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What Coke Learned from Social Media

Come to find out, though, we Americans were not the first. The campaign was first launched in Australia in 2012 where product sales jumped by 10%. Imagine double-digit growth for a brand that is at least in maturity, and some would say, in the decline stage of the product life cycle.

A similar, though smaller but equally impressive, lift was felt in England when the campaign moved there in 2013. As sales saw the global leader with a 4.93% increase in year-to-year sales even while the industry as a whole noticed a decline.

What has Coke™ tapped into to gain this ground? My experience tells me they learned a lesson from social media.

They Made Things Personal – People like feeling good about themselves, they like feeling “heard,” and they like feeling like they matter. Seeing your name staring back at you at your local C-store does that in some small way.

They Made The Individual Important – In marketing, perception is everything. In the aftermath of the 1% movement, it was obvious that there was a growing distaste for large corporations. Coca-Cola was not going to downsize, but in perception they did. They quit dealing with people as VALS groups, demographics, or strategies and, at least in perception, made them feel like they matter.

They Relied on Word of Mouth – Sure Coke™ used traditional media to announce the promotion, but then they let their fans do the rest. Imagine the spark they got from having someone walk up to a friend and say “Hey I saw this and thought of you.” Or, “Oh Wow! I found a can with YOUR name on it.” For five minutes that person, and the Coke brand, was the star of the conversation. Then, empowered by the feelings of goodwill, two people now went back to find names of other friends so they could recreate that moment of “connected-ness.”

They Trusted Their Brand to Ambassadors – Sometimes we need to trust the market we have created. As marketers we get so obsessed with controlling every nuance and trying to control image and perception we forget to include our most important stakeholders. Look what two brand ambassadors did, when given the tools, freedom, and opportunity. This is magical. Maybe by letting go, we can watch our own magic happen.

They Kept the Message Direct and Brief – In a moment of twitter-like brilliance, they kept the instructions, an imperative command actually, brief. They let their customers know what they expected of them, and it wasn’t focused on Coke’s goals, it was focused on the individual. You can read the label “Share a Coke with ….” And, instantly you understand what you are supposed to do.

They Created Community – In a world where people are becoming less and less connectedin a meaningful way, Coke reminded us that names matter; people matter.

While it is yet to be seen if the lift the company has seen will maintain through time, for one glorious summer Coke stemmed an ebbing tide by learning a few lessons from the best attributes of social media.

Original article: What Coke Learned from Social Media

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