles.

– Online company commitments

– Online spokesperson guidelines

– Online association guidelines

3:10 — Adam: One of the misnomers is that Dasani is just bottled tap water, so we went to videotape our bottling plant to show what goes on.

3:11 — Adam: Campaigns don’t work in social media. Each time you do a program, you have to start at square one, instead of leveraging on previous campaigns.

3:12 — Adam: What we’re trying to do is build a relationship with Coca-Cola.

3:13 — Adam: It really is about telling compelling stories. How do we create compelling content that celebrates the spirit of the brand?

3:14 — Adam: The big idea is that Coca-Cola sells in 206 countries, so we asked: What if we sent 3 young people to all 206 countries?

3:14 — Adam then shows a short video to introduce Expedition 206.

3:16 — Adam: We’re trying to fish where the fish are. We’re putting content not just on the site but on Twitter, MySpace, Orkut, Vimeo– everywhere our fans already are.

3:17 — Adam: Our fans are not just our voters, but also our tour guides. We’re asking our fans to tell our ambassadors what to do in each of the countries they visit.

3:18 — Adam: Here are our takeaways:

– Do the 4Rs

– Forget campaigns & pillars

– Fish where the fish are

– Create genuine, compelling content

– Have fun!


Q: Would you say your enthusiasm and commitment is shared by the top executives at Coca-Cola?

A: Yes. It’s an exciting time at Coke. Our executives are realizing the importance of it and they are recognizing this is where our consumers are.

Q: How have you gone throughout the rest of the organization to establish rules and regulations about social media, assuming that’s the case. What policing is in place?

A: I am joined by my colleague on the marketing side. We both agree that we need to empower Coke’s employees. We’re doing a lot of online training. The social media certification is a big step to make sure our employees are comfortable online and one of the world’s biggest brands is protected as well.

Q: Could you talk about the two kids who started your Facebook page?

A: Great question. Two guys who weren’t Coke employees did it, and it got about a million followers. It got Facebook’s attention and they said they’d close it down because they were worried we would. What we did instead is gave them the chance to run it instead of us.

Q: Why aren’t you sending Asian kids to your campaign?

A: We got it down to nine semi-finalists and we had a Chinese person and someone from Great Britain who had dual citizenship, but they were not picked by the fans.

Q: How did the voting process work?

A: We had five platforms that people could work with. The reason we used that is so we did not have to deal with personal information. It also added third-party credibility.

Q: How involved or invested are employees because of all these?

A: What we’re finding is that across our three generations of associates, there is a high use of Facebook. We’re seeing a lot of interest and enthusiasm and we’re trying to get that same level of enthusiasm across the board.

Q: What are the success metrics for Expedition 206?

A: We’re defining it as a Public Relations project. It makes it easier to demonstrate ROI. It’s 206 opportunities to do a local media event. We’ve already had half a million conversations about it. The gravy is the fans and followers who will follow this at a macro-level.

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