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Coca-Cola uses snackable mobile content for refreshing marketing approach

NEW YORK ? A Coca-Cola executive at the MMA Mobile Marketing Leadership Forum discussed the marketer?s emphasis on reaching consumers of all ages through a mix of shareable social content, digital coupons and engaging partnerships, pointing to mobile's increasingly important role throughout. 

During the session, ?How Coke Builds Brand Love in a Digital World ? from Impression to Transaction," the executive highlighted digitally savvy consumers? tendencies to outpace marketers, urging brand leaders to contextualize experiences based on users? current engagement with smartphones. Coca-Cola aims to foster constant connectivity between its beverages and consumers? personal devices by implementing a slew of mobile-first strategies, such as digital vending machines, mobile coupons and shareable social media campaigns.

?The power of when mobile and Coca-Cola come together is really the way we?re thinking about this notion of connected Coke,? said Kimberly Gnatt, global group director of digital marketing and innovation at The Coca-Cola Company.

Playing catch-up with context
The executive stressed the need for marketers to continuously think of new ways to engage consumers and keep up with their digital-first mindsets. Brands must ensure that their content?s context complements smartphone devices, which are more often than not a ubiquitous presence in their customers? daily lives.

?We really need to be playing a game of catch-up,? Ms. Gnatt said.

The beverage marketer is currently focused on introducing connected experiences that will complement CRM platforms and programmatic technology, and also glean valuable customer data.

Coca-Cola?s digitally friendly vending machines ? which enable individuals to purchase a Coke by holding their smartphone up to a contactless reader ? essentially function as retail outlets housing an invaluable amount of data.

The brand believes that with the help of mobile and proximity data, it can ignite demand and trigger actions.

?Ideally, that action is going into a purchasing experience that is frictionless and seamless, no matter what the mobile payment method is,? Ms. Gnatt said.

The vending machines offer a proxy for purchase, meaning that the global company will continue to invest in them. Another key focus for the future is mobile couponing.

Although 50 percent of Coca-Cola?s coupon distribution is currently on paper materials, it hopes to eventually shift to a fully mobile coupon era.

?Mobile coupons are a place we?re investing heavily in,? Ms. Gnatt said.

Snackable, portable content
Coca-Cola has also enjoyed a series of mobile wins with its recent social campaigns. Its heavy presence on television has proven successful, but must now be supplemented with second-screen experiences as well.

Ms. Gnatt walked the audience through three case studies showcasing several of Coca-Cola?s effective mobile marketing campaigns. The first, called GIF the Feeling, was designed to build social impressions as well as brand awareness.

Attempting to remind consumers of their childhood feelings of drinking their first Coke, the brand developed a customizable GIF-making platform, on which mobile users could choose a GIF corresponding to any type of feeling and add their own unique twist to it.

The GIFs could be shared across Facebook and Twitter, or downloaded onto a smartphone for use in SMS-based conversations.

Somewhat surprisingly, more United States consumers opted to download their personalized GIFs rather than share them on social, providing Coca-Cola with a key discovery pertaining to customer behavior.

Coca-Cola initially rolled out the download capability to cater to individuals in the Asia-Pacific region, who are heavy users of messaging applications such as WeChat and WhatsApp. However, the findings from this campaign suggest that U.S. consumers are amenable to keeping favorite GIFs on their smartphones at all times, ready to be used during a text conversation at a moment?s notice.

The second campaign featured a partnership with 7-Eleven. Coca-Cola rolled out two types of limited-edition cans with the word ?Dude? or ?Diva? emblazoned on the front. Consumers were asked to purchase a bottle corresponding to their more prevalent characteristic and snap a selfie with the drink for a chance to star in a music video with YouTube influencer Christina Grimmie.

The last campaign highlighted the overarching theme of drinkable communication. In 2015, Coca-Cola introduced a commercial during which viewers were encouraged to Shazam an image of a fizzy soda, enter their personal details, select a retailer such as Domino?s or 7-Eleven and receive a mobile coupon to redeem for a complimentary Coke Zero.

The initiative saw massive success, and led Coca-Cola to expand its mobile couponing technology.

Ultimately, the beverage marketer consistently seeks to understand consumers? mobile-first behavior and meet it head-on with engaging content and campaigns that also capture important data.

?[There] was a real focus on us gleaning insights from all that data and using that to inform future campaigns,? Ms. Gnatt said.