Today’s marketers have their work cut out for them. Besides facing greater competition and waning attention spans, they also have to be on the cutting edge of emerging media in order to get their products in front of their target audience. Consumers are bombarded with marketing, and we – the marketers – hope to get through the clutter with something that really sticks. Moments can be fleeting, especially with the speed of social media, but true marketing is classic. And there may be no better example of great marketing campaigns than the Classic, Coca-Cola.
In the battle for soft drink supremacy, we’re all familiar with the main players: Coke and Pepsi. While the caffeinated cola concoction of John Pemberton has ruled since the 1880s, the fight to be the “choice of the next generation” has led to some of the most creative, and successful, marketing campaigns we’ve ever seen.
Coke’s most recent campaign – “Share a Coke” – is one of their best, and is a terrific example of the power of “sharing.” The campaign, which was developed locally in Australia in 2011, has taken roots around the globe now. The idea is simple: you can purchase a bottle of Coke, Diet Coke or Coke Zero that has your name where the word “Coke” normally goes, along their trademarked ribbon. Leveraging social media, Coke is getting their fans to help market for them by taking a picture of their special bottle and appending #ShareACoke to their post.
Global brands that have high visibility and awareness still need to market themselves, and when sales need a boost, it’s often campaigns like this that offer a little push. But what about smaller brands? Most companies don’t have the budget or resources of the beverage behemoth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their strategy and adapt to our specific needs.
Coke, in the simplest way, has found a way to make their customers feel special – the essence of relationship marketing. Marketers today spend more of their time nurturing relationships rather than directly selling. If the goal of the Share a Coke campaign was to influence purchasing behavior, I’d say it worked – I can’t tell you how many pictures of Cokes have appeared in my news feed(s) this month, and it’s even inspired a few memes.
I’d also imagine part of the goal was to create something that got people talking. Even if they didn’t buy a Coke, people are talking about the campaign. People (me) are writing about it. Coke can “live off the fat” for a while, at least long enough to get their next big idea rolling. Remember, sometimes the best ideas come from random thoughts throughout the day, so if you have a great idea, write it down and share with your team!