The future of marketing

Coca-Cola Marketing Shifts from Impressions to Expressions

A lot of us remember when the role of the CMO was much simpler. Information flowed in one direction: from companies to consumers. When we drew up our plans and budgets, the key metric was consumer impressions: how many people would see, hear or read our ad?

Today the only place that approach still works is on Mad Men. Now information flows in many directions, consumer touch points have multiplied, and the old, one-size-fits-all approach has given way to precision marketing and one-to-one communications. Perhaps the most consequential change is how consumers have become empowered to create their own content about our brands and share it throughout their networks and beyond. It has changed my role as the chief marketing and commercial officer at Coca-Cola, and the company’s approach to consumer engagement as we work to double our business by 2020.

In the near term, “consumer impressions” will remain the backbone of our measurement because it is the metric universally used to compare audiences across nearly all types of media. But impressions only tell advertisers the raw size of the audience. By definition, impressions are passive. They give us no real sense of engagement, and consumer engagement with our brands is ultimately what we’re striving to achieve. Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level. (I used to think that loyalty was the highest rung on the consumer pyramid until I became the CMO of Allstate Insurance. There, I saw clearly that so much business was driven through personal referrals and advocacy by individuals for their agent.)

So, in addition to “consumer impressions,” we are increasingly tracking “consumer expressions.” To us, an expression is any level of engagement with our brand content by a consumer or constituent. It could be a comment, a “like,” uploading a photo or video or passing content onto their networks. We’re measuring those expressions and applying what we learn to global brand activations and those created at the local level by our 2,700 marketers around the world. For example, in our 24-Hour Live Session with Maroon 5, we captured impressions (the number of online views) but gained tremendous insights from expressions by our consumers — their comments, input on the song that was being created and what they shared with their networks.

So what are the keys to winning in this new era of empowered, engaged and networked consumers? Here are some of the top “expression” lessons we’ve learned so far:

Accept that consumers can generate more messages than you ever could. Don’t fight this wave of expression. Feed it with content that touches consumers’ passion points like sports, music and popular culture. We estimate on YouTube there are about 146 million views of content related to Coca-Cola. However, only 26 million views were of content that we created. The other 120 million views were of content created by others. We can’t match the volume of our consumers’ creative output, but we can spark it with the right type of content.

Develop content that is “Liquid and Linked.” Liquid content is creative work that is so compelling, authentic and culturally relevant that it can flow through any medium. Liquid content includes emotionally compelling stories that quickly become pervasive. Similarly, “linked” content is content that is linked to our brand strategies and our business objectives. No matter where consumers encounter it, linked content supports our overall strategy. When content is both “Liquid and Linked,” it generates consumer expressions and has the potential to scale quickly. An example of “Liquid and Linked” was our FIFA 2010 World Cup program, which was the largest-ever Coca-Cola activation in history. More than 160 countries used a common World Cup Visual Identity System, a pool of television commercials, and a common a digital platform. All were linked by the common thread of celebration.

Accept that you don’t own your brands; your consumers do. Coca-Cola first learned this lesson in 1985 with the introduction of New Coke, but it’s become even more important with the growth of social media. As I write this, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page has more than 25 million likes (fans). Our fanpage wasn’t started by an employee at our headquarters in Atlanta. Instead, it was launched by two consumers in Los Angeles as an authentic expression of how they felt about Coca-Cola. A decade ago, a company like ours would have sent a “cease and desist” letter from our lawyer. Instead, we’ve partnered with them to create new content, and our Facebook page is growing by about 100,000 fans every week.

Build a process that shares successes and failures quickly throughout your company. Increasing consumer expressions requires many experiments, and some will fail. Build a pipeline so you can quickly replicate your successes in other markets and share the lessons from any failures. For example, our “Happiness Machine” video was a hit on YouTube so we turned it into a TV commercial, and we’ve replicated that low-cost, viral concept in other markets.
Be a facilitator who manages communities, not a director who tries to control them. In 2009, we launched Expedition 206. Consumers voted for the three people they wanted to see travel the world as Coca-Cola Ambassadors, visiting most of the 206 countries where Coca Cola is sold and driving an online conversation about what makes people happy around the world. On every step of their 273,000 mile journey, the ambassadors blogged and created all the content. Our role was to facilitate their journey, which was no small task. We had to give up control of the content, so our ambassadors could share their own experiences. In an era of consumer expressions, seek to facilitate and participate with communities, not control them.

Speak up to set the record straight, but give your fans a chance to do so first. Of course, not every consumer expression will be positive. You have to be part of the conversation so you can set the record straight when you need to. Even better, we’ve found that our fans make online communities self-policing. When our Facebook site was targeted by an activist group whose members posted negative messages, our fans responded with messages of support for our company, and our fans challenged the use of the community for activist purposes.

Marketing has changed dramatically since Doc Pemberton poured the world’s first glass of Coca-Cola in 1886. On May 8th, 2011, Coca-Cola and our fans around the world will celebrate our 125th anniversary. While I’ll be curious how many impressions our activities generate, I will look most closely to the expressions of our consumers as a better measure of our success in keeping the world’s most valuable brand relevant for the next 125 years.

Joe Tripodi leads global marketing, customer management and commercial leadership as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer of the Coca-Cola Company. <>


Media trends 2010


Media trends 2010 – Editors become Curators, Art directors become Experience Directors…

– In the very near future we will see traditional print based and multi-channel content Editors become Curators. We will also see Art directors evolve to become multi-channel ‘Experience directors’

– editors will routinely, not only create (commission), but also co-create (with consumers) and most importantly curate. They will make ‘sense’ of the ‘information network’ for their communities (brands’ customers).  

– Marketing will become ever more focussed on creating engagement – creating engaging time spent with a customer who has infinite choices and is on an infinitely networked journey

– Engagement it is not about tricking people – it’s about creating a strategy based on why people would want to spend time with (and therefore share your) brand. 

– Marketing will be increasingly about creating conversation between brand and customer – therefore creating conversation between customer and customer  

– This will be achieved via a variety of immersive techniques – e.g. content, interactivity and utilities.

– Technology advances, specifically ubiquitous hi-speed wi-fi broadband, will facilitate seamless visual and interactive communications that connect with core human emotions.

– and finally, remember “achieving the integration of your brand into a conversation between two people in a relevant and meaningful way is the pinnacle of marketing”.


Below is an article by Jeff Jarvis in The Media Guardian which points to how this is already happening in the world of news journalism

In Mumbai, witnesses are writing the news

Jeff Jarvis

The Guardian, Monday December 1 2008

Article history

Moments after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai began last week, Twitter exploded with messages. Prasad Naik, AKA krazyfrog, tweeted: “Firing happening at the Oberoi hotel where my sister works. Faaak!” Next, he reported that she had called and was safe. Then: “What the fuck! I just heard a loud blast! What the fuck is happening in Mumbai?” He was near a taxi blast in suburban Vile Parle. Nine hours later, his sister was home and he tweeted: “She saw piles of bodies. The Oberoi hotel guests. Staff members from her own department. All dead. Right in front of her eyes.”

The witnesses are taking over the news. That will fundamentally change our experience of news, the role of witnesses and participants, the role of journalists and news organisations, and the impact reporting has on events. Mumbai – like the Sichuan earthquake – brought reports from witnesses via Twitter and blogs. Both then appeared on traditional media as online witnesses were quoted and interviewed. The novelist Amit Varma wrote of surviving the attack in a nearby hotel and because of that spoke on CNN. Photos from the scene filled Flickr and showed up on newspaper sites and TV screens.

On all these services, people nearby and then worldwide – not witnesses – had an urgent need to share what they knew. So on Flickr we also saw screenshots from TV screens, and on Twitter we heard repeated news. There was a need to organise all this disorderly information. Wikipedia’s users did a remarkable job of updating its snapshot of current knowledge. Google Maps users annotated the geography of the story. The citizen-powered news sites GroundReport, Global Voices and NowPublic also gathered reports. All this created the need to pursue rumours. The blogging journalism teacher Amy Gahran tried to track down unverified reports that the Indian government had asked tweeters to stop reporting from the scene so as not to inform the terrorists.

These are all journalistic functions – reporting, gathering, organising, verifying – that anyone can now take on. Traditional news organisations will still perform these tasks, but in new ways. posted a front-page notice asking witnesses in Mumbai to send reports. The Guardian, CNN, and other news sites instead curated what was popping up on Twitter, Flickr and elsewhere. In the future, I believe, organising news will be the most important role of news organisations.

At the next huge event, we may see the next step in this rapid evolution of news: witnesses will not only use their phones to broadcast live video. I’ve spoken with engineers at a phone manufacturer working on software to enable assignments to be sent to people at the scene: imagine being able to find who is near a news event, collecting their perspectives, even quizzing them from afar.

The last mass-news story was 9/11, packaged from a distance. The 7/7 attacks on London and the 2004 tsunami then brought the perspective of witnesses via their cameras. The Sichuan earthquake and the Mumbai attacks brought the urgency of Twitter. The next news story will be seen live and at eye level.

Ever since I survived the 9/11 attacks, and later saw the coverage the world saw – smoke spied from rooftops miles away – I have made sure to always have a camera with me, as the view of the story from the ground was so different from that seen on TV. Now I carry a mobile phone that can capture and broadcast text, photos and video immediately. If I’d had that then, the image I would have shared would have been the image I most remember – not of smoke and helicopters, but instead of black tear-tracks on the face of an African-American woman covered in the grey dust of destruction. Such will be our new view of news: urgent, live, direct, emotional, personal.


• Jeff Jarvis blogs at

infinite TV, infinite media and me-media

Hulu is weeks away from unveiling a tool that lets users embed the Hulu service itself into their website. Soon you’d be able to stick all of online TV into your blog. finally after decades of dicated what we can watch and when, the networks would be reduced to a web widget, functioning at the user’s whim.

“You can’t protect old business models” – Peter Chenin, President of News Corporation

(from – As seen on TV, Wired 16/100)

What do you think?

the infinite conversation

Digitization has fundamentally re-wired our lives… we are now living in a constantly on, omni-directional and hyper-connected world, which is facilitating a profound shift in the way our society operates. It’s a world where brands and individuals’ activities are there for all to search out and share – we are all now, more than ever, defined by how we behave.

The era of mass marketing is over and media fragmentation is accelerating exponentially – the consumer is in control and is re-defining their relationship to commerce, brands and their marketing strategies. The only way to attract and hold on to the modern consumer is to keep talking to them on their terms, through their networks, by adding value to their lives and establishing a new kind of relationship with them through open and adaptive dialogue.

Word of mouth has always been cited as the most powerful reason in ‘the decision to purchase’, establishing trust, and, in the commitment to start and develop new relationships. Creativity, community and collaboration are trademarks of human nature – conversation has always been at the heart of our society. The infinite conversation describes a new paradigm in which we all now exist, and a communication strategy, that embraces both social media and human nature. It represents a shift in behaviour that must be employed by brands, businesses and individuals, for them to thrive and survive in the networked world.

What do you think?

the infinite conversation – markets, life and everything


Wise words from George Soros, global financier and philanthropist…

In my opinion, in addition to the housing bubble that was the trigger that set off the financial crisis, there is a super bubble that has been going on for 25 years or so that started in 1980 when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister and Ronald Reagan became president. That is when the belief that markets are best left to their own devices became the dominant belief. Based on that, we had a new phase of globalisation of financial markets and liberalisation of financial markets. The idea is false. Markets do not [correct] towards equilibrium.

If [as a regulator] you only use your powers to bail out the failing institutions you introduce, this will encourage the phenomenon of moral hazard. That is what has been going on for the last 25 years. As a result, credit creation has been encouraged and these periodic crises managed to be dealt with without any serious fallout in the real world. That reinforced credit creation and the misconception that markets correct themselves.

That is how we arrived not only at the housing bubble but also the creation of this alphabet soup of synthetic instruments so that when the sub-prime crisis happened, the authorities were totally unprepared that the whole system would fall apart. Markets that I didn’t even know existed ceased to function. That revealed that the whole construct, this really powerful financial structure, has been built on false grounds. For the first time, the entire system has been engaged in this crisis and the authorities have considerable difficulty even in providing enough liquidity.

read more

What do you think?

the infinite conversation

We are being buried beneath the weight of information,

which is being confused with knowledge.

Quantity is being confused with abundance, and wealth with happiness

Tom Waites – 2008



frictionless media – Paul Kurzeja

 ‘To find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the invention of the printing press, the birth of mass media’

Rupert Murdoch 

Way back then content was a protected commodity – by the church or powers that be…

the invention of the printing press made it available to the masses….

Content then became a PROFIT COMMODITY – ie media company’s could charge around content types and audiences they attracted…

We are now moving to an era when content is becoming a FREE COMMODITY or nearly free

and more importantly distribution is free….

We now moving to a era of frictionless media – and the infinite conversation

Because of this, Marketing (and advertising)

– in fact any part of the media industry

is also fundementally shifting from….


which looks a bit like this…  10 pin bowling

where you would get a big idea – take a run up – throw it at an audience – down a simple channel – and see what happens

This was driven by ….scarcity of choice of channel…which created a large captive audiences

….New Marketing is more like this

a Pinball machine

– where you fire off an idea and get it to bounce around and stay in the game as long as possible through interaction

technically put…

Leveaging scare attention (lack of time) and creating interaction among communities with similar interests

for us at Redwood this means….

Creating a long term conversation through multi-channel content, and in an era of frictionless media – where anyone connected can be a media outlet – creating content that has value for both brand and consumer where time is the finite resource

(notes from a recent speech)


What do you think? 


Social Media is connecting the world and globalising media consumption

Social media consumption challenges traditional media

By Universal McCann, Brand Republic 24-Apr-08

Social media – and blogs in particular – is becoming a more important part of global media consumption for internet users than some traditional media channels according to the latest survey from media agency Universal McCann.


The global survey notes that in South Korea – “the market that’s leading the world in digital trends” – 77% of internet users read blogs each week compared to just 58% reading the mainstream press. 

Globally 73% of internet users are reading blogs with 48% including these consumer-generated content in their weekly media diet. According to the survey, TV too is facing similar competition for eyeballs with 83% of internet users having watched a video clip and 59% viewing at least one clip every week.

It adds that there is no sign of a pause in the explosive growth of social media. Video clips, blogs, podcasts, social networks and RSS are all essential components of the online media diet.

While not all markets are as developed, in each of the 29 countries surveyed social media is becoming a key constituent of global media consumption.

This is the third time that the agency’s Social Media Tracker has tested uptake of these new digital tools in markets as diverse as the USA, Brazil and Pakistan. With 17,000 respondents it is the world’s most detailed survey of the Social Media revolution. 

Key findings from Wave 3 include:

* 83% watch video clips, up from 62% in the last study in June


* 78% read blogs, up from 66%

* 57% of internet users are now members of a social network

* RSS consumption is growing rapidly up from 15% to 39%

* Podcasts are now mainstream digital content, listened to by 48%

“Social media is a mass medium for many internet users. Brands and marketers need to adjust rapidly to this revolution in way consumers are creating and digesting content. With every wave of research our Social Media Tracker is noting greater and greater growth for channels such as blogging, video clips and social networks,” says Tom Smith, EMEA research manager at Universal McCann.

Other findings of note

A key driver for the growth of social media has been the rise of Social Networks. Members of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook are using these platforms for more of their online experience. 

* 22% of social network users have installed a widget or


* 55% have shared photos 

* 22% have shared their videos

* 31% have started a blog 

* The world’s biggest social network is MySpace with 32% weekly

reach followed by Facebook on 23%

Social media is a global phenomenon:

* Top markets for blogging – China 70% of internet users write a

blog, Philippines 66% and Mexico 60% 

* Top markets for social networking – Philippines 83%, Hungary 76%

and Poland 76% 

* China is the worlds largest blogging market with 42m bloggers

versus 26m in the US 

* Social media is connecting the world and globalising media


Our re-wired world – the revolution has only just begun / Paul Kurzeja


Our world is undergoing a revolution – of which, we are just at the beginning…. 

“To find something comparable you would have to go back 500 years to the invention of the printing press” – Rupert Murdoch – CEO of News Corp

We are now living in a constantly-on, super-simple, omni-directional, hyper-connected world, where control and distribution of information has moved from the privileged few to the uncontrollable many… this is fueling a fundamental shift in social and commercial behaviour – that is transforming the world we live in…

This revolution is affecting every facet of our society… from the re-invention of the ‘music industry’ to terrorist appearances on Youtube, from the closure of the high-street to the emergence of the Googleverse…. our everyday lives are being transformed before our eyes.

Consumers are taking control, Citizen Journalists are the new frontline, Social Media is here to stay – this is just the tip of a digital iceberg, that includes: ‘Hyper-local media’, ‘Open-source societies”, ‘Conversational content’, ‘White space wi-fi’, ‘frictionless media’ and ‘widgetization’ – where one simple desktop button can replace an entire traditional industry in seconds.

Added to this, business after business is being transformed or born out of the ability to deliver, share receive an infinite amount of content through anything that can be screen-enabled-net-connected-and-booted-up. This is happening in ways that we are only just beginning to foresee…

Just as the introduction of the first mass-market personal motor car, the ‘Model T’, in 1908,  revolutionized transportation and industry in America – which in turn, revolutionized and dominated the last Century….. So too, the ability to for us all to create, distribute and connect content and conversations will revolutionize and dominate this, the 21st Century. 

what do you think…

– add your comment as my book on these issues is out soon


infinite television: Google and the future of television

Vincent Dureau, the head of television technology at Google, is clearly a big believer in the potential of online video. He was previously chief technology officer of OpenTV and a pioneer of interactive television delivered to the set-top box.Speaking at the IPTV World Forum in London, he argued that internet protocol television is already with us on the web. “IPTV is already deployed on a very large scale,” claimed Vincent Dureau.

“It may not necessarily take the form that we consider IPTV sensu stricto but it’s definitely there.”

By which he was referring to online video delivered over broadband.

“The most important thing about this is that with the deployment of broadband it is actually becoming viable to distribute television point to point as opposed to broadcast,”  he said.

Whereas the broadcast world is limited by spectrum, we now have infinite shelf space. Although people may think we have enough television channels already, Vincent Dureau believes that there is a virtually indefinite appetite for television.

By way of an example of the millions of short clips now available on YouTube, which is now owned by Google, he suggested that the long tail could be very long indeed.

In fact, he argued that the largest IPTV deployment in the world was BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing system often used to download illicit copies of movies and television shows.He also suggested that NetFlix, the online video rental library with 90,000 titles in its catalogue and 8 million members, is the largest legal IPTV deployment.

Although the majority of its business consists of sending DVDs through the mail, it also has an online library of 7,000 titles, larger than any currently offered on cable.

“It’s also very clear that within the past six months we’ve seen this huge shift of mainstream broadcasters making their content available on the PC,”  he said, referring to the BBC iPlayer and the NBC Hulu initiatives.

“There is a clear recognition among the premium broadcasters that there is an underserved population that is watching TV on their PC right now and they want to address them.”

Although much of this activity is currently concentrated on the personal computer, he pointed to the large number of retail devices that are connecting the television to broadband networks, an example being the Apple TV box.

Over 50% of Xbox or PS3 games consoles are also connected to broadband networks and the next generation of BluRay players are all going to come with an Ethernet port.

“I think it’s important to start looking at those devices as distribution channels for television content to the home,” he said. “The studios have figured out that maybe they don’t need the middleman

They should be able to distribute movies directly to the television.”

“There’s an infinite amount of entertainment content that’s coming to television.

The next assumption that I have is that viewers will not just watch the premium movies and premium channels but that they will also be watching the long tail.”

In the United States there are over 300 digital television channels available on a typical platform. Of those, only 40 are actually measured because the Nielsen panel of about 10,000 households can only measure with any degree of accuracy the channels that have more than 0.5% of the audience.

Google has been collecting viewing data from several millions of set-top boxes for the past 10 months. “The thing that we found out is that actually 40% of the audience is actually watching those channels that weren’t even measured,”  he said.

“So we believe that the long tail matters. We believe the long tail is even longer.”

Google is optimistic that it will be able to do a better job of targeting advertising so that it is more relevant to viewers and that advertisers will be prepared to pay a premium for this.

“We’re going to see now an infinite number of operators of television through quality of service networks and over the top,” he said.

“We think that through targeted advertising we’re going to see a new source of funding for quality programming.”

The head of television technology at google conculded with a call to “embrace the web and understand that IPTV is not ahead of us – it is already behind us” 

What do you think?