As the Global Group Director for Digital Communications & Social Media at The Coca-Cola Company, it’s fair to say Doug Busk is an expert in creating content that draws customer engagement. His baby … Coca-Cola Journey. Journey is Coca-Cola’s publishing umbrella, and includes a mix of branded and unbranded articles and multimedia content. Busk shares his insight with Content Science Review about balancing an editorial process with a social strategy, capturing an authentic connection with readers, democratized storytelling, and the concept of expressions of interest on a global scale.
Our social channels serve as an amplifier for Coca-Cola Journey content and as a means of engagement with consumers. We collaborate with sister departments across the company to discover and curate the stories we publish on Journey and, in turn, our social media channels.
Journey is the company’s corporate website turned content platform. It’s a storytelling engine in the form of a digital magazine that hosts unique and original content about the company—who we are, what we do and why we do it. We work in tandem with PR, greater PAC, and marketing teams to support their efforts and initiatives by telling a deeper story than can be told via press release or traditional marketing campaigns.
Our content amplification strategy ensures that Journey stories shared via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and, most recently, Instagram are what we call venue-specific, respecting the best practices of each channel, with content that is not only formatted for, but increasingly created with, that network in mind. In doing so, we drive engagement, but, more importantly, reader or follower delight.
We also strive to remain on the front line of social evolution by experimenting with emerging channels. This summer, the company launched on Periscope with several broadcasts from behind the scenes at the Special Olympics World Games.
The most powerful thing about social is that it has democratized storytelling. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, these are all platforms for telling stories and through them, we can provide fans and followers an authentic look at our company, our associates, and our mission. Thanks to Journey and the supporting social channels, we’re able to expand beyond our marketing efforts to the great stories – told and untold – about a nearly 130 year-old company.
Our uber goal is reader engagement. So much so that the company created a proprietary formula to measure it called EOI, or Expressions of Interest. By analyzing how content is read, shared, and commented on, we’re able to identify the content that is resonating and adjust our editorial strategy accordingly.
As a global company, it was always crucial that Journey be a global initiative. Market Journey sites allow the company to have both a global and local voice as they feature original, region-specific content as well as shared content from the global site. The social strategy follows that model as well, allowing market sites freedom to adjust their strategy to accommodate cultural and regional factors.
Market sites have become innovation labs, many of them winning awards for content and social media innovation. Take Germany for example, they have a great editorial team who works together to create compelling photography that really brings their stories to life. With the use of a focus group, they also identified key insights, such as 50% of repeat visitors state, “Journey did improve my perception of Coca-Cola.” And with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the local Coca-Cola Journey team was able to tell an authentic story about a Berlin Coke Manager who paved the way for Coke in Eastern Germany. This story held one of the top EOI scores for the team.
Earlier this year, Coca-Cola Germany won the Online Communications Award 2015 – voted the best web magazine for a company in Germany. Coca-Cola Germany boasts 500 stories in two years drawing four million visitors who remain more than three minutes on average to enjoy features, insights and infographics.
Our editorial calendar is built upon a foundation of long-term strategic planning, including tent-poles for major company announcements such as our annual Sustainability report and quarterly earnings, with ample room for real-time nimbleness and opportunistic storytelling. Luckily, Coca-Cola supplies a fertile and rich source of stories – and stories behind the stories about the company many already thought they knew. This flexibility is the key to engaging authentically with readers, fans and followers and allows the company to be part of the world’s digital conversation as it shifts. Always, however, our focus remains on quality storytelling; without that, there is no context, or connection, with the reader.
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