it launched in 2012, Coca-Cola Journey has been revolutionizing brand
offering from the beverage giant is part magazine, part PR site, part social
hub, and part blog. It looks and feels different from any other corporate
offering you’ve ever come across; Journey is visually lush, utilizes a
wide-range of different content formats, and is localized for 20 countries.
we chatted with with Jay Moye,
Editor-in-Chief of Coca-Cola Journey, to find out how the site came to be, what
drives its content programming, and where it’s headed. Check out the Q&A
very different from other corporate sites. How did it come
A: We launched in November 2012, so we’ve been
online as Journey for about three and
a half years. If you dial back to 2010/2011, our Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent
challenged our team – the global social media and digital communications team
at Coke – to resurrect a quarterly print magazine the company published from
the mid-80s to the early-90s called Journey.
It was a tabloid-size, very elegantly produced print piece mailed out to
employees four times a year.
that same time, we were noticing where social media and content were headed, particularly
how consumers were increasingly gravitating towards branded content and engaging
with stories. We decided to marry those two challenges and reimagine our
corporate website as a dynamic digital magazine.
Q: Journey seems to be a great mix of Coca-Cola content
as well as other pieces that are relevant to your audiences …
That’s by design; about 80% of what we publish is branded content. These stories
have a clear connection to our brands and our business. The other 20% of our
publishing volume is comprised of stories that reflect our values, our
passions… what we care about as a company and what our consumers and readers
care about. With those pieces, the connection to Coke is more subtle.
Q: What are the main goals
of Coca-Cola Journey? What are you trying to achieve?
Our goals are two-fold: First, to build brand love. As an almost 130-year-old company,
fans’ love for Coca-Cola – and the stories bubbling just beneath the surface of
the brand and company – runs deep. So we feel a responsibility to enhance these
connections and to create new ones with smart, fresh content that informs,
engages and inspires conversation.
we want to build corporate trust. We’re part of the corporate communications
team, not the marketing function, so we’re responsible for telling stories on
behalf of the company versus the Coca-Cola brand. There’s obviously a lot of overlap… in the
eyes of the consumer, great Coca-Cola stories are great Coca-Cola stories – whether
they’re watching a 30-second television commercial or reading a story on
Journey. With Journey, we’re able to
tell the Coca-Cola stories that are not being told through traditional
marketing and PR channels.
Q: Who is your audience or
audiences for Coca-Cola Journey and how do you handle localizing content for
all of the markets that Coca Cola operates in?
Our Atlanta-based team manages the global Journey
site. About 60% of our readers are U.S.-based, and also about 60%
are Millennials. So we’re painting with pretty broad strokes… we target general
consumers, fans who love Coca-Cola and our brands, and fans who we want to love
Coca-Cola and our brands. We’re also targeting media, job seekers, Coca-Cola
employees, customers and partners. So there really isn’t one niche audience or
demographic on our radar. Our company reaches consumers in 200+ countries with
more than 3,000 products, so we offer something for everyone. We think Journey does, too.
also have more than 20 international editions of Journey. So what we built
out of the Atlanta center is being scaled around the world. You’ll see locally
produced Journey sites for everywhere from Australia to Japan, Germany to
Mexico, Great Britain to China.
of those editions are published in the local language and run by local Coca-Cola
communications teams who manage their editorial calendars and ensure that what
they publish is relevant to their local readers and local business. We work very closely with them to help get
them off the ground and establish an editorial strategy and vision, and to
regularly share content and best practices. Our international markets translate
and republish a lot of what we create and publish here in the U.S., and we do
Q: What is your content
creation process? What sort of things are you developing regularly?
Our team produces in-house about 60% of what you see on the global Journey site. We publish about a dozen
pieces of original content every week, including Journey stories and posts on Unbottled,
our companion blog. We also source content from freelancers through various
networks and agency partners, and we lean on Coke employees, customers, NGO
partners, influencers and celebrities.
writing is the cornerstone of what we do, but we also produce and source original
videos, infographics, photo galleries, and other visual content.
Q: Do you have different
content strategies for different social media channels?
It all has the same voice and the same vision, but we certainly tailor to each
channel’s audience. In addition to Journey and Unbottled, our team looks after
The Coca-Cola Company’s social media channels, which we primarily use to
amplify the stories we publish on the Journey platform every day.
Every channel has a slightly different
audience, so therefore we use a slightly different approach. We pick and choose
stories we think will appeal to fans in a specific community.
With our Facebook
page, for example, we push a lot of our brand- and marketing-focused content
and our culture/lifestyle stories. Whereas LinkedIn is a professional network, so we
highlight our business and innovation stories, workplace content and
leadership pieces. Instagram is clearly a photo site, so we showcase
our best images there. We like to use
the analogy that our Instagram account is the Life magazine to Journey’s Time
magazine. Finally, Twitter is a bit of
a catchall of everything we publish.
Q: How do you measure
Engagement is definitely our primary metric; we’re not in the eyeballs game.
take a very close look at how readers are engaging with our content – the likes,
shares, comments and conversation we generate. We also keep an eye on the size
of our readership. We’ve seen healthy growth in monthly visits to Journey.
We’re around 1.7 million monthly visits right now, up from around 1 million when
we launched in late-2012. At the same time, our social following has been
doubling year over year in terms of followers and fans.
Q: What are some of your favorite Coca-Cola Journey
that’s a tough one. Here are 10 pieces that come to mind, for different
Q: Finally, any advice for
other brands looking to create high quality, compelling content?
Never underestimate the power of authenticity. Readers, particularly Millennials,
want to identify with a personality more than a product… so that’s always top
of mind for us. We realized early on that if Coca-Cola was in ever headline we
published, we’d be talking to ourselves.
to your readers. Track what’s being read and shared, and pivot accordingly. Our
primary directive is to serve the business and the brands, that’s our North
Star, but we also closely watch content performance. Every editorial decision
we make can be traced back to a piece of data. We keep close tabs on what’s working,
what’s not working, what’s trending up or down. Every piece we publish is
assigned a proprietary engagement score.
Every week we get a report of our top stories. This helps us spot trends
and plan future content accordingly.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment… to “fail
forward.” Always stay true to your brand voice and values, but take calculated
risks when it comes to your content.