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Marketing Content Strategy

Rolex, Coca-Cola Use Content Marketing to Support Brand Legacy

Brands have a lot on their plate when it comes to migrating toward a digital-first marketing approach. While 91 percent of B2B marketers currently engage in a content marketing strategy, only 36 percent say they are effective in their efforts. Marketers say their primary challenges include not only producing enough content, but also producing the type of content that engages consumers.

What differentiates top-performing content marketers who overcome these obstacles? Why do newer businesses struggle to find their voice online? And, how do century-old companies such as Rolex and The Coca-Cola Company innovate with content without compromising their core values and brand story?

We consider these questions in the following analysis that looks at two brands’ evolution from traditional to digital channels:

Rolex: The Jump Into Brand Social Media Marketing

Traditional Rolex AdAlfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex in 1905. Since then, the brand has largely stayed out of the digital marketing game, deferring to loyal customers and a quality product to do most of its selling.

Then, in 2013, Rolex made a swift transition by rolling out its first branded Facebook Page. The 109-year-old brand posts images of race cars, touts its watches’ ability to withstand amazing depths underwater, and showcases new product releases and features.

The strategy employs well-thought-out narratives on how users can enjoy the luxury of a Rolex watch while maintaining an active and adventurous lifestyle. To a first-time buyer, this approach may seem innovative and unique, but to a marketing critic, it smells like consistency.

For as long at it has been advertising, Rolex has aligned itself with divers, sailors, race car drivers, and sports enthusiasts. Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel, wore a Rolex Oyster watch during her next swim and spoke about how it didn’t miss a tick the entire trip. Gleitze didn’t buy the Rolex herself—the company had given her one after her first swim made headlines. Even in 1927, the executives at Rolex knew a good marketing opportunity when they saw one.

The company’s Facebook page is consistent with this messaging. In the branded image below, the album caption reads: “The Oyster Perpetual Submariner, the archetype of the diver’s watch, epitomizes the pioneering link between Rolex and the underwater world.”

Rolex Submariner

What’s the difference between the two ads? Rolex’s content marketing strategy gives it the opportunity to use stunning imagery and a wide reach of social media to get its core message out to a larger audience.

Coca-Cola: A Content Mission to Own Pop Culture

While the Coca-Cola brand is synonymous with happiness, it wasn’t always that easy to get someone to drink a Coke.

In the 1890s, Asa Candler, the owner of The Coca-Cola Company, invented the concept of sampling. As a marketing practice, the brand handed out “complimentary tickets” for Coke to potential customers.

For the next 20 years, The Coca-Cola Company used sampling as a way to increase awareness for its product. It distributed 8.5 million coupons, and the organization estimated that one in every nine Americans had a free drink.

Throughout the company’s growth, it looked for ways to embed its core product into the American life, creating new slogans that reflected the state of the country. The company had its audience consuming one billion sodas a day by 1997.

In 1971, The Coca-Cola Company seemed to transition away from its original messaging that Coke was refreshing and quenched people’s thirst to one that promoted the happiness people feel when they drink the beverage. As part of the company’s “It’s the Real Thing” campaign, the company coined the slogan “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”

Since then, happiness, hospitality, and authenticity have been associated with The Coca-Cola Company brand. How did the organization transfer this messaging to the Web?

Content 2020Coca-Cola uses content marketing strategy to highlight new and exciting initiatives taking place around the world. This approach, as outlined in the brand’s “Content 2020” mission statement, aims to earn the business a major share of voice within pop culture.

These stories focus on what inspires people and makes them happy every day. As noted in the Content 2020 videos, The Coca-Cola Company is pursuing a focus on content that helps the reader live positively, and it asks that every Coke team member be involved and feel ownership of this initiative. Through stories on its “Unbottled” section, which speak to innovation, community, and cultural events, the business successfully executes its core content mission. These stories make the reader feel warm and fuzzy inside—it makes them crave something sweet.

Coca-Cola discovered its message early on by listening to its audience and understanding its role in the marketplace. It has carried that knowledge throughout its growth, from print to television and now to the Web.

Storytelling at the Center

The move to digital marketing has enabled brands to deliver their story to a larger audience through compelling and relevant content. For brands that have traditionally operated offline, however, this often requires marketers to break down internal silos and reorganize around the new best practice—such as original content creation and social media marketing. While it can be a difficult journey, brands must evolve their marketing strategy in order to reach and stay relevant among their core audiences

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