A company website is usually a place to find information about the parent brand, its sub-brands and other details such press release, campaigns etc. Breaking away from the usual The Coca-Cola Company has reinvented its corporate website with the launch of Coca-Cola Journey—a digital magazine.
However, this is not the first time that the company has published Journey, from 1987 to 1997 it was published as an internal magazine for the employees. Ashley Brown, director of digital communications and social media at Coca-Cola, said, “Our CEO and chairman, Muhtar Kent, asked us to bring Journey back in a digital format. But the more we thought about that challenge, the more we realised that we shouldn’t keep these great stories behind the four walls of Coke. We believe we’re the first brand to pull down a traditional corporate web site, really question what the role of a company site should be, and replace it with an interactive magazine focused on real content. It’s a risk, and we expect to make mistakes, but I’m excited to see what the future holds and how our readers respond.”
The step by Coca-Cola has been welcomed by brand consultants and marketing gurus. Calling it a ‘TIE’ initiative, Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants elaborated, “In this case, the ‘T’ from ‘TIE’ refers to transaction, while ‘I’ stands for involvement and ‘E’ stands for engagement. Obviously, high transaction will have a direct impact on the revenue which ought to increase. Next an increase in involvement between consumer and the brand will lead to the brand’s salience going up and, lastly, an increase in engagement will allow the consumer to be part of the brand’s family and vice-versa. So in all, this is a very positive and constructive step taken by Coke.”
For the revamp, the beverage company got on board New York-based Wonder Factory which helped Coca-Cola with the visual design, and Virginia based Perfect Sense Digital which assisted the company with content and further transformed its into a publisher.
In terms of content it aims to inspire with every new story that gets posted on the site. Also the beverage company claims that the digital magazine is not a mere showpiece, but has been designed with an agenda in mind, that is, to spark off conversation. “We designed Coca-Cola Journey to spark off conversation. So we look for stories that will give our readers something new that they didn’t know before, that will inspire them, and that will encourage them to take action in some way. So content will always come with a point of view, and we strive to ensure that it has tension,” added Brown.
And to ensure that conversations do take place, the option to ‘comment’ has been made available on every article in addition to the introduction of a blog, ‘Coca-Cola Unbottled’. Also every article has full social sharing capability . Moreover the magazine allows readers to visit content by both type that is—Stories, Opnions, Brands, Videos and Blogs and by topic such as Brands, Business, Community, Entertainment, etc. The magazine also boasts of info-graphics and a Debate Board.
Brown, explained, “Much like any first-rate magazine, we have a holistic digital content strategy that’s given insight on how we can use social networks, what is the kind of content we can develop for the blog, apart from what are the programmes we can build for Coca-Cola Journey. We think of Coca-Cola Unbottled as a ‘lean forward’ experience that’s updated daily. Coca-Cola Journey publishes more in-depth and long form pieces that’s very much a ‘sit back’ experience.”
As of now it is the international site which has gone through the overhaul. The company hopes to inspire through various stories from across the globe. Keeping this in mind, the cover story for the launch issue of Coca-Cola Journey is about the company’s commitment to support schools in India.