What’s the big deal about Coke?

It was recently reported in New Media Age, picked up by the Hubspot blog that Coca-Cola were moving their campaign sites from “traditional” websites to social media platforms and they are not alone, Pepsi recently created a stir as they announced a move from big budget Super Bowl ads to investing in their social media community. So what does this mean for “traditional” web content management?

From a content publishing perspective (rather than a marketing trend) this isn’t really a big deal is it? Surely these guys have merely changed platform – moving to platforms that have greater focus on community tools. Should we now consider YouTube and Facebook as web content management systems or at least web publishing platforms?

Well.. I think.. yes.. and errr.. no.

The core functionality of any content management system, whether its digital assets, structured text content or documents – are the principles of not just authoring/uploading and publishing content – but of governance, permissions models, brand protection and approval processes – stuff these social media platforms simply don’t have.

Does this move suggest that perhaps Coke has surrendered all that back end control for some community features? I think, probably not.

The key I think is the quote from the New Media Age article where Prinz Pinakatt, Coke’s interactive marketing manager for Europe says:

“We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform.”

They want to publish content to where their audience is – and their community hangs out on Facebook and YouTube. Of course it’s the community that these platforms have attracted that is their value to these brands, rather than their functional and technical capabilities.

Build it and they will come. That’s the normal mantra of community building on the web, build a fantastic destination, invest in attracting visitors and encourage them to interact, engage and form your tribe.

But, hey with these social media networks – someone else has already built it and the people have already arrived.

As I referred to in my last post, there is a lot of talk about the redefinition of WCM, of separating the management bit from web delivery – publishing to social media networks could be a strong use case of that. That organisations are increasingly going to think of these sites as part of their multi-channel publishing strategy.

Of course the nice thing about the “build it and they will come” philosophy is that you exclusively own that community, you can listen to their interactions through web analytics and personalize or adapt your content and delivery in response.

A social media publishing strategy therefore needs a social media listening strategy to build that insight – but more of that in future posts.

But for now, as web publishers, looking to engage our visitors we need to rethink our idea of what the ‘destination’ is.

Coke Triumphant image courtesy of Oliver Scott reproduced under Creative Commons License.

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