A singular focus proves successful. By holding true to their philosophy to only provide content that helps their visitors find more ways to look better and feel better after using their products, Burt’s Bees found the formula for success in converting visitors to paying customers. They are practicing the “dynamic liquid content” methodology Coke has been preaching since late 2011.
Burt’s Bees was founded in 1984. They started by selling beeswax candles and have grown into a global brand making over 150 natural personal care products. Their mission is to “try to make people’s lives better every day–naturally.”
Recently, Coke was so bold, they shared their marketing plan with the world on how they will own a disproportionate share of the conversations of popular culture by the year 2020. The mastermind behind this new direction is Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at Coca-Cola.
The videos below are a profound look into the future of digital marketing. It will not be about the creative twist or angle or brilliant call to action to move you to buy a product. Soon, to succeed companies must think like inventors willing to invest in the cost of generating great content (blog posts, white papers, eBooks, videos, marketing campaigns). It’s the willingness for your CEO to create an R&D department in your company just for content creation. See 70/20/10 below. Think about Shakespeare’s masterpieces. They are inventions that came about after a heavy intellectual investment in “R&D like” practices and systems to create those works. To become relevant in the ever increasing noise of sales pitches and reused copy online, companies who adopt Coke’s goal to produce compelling content will succeed.
Future In Coke’s Eyes – Become Dynamic Storytellers
Dynamic storytelling is the process of identifying incremental elements of the brand’s core story and then dispersing those elements systematically/consistently across multiple channels of conversation for purpose of creating a unified brand experience. Your core story is the essence of what made you, including the ups and downs, the ugly and pretty. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s something all your employees can tell easily and is not memorized. It’s a unifying cry to all and a story new hires want to be part of unless you are a losy brand/company run by a selfish boss who is out to take and not serve. In that case, don’t read any further. You are doomed.
Five Types Of Dynamic Storytelling
Immersion and discovery storytelling
Engagement through storytelling
Keys To Success To Win The Content Wars
Behave like a ruthless editor to stop noise from getting through. Don’t extend conversations on your Facebook page that leave your core brand story. Let your tribe carry it forward but be focused. Every day, there is more and more noise online. Put a “Brita” filter on your content faucet.
Build system wide capabilities as in new processes, people, compensation plans, and technology to allow for dynamic storytelling.
Evolution From Content To “Liquid Content”
What is content – Coke holds a higher standard when defining content. They see it as stories expressed through every possible connection and channel that (1) add value and (2) add significance to people’s lives. Content is the “matter” or “substance” of brand engagement and conversation.
What is liquid – elements of content that move freely amongst themselves but do not become separate stories.
The 70/20/10 Liquid Content Investment Principle
Pay special attention around 3:30 into the second video and pause and take notes for you to fully understand this principle. It is a primary key to their vision over the next 10 years.
70% of your content and investment of time and money – Low risk content
Should take less than 50% of our time to produce these blog posts, stories, testimonials, campaigns… This pays the bills and gets the word out.
20% of content – this is where we innovate from what worked from the 70%. What took hold there we carry forward to this area.
Engages more deeply with a specific audience
We should invest 25% of our time and resources here but with higher paid writers and creative types.
This content still has the ability for broad scale and appeal.
10% of content – brand new ideas. Becomes next year’s 70% and 20%. This is high risk – this goes viral over night or fails as quickly. This is where you spend your R&D budget in content. The invention of great content is just that, an invention of something new to the world that you develop. You need to be investing in your future stories. This is where that is done. This is where a lot of A/B testing can happen.
This should take up 25% of our time and resources.
Paradigm Shifts To Consider
Going from design excellence to CONTENT excellence.
Move from one-way storytelling to dynamic story telling.
You need to produce sharable ideas/stories/concepts that earn a disproportionate share of popular culture (Own a Topic).
Constant iterations of your content, not replication of your production content.
Stop thinking in 30 second commercial bites and elevator pitches and website home pages. Think in story and evolving conversations.
Don’t stop campaigns too early. Keep the conversation fueled and going.
Pre-testing and approving content before campaigns begin can kill the campaign in this new world of evolving stories on and offline of a brand.
Plan your budgets (pad them a bit to be ready) that initiatives will evolve as they are being rolled out and allow for real-time testing during campaign so you can adapt as needed
Think in forms of tent poles (quickly setup shop like the Circus city to city) and tent pegs (hold the tent “core story” in place).
Coke devised a very innovative and socially productive online marketing strategy wherein Coke Rewards team collaborated with parents and members of online community to develop the My Coke Rewards for Schools, a new rewards program designed to help students and schools in need. The parents were able to earn points from participating Coca-Cola packages and donate them to any participating school they chose, which could be redeemed by the schools. The impact was tremendous as My Coke Rewards Team integrated these insights into the design and execution of an incredibly important educational program and also led to word-of-mouth popularity of the project amongst parents, teachers, students and local communities. Case study
Coke was at the center stage of an unpaid endorsement. Radio talk-show host Glenn Beck regularly mentioned his love for the brand. The company decided to pitch in and sent him a supply of coke zero which somehow at first could not make it to Mr. Beck and became a matter of animated conversation over the radio. This generated 100:1 ROI vs. the cost of product and shipping and appealed young male audiences. Case study
Recognizing the importance of organizational behaviors, the Executive Committee hosted one day employee blog that concentrated on one of seven essential values. The suggestions were given based on employee comments and encompassed the things and methods needed to make changes in company culture to ensure that the company vision is fulfilled. As a result, the company was in a position to meet expectations in less than half the time. Case study
Coca cola initiated an intelligent marketing strategy where it utilized social media to launch a virtual competition that reached a wide base of consumers. The competition tagged as “Virtual Thirst”, involved designing of a vending machine that would dispense experience rather than cola bottle. The entries could also be posted through YouTube videos. The other aspects of the competition comprised developing MySpace profile and press releases to be posted on social media. Case study