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10/09/2012 by

Coke On POE: Ask 50M Fans To Share Happiness

Coca-Cola is asking its 50 million Facebook fans to share happiness. Get unlimited inspiration and insights about Coke’s POE, Crowdsourcing and Social CRM strategy.

Coke’s ground-breaking and integrated social marketing approach could inspire many brands and their CMOs. Let’s take a deep dive here.

Coca-Cola is asking its 50 million Facebook fans for creative input about how it can make the world a “happier place”, in a scheme to activate its Open Happiness theme and to collect customer data.

With Coke’s new Facebook App, fans can register their interest in the scheme by filling out their details, and they can share their ideas on happiness.

On the app, Coca-Cola explains that users who give their permission will next receive marketing e-mails from the company and information may be disclosed to service providers who handle campaigns on its behalf or to affiliates who may send marketing offers and information.

Coke has said the ideas it is looking for will be ones which enable people to be more active, give to others, be social or “engage in other activities associated with increased happiness”. Further information, including timelines for the project, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Now there are a few things at Coke that could really inspire CMOs.

Are you ready for some of my opinions?

Most marketers around the globe have embraced social media, but they failed to integrate it. Organizing social media in an integrated way seems to be very difficult for brands. But not for Coca Cola.

Due to the lack of big-data analyses and lack of integrated media metrics most CMOs are not able to get the highest possible ROI on their media investments, because they are not using the smartest possible mix of POE media.

Most brands start with social tactics, but social is not at the heart of the brand. So many of these brands will start to buy Facebook likes, since size does seem to matter. A lot.

A serious question to CMOs: If you do not have or do not claim a long term theme, topic or passion, how are you going to build relationships with fans in the social media space?

If social media and building a Facebook fan page do not have a long term topic at the heart of your social strategy, how will you keep connecting to your fans? Or how will your fans be able to connect to your brand?

Or were you planning to keep firing product promos and ads to your fans 365 days a year?

Long term loyalty and brand advocacy do need a topic or passion. Passion is the key to the consumer’s broken heart.

Passion can certainly be found in the interest graph, not always in the social graph.

The risk for CMOs that do not claim a passion or topic is this: Nike has claimed the domain running. With this claim it’s connecting to passionate runners again and again, with Nike+ and now Nike Fuelband.

And by doing so, Nike is keeping core running brands like Asics, Adidas and Reebok on the bench in this domain. So my tip would be: Claim your passion or domain at put this at the heart of your social strategy.

Build content, conversations and relationships with passionate people and their peers around this domain. Blend your products promos and campaigns in this long term strategy and the content calendar.

And that topic or domain brings me to a next opportunity that is hardly coined by brands today: Social can be great to activate your sponsorships. Only a few brands are currently using social media and the interest graph to activate their existing sponsorships.

Strange, certainly when realizing that most brands in their sponsorships already have these fantastic ingredients: A passion or topic. A 3-5 year sponsorship agreement that include IPRs, content and backstage entries. And not a small detail: Access to a large base of passionate people.

Below visual might inspire you to get social at the heart of your brand or sponsorship activation. People are about: Passion, passion, passion.

So a shared passion is really a great contact-alibi for brands to build mutual beneficial relationships like-minded passionate consumers. “You had me at hello”, that is what most freaks or lovers will immediately say.

Coke’s Facebook fan page with over 50 million fans has become an extremely powerful weapon of mass affection. In Coke’s POE strategy its Owned media channel is a Facebook page with 50 million fans.

What if 10% of these fans would share Coke’s Happiness to about 100 friends on Facebook? Can you image the Earned media value that initial seed to the Owned media channel would give?

Marketing used to be an art, not it’s a science. So big-data around POE? May the math be with you? Coke has POE embedded in its social strategy.

Coca-Cola is one of the few brands that started social media on a strategic level, not with just tactics and buying “likes”. See below visual that shows how many brands could flip their social funnel.

Coke has also understood from day one that social media and a Facebook page are long term social programs that go way beyond campaigns. So Coke claimed its domain and activated its branding theme Open Happiness in several smart ways.

In the social space, Coke is acting like Amazon, and has moved from reach to relationships and Social CRM.

The new Coke App on Facebook clearly shows the consumer data strive at Coca-Cola. With the App, Coke is able to store personal consumer information like: Birthday, country and e-mail address from its fans.

So where many brands buy Facebook likes (paid media) and next try to grow their fan base in organic ways (owned and earned media), Coke is skating to where the puck is going to be. Not where it has been.

Most brands that do not have (Social) CRM in their DNA, seem to have forgotten that Facebook lacks a mechanism with mileage.

Yes right, brands can post a message on their Facebook fan page. But next they lack a pull mechanism like opt-in e-mail to pull the fans through the funnel again.

With this App, Coke is certainly showing it understands the need to deepen the relationships with fans and is building a huge opt-in e-mail database as well. That database could be Coke’s next powerful Owned media channel.

Not long from now, Coke will be able to share unique and sneak preview social video and other content to its huge fan base.

And in this bottom-up approach, Coke might be able to reach existing fans but also a large group of friends of these fans. Now if that is not cost efficient and smart ways of advocacy marketing?

We have seen similar cases at Heineken and Nike: fans always first. So smart social planning starts with Owned media. Next fans will earn the brand extra attention by sharing the brand’s message to like-minded peers.

After these O + E phases, these brands make “it” bigger and bigger by using flights of Paid media.

So brands that will be sticking to tactics and fragmented insights in their social approach will keep failing. Strategic social planning is thinking and acting beyond Paid media.

The POE mix, should always start with Fans First. Think about satisfied and loyal customers, you can’t buy them!

People can only become fans or advocates if they already really like your products or love your brand.

This is an “old but solid” marketing or WOM law, that can certainly be amplified and leveraged by smart use of social media.

In this context, social media is just the old wine in new bags. We should see social media beyond channels and only useful for extending reach, social media can truly fuel relationships and advocacy.

Brands that want to take the next step towards becoming social by design, will need to think beyond campaigns and reaching people at social media channels.

Leading brands like Amazon, Starbucks, Nike and Coca-Cola have been shining their strategic lights on how to switch from reach to relationships and how to transform unknowns in knowns.

These brands have embraced CRM now, and will next embrace Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) will also be the preferred brands than can pitch on consumer profiles.

In the near future, consumers will own their own data profiles and will be adding these profiles to a virtual market place. Here some brands will be allowed to pitch on these buying needs.

So consumers will be more in control the coming years: By permision and opt-in over their own profiles. And consumer data, that will be the new oil.

Great, we might have also solved the cookie and privacy issue here. But that story I will try to serve you next week.

Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Nike and Coke have already embraced CRM and discovered the power of owning consumer profiles, and they will lead the way in the upcoming era of VRM.

This is where CMOs can lead their brands towards a better, more profitable and more predictable future: By embracing CRM and VRM business strategies.

Shareholders will love predictable companies. And it’s a crucial no-brainer that leading brands need to be part of the chosen ones in this VRM era. So out of the box thinking is needed, to be part of the box of preferred vendors.

Putting social at the heart, going beyond social tactics, it are matters of embracing the digital revolution. And that all starts with experiencing a mental revolution of: Disruptive and non linear thinking.

Since we have all promised our shareholders growth.

What About You?

How do you like Coke’s social strategy? How do you get to know your Facebook fans? I’d love to read your ideas.

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More about breaking with the status quo? Browse our category Trends & Innovations, follow Igor Beuker on Twitter, grab our RSS Feed, join our Facebook movement or subscribe to our weekly e-mail newsletter.

About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairman at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 3 digital agencies (sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is ‘freejack’ consultant and a sought after keynote speaker.

Source: BrandRepublic and MarketingWeek.


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Comments (8)

  • SEO Info Box 11/09/2012, 00:31

    All I know is an ice, cold, coke would make me VERY happy right now. Nice article too. :)

    • Haha, I’m grabbing my Zero right now. Grandpa is on low calories ­čśë

      Thanks for sharing! Pretty cool approach by Coke huh…



  • Laurens 11/09/2012, 08:49

    Great article, with great insights.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Igor
      11/09/2012, 10:39


  • Vera Oliveira
    11/09/2012, 11:46

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. When you take the time to get to know your consumer, to gather data, listen to what they love, what they are passionate about… You have almost all your answers. As you said, “Putting social at the heart”.

    • Hi Vera,

      Thanks. Indeed taking the time to get insights.
      Marketing used to be an art, now it’s a science..

      Big-data? May the math be with you ­čśë


  • goutsolution
    13/09/2012, 10:27

    do you have any tools can make it

    • Tools are available in the Buddy Media sapplet suite or any other FB CMS!

      We have a dedicated own build CMS with 7 sapplets too.