New rules of engagement for company websites.
Coke launched its new website this month and it certainly doesn’t look like the typical corporate website. That’s because it isn’t!
In appearance it resembles a slick digital e-zine, or a really professional blog, with lots and lots and LOTS of content.
The graphic design complies with all the brand guidelines – classic white lettering on red, like the ubiquitous Coke can, the Coca Cola brand name in its Spencerian Script is supported by the slogan “Refreshing the world, one story at a time”.
The top menu bar offers Stories, Opinions, Brands, Video, Unbottled (the blog), Food and Music. Each page contains Flipboard-style capsules of stories with visuals all around the Coke lifestyle. It is a combination Instagram, Facebook, blog, message board with a Twitter feed.
The curation was, for the most part crowdsouced, according to Ashley Brown, Group Director of Digital Communications and Social Media. “Like any winning campaign, we let the data guide us and inform our content decisions. Replacing a transactional corporate website with a digital magazine upended how we work. With KPIs focused on engagement, the new newsroom meant publishing content based on what readers want to read.”
“Today, fans tell the company when to communicate, not the other way around. We’re a communications team that’s as comfortable with data sets as editorial calendars, and we’re using a year of Coke Journey data to make our communications plans smarter.”[i]
So what is Coke doing differently?
Coca Cola has built their strategy on their consumers or “fans” (what a great start, this acknowledgement of their target as a group that’s implicitly involved almost evangelical about Coke). They have used a combination of analysis and interactivity to draw people into a relationship and provided a venue, the website, where they can get, share, tell, show the important things in their lives. Coke, being the common denominator.
It’s all about relationship. Coke has created a site where they hope they can capture and engage fans. Given the breadth and depth of content, there should be something for everyone.
The content includes stories on everything from Thanksgiving dishes, to personal success stories to stories on conservation and environmental activities.
Is this the template for the website of the future?
This is very different from the mostly static information pages of the typical corporate site. There will be some getting used to it, but everything necessary to a corporate website is there: Careers, Press Centre, company information and reports
Evidently, the folks at the Coca Cola Company made a strategic decision to focus on engagement, defining what that meant to them and then executed against it.
They make much better use of their digital space than the current boring informational standard for corporate sites. Coke’s site is rich, entertaining, informative; it promotes participation, interaction and dialogue. It is inviting, with a breadth and depth of content that is impressive and it is all about and around Coke drinkers.
It offers compelling reasons to return to the site on a regular making it a digital destination rather a site for brief and fleeting consultation.
Will other companies follow Coke’s lead?
This is a huge undertaking, a huge change in how Brands perceive their users.
It is a new mindset of talking with, not talking at your customers. It’s no longer an “us and them”, it’s just us, because the consumer is a considered a more important stakeholder than ever, with substantial power and a key role to play
Companies need the resources, the attitude and understanding of a new consumer era and, even more crucial, a spirit of openness to explore it.
According to Coke, “Content is King, and the Corporate Website is Dead”.
They may be right. It could be the real thing!