This week we discuss what a true content marketing leader is doing and how it’s strategy has evolved to embrace a content approach aligned to the reality of todays consumer

As a content marketing agency it’s our job to keep tabs on what the best in the business are doing. There are a host of brands doing great things but Coca-Cola can be considered a true content marketing leader. You may have read recently that Coca-Cola has suspended its brand advertising in the Philippines so that it can donate its entire ad budget to typhoon relief efforts. It’s a great cause and already the company has donated over $2.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions, but people have been quick to question whether suspending advertising is a marketing ploy in itself.

In my opinion and without detracting from any of the good Coca-Cola is clearly doing, this is undoubtedly a marketing win for the company. Why? Because the content created and awareness raised around generosity slots perfectly into the company’s content focused marketing strategy.

In 2011, Coca-Cola released two videos which together outline the company’s Content 2020 strategy. The videos show how the company will leverage the opportunities in the new media landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to people’s lives.

The narrator describes the challenges surrounding content creation in an enlightening way, instilling the idea that from a brand perspective “every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story”.

What could be more emotionally triggering than giving your entire advertising budget to the relief efforts of a country devastated by a natural disaster? The press pick up on the story and the Internet explodes with coverage around your brand. Pretty clever, eh?

What Coca-Cola have learned and are leading the way in, is that instead of spending billions of dollars on billboards or TV and radio slots; feed your budget into the creation of rich and compelling content. Become a content marketing leader, because it’s the only true way to sustain your brand marketing effectiveness for the foreseeable future.

Ask yourself, when’s the last time you saw a Coca-Cola advert on TV?

The company used to dominate the ad breaks around the festive period, but have now dramatically reduced their Television air-time in favour of making the “Holidays are coming” trucks story part of a real, 52-stop nationwide story, allowing other brands to shell out for the Yuletide TV top spot.

But the brand hasn’t stopped there. One of its goals is to ‘kill the press release’, reducing the number of press releases by half by the end of this year and wanting them gone entirely by 2015.

Coca-Cola is also on a mission to completely transform its corporate website into a fully-fledged media publication, and is now launching an invite only network of bloggers to share their content on it.

The ‘Journey’ website will now host content from popular bloggers, photographers and other creative publishers, focusing on three categories: food, culture and innovation. The initiative works similarly to LinkedIn’s Influencer program, but instead of getting big names to contribute to their platform, Coca-Cola says it is trying to unearth new talent and give them access to its resources.

With nearly 13.5 million site visitors since it launched just over a year ago, the ‘Journey’ website is an absolute content juggernaut. To date it has generated over 71,000 pieces of content in five different languages, including English, French, German, Arabic and Japanese.

Coca-Cola’s Ashely Brown says, “It’s all part of bringing emotionally connected stories to deepen the love our consumers have for our product.”

Where else have we heard this? The Content 2020 strategy in 2011.

So, not only has Coca-Cola stuck to its guns, the company has proven that a content focused strategy really works, becoming a content marketing leader in the process.

Let us not forget that in 2004, one of Coca-Cola’s own chief execs declared the company ‘creatively bankrupt’. Now, in 2013, it has earned the title of Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes.

Why? Because Coca-Cola considered what its audience really wanted and provided interesting, relevant and emotional content.

We at DVO think it’s great to see a brand embrace content to such an extent that it’s become the main driver of its overarching brand strategy. We work with many brands encouraging them to do the same thing, and have the results to prove that it works.

If you’re looking for a way to harness the power of content to grow your brand, become a content marketing leader and need some help getting there why not get in touch with DVO and see how we can help you achieve your goals.

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