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Coca-Cola Brings Conversations to BDI's Social Communications: The Case Studies

This post was originally published on 360i’s Digital Connections blog.
At the Business Development Institute’s NYC event today Social Communications: The Case Studies, The Coca-Cola Company’s Director of Heritage Communications Philip Mooney shared a presentation on Coca-Cola Conversations – Connecting an Iconic Brand to its Fans.
He focused on his experience in the first year of blogging at Conversations. The About section of the blog is telling for a number of reasons. Here it is in full:

My name is Phil Mooney, and I’ve served as the historian/archivist for Coca-Cola for the last 30 years. Welcome to my blog! I’ll share information on a wide variety of topics, ranging from our role in pop culture to brand history to Coke collectibles. However, the blog only works if there is a two-way dialogue. I look forward to chatting with you!

A few things stand out:

  1. It’s his blog. It’s not Coca-Cola’s. He doubles down on personality. Score one for authenticity.
  2. It expresses authority. This isn’t some intern who knows how to use blogging tools. It’s a guy who knows the subject material.
  3. It’s really about conversations and not meant to be a one-way publishing tool.

In his presentation at BDI, he noted some issues came up in the process. For instance, he had to establish very clear blog commenting guidelines. Negative comments are welcome, but they need to be on topic. The blog lists the comment policy under House Rules on the blog’s homepage:

We want you to leave comments and ask us questions on this blog. However, we will review all comments before they go live, and will not post any that are inappropriate or offensive. We will only post comments that relate to the subjects covered by this blog, and may need to edit some of the comments from time to time. Please understand that comments posted to this site do not represent the opinions of the Company.

Over the course of the Year, the conversations expanded far beyond the blog. Here’s a smattering of other digital experiences that Coca-Cola launched that tie in with its history and archives:

Phil shared more insights during the audience Q&A:
Q: How much do you steer clear of controversy?
A: There’s no reason for us not to address controversy. We’re probably not going to use it to talk about labor activities in Columbia, etc. We have other social responsibility sites. We’ll only address it as it’s relevant to Coca-Cola Conversations.
Q: Best and worst lessons learned?
A: People didn’t get they wanted to have conversations about this. People wanted to treat us like Antiques Roadshow, talking about bottles and the like. We can’t respond to individual requests for appraisal. The best lesson: The more interactive we can be, the better it is.
Q: How did you get the word out about the blog?
A: No media involved. Pure word of mouth. It’ll never be the Coke Facebook Page, but it can work in its own right.

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