Coca-Cola and the art of brand blogging


I found the Coca-Cola Conversations blog for the first time today, reading a post about how Coca-Cola first sponsored the Olympics games 80 years ago today. The blog is written by Phil Mooney, the “historian/archivest” of Coca-Cola, with the aim of

sharing information on a wide variety of topics, ranging from brand history to the value of collectibles

The blog asks people to comment and enter into a dialogue, and there is some exchange there. But reading this blog reminded me that corporate blogs, and indeed social media, can be used in very different ways by different organisations. This blog isn’t about new product developments or service advice; it’s about the history and heritage of the brand. And it seems to serve it’s purpose very well.

There are a few things that seem to make for a successful corporate blog:

  1. A named and dedicated (main) contributor – when you are using social media as an organisation it’s important that you enter into the social and personal nature of the medium. The blog shouldn’t be from a brand because a brand can’t write. People want to know who is writing what they are reading – they will build a bond with them as they read more and more of their posts and so a face and a name are critical
  2. Regular updating – companies develop and change quickly, and a consumer’s experience with your product will also be regular. The nature of social media encourages regular engagement and people expect this. It’s critical that you update your blog regularly. There is nothing worse than going to a brand’s blog and finding the last post was a few days or a few weeks ago.
  3. Find ways to bring your consumers inside the business – this is something I think Coca-Cola Conversations does well. Corporate blogs should provide a way for their readers to feel more like insiders in the business. You should learn things that are not available elsewhere and as a community of readers feel that you are getting exclusive information as well as learning more about the organisation. This is why the brand history and heritage aspect of the blog work really well – you can find out more about Coca-Cola and feel like a true insider by reading the blog.

Each of these are important, but I think the latter is most important in terms of building engagement through the blog. Whilst the content that you post might be interesting and you may be doing it on a regular basis, creating an environment where people feel that they are insiders by reading the blog will have real benefits. People will want to come back and read more because the more they know about the brand and organisation the more they want to know more. They’ll also feel more comfortable commenting because you are encouraging and creating an atmosphere of sharing and discovering.

Of course creating this atmosphere is not easy. Coca-Cola Conversations does it well, as do other brands, and some of the lessons from this exercise would be good for others to apply. Perhaps the first stage is to find the one thing you can truly engage people on and that you can write regularly about. Isolate this and you have the beginnings of a real corporate blogging and social media strategy.