20 percent of CocaCola’s media spending goes to social media

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For years, Coke’s advertising practically defined the times. To what extent do you feel pressure to create the next defining slogan or image?

The world of communication is evolving at a fast pace. In the past we needed premium advertising to create effective consumer impressions. Today consumers are much more empowered. You need to communicate with them. We have more than 33 million fans on the Coca-Cola Facebook page—the largest Facebook page of any single brand—and it wasn’t even created by us. You still need great advertising, but that’s just part of a dialogue.

That’s the challenge: To what extent do you control the message? Coke has had to deal with things like those viral videos that show people putting Mentos in Diet Cokes and creating giant fountains. Do these things cause concern? Or do you try to embrace them?

It’s not just that you can’t control it—when you try, it backfires. You have to understand consumers: They would like to be heard. It’s a question of cocreating content. Five years ago social media was 3% of our total media spend. Today it’s more than 20% and growing fast.

What’s the value, exactly, of those 33 million Facebook fans?

The value is you can talk with them. They tell you things that are important for your business and brands. Today consumers are buying products not just for the quality but also because they believe in the character of the companies that produce those products.

via HBR