Coke CMO slams ‘short-termist’ Facebook critics

Cannes 2012: Coca-Cola’s most senior marketer has delivered a passionate defence of Facebook in the face of recent criticism of the social network, arguing marketers must not underestimate the long-term role that Facebook will play for brands.

Coca Cola

Speaking at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Coca-Cola CMO Joseph Tripodi, said that creating brand advocacy on social platforms has overtaken loyalty as the holy grail for brands. He called on the creative and marketing community to come together to develop unique solutions to leverage the Facebook platform to create brand strength.

“When you think of the continuum of a business, you go from local, to multi-country, to international, to global, but the highest order is network and network advantage is about having brand advocates telling stories for us.

“I used to think that loyalty was at the top of the pyramid of classic marketing awareness model, but now it’s advocates. If you can turn people that love your brand from passive loyalists to advocates you create a type of network advantage that means your brand will stay relevant. We all know that losing relevance is the worst thing that can happen to your brand.”

Coca-Cola’s strategy, he says, is to take advantage of “a world where mob rules” and grow it’s network advantage by creating shared value for consumers, employees and shareholders through social media sites such as Facebook.

Tripodi defended the social network against recent criticism that it is not offering marketers enough data to prove return on investment from campaign, adding that Facebook is still in it’s infancy despite having more than 900 million users around the world.

“As a marketing community we have to understand that in Facebook we have a platform like we’ve never seen before. We need to come together to design unique solutions for a unique platform. If we take creative solutions that were developed for a more traditional television world and put them on the social platform, were kidding ourselves. We need to be having new thinking.”

“That platform is at the early stages and we’re still learning how we engage and leverage it, but this hysteria that I’ve seen lately [about Facebook], I think it’s very short-termist and not thinking about the long term implications and the implications of engaging with people on that kind of platform.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • I would like Facebook to work better for Business to Business eg display business likes

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  • No one is looking at the structure of Facebook -- which is a limited collection of your friends, not a broad public platform like the NYT's, where everyone sees the same thing -- and where display is more expected.

    After all, I don't want Coke or anyone else bugging me in my living room or at the dinner table with my family.

    And then there's the vague nature of a "Like". You "Like" what? A single post? An offer? The brand? And, say, did you get paid to "Like" it once? Then you ignored or deleted that expression of favor?

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  • hats off to the Coke CMO for explaining the role & purpose of social media marketing. It's astonishing how many marketers and agencies think of social as a 'brand-to-consumer' marcom platform (we have many alternatives to Facebook for this) and not as a platform for word-of mouth marketing (where Facebook rules.......).

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  • What Coke and Ford clearly understand is that social ads should put your brand in a context that is easily digestible to users – a one size fits all approach just won’t work. We used users anonymous online behavioural data to qualify audiences for brands. By doing this, we have been able to provide high-quality fans to a global entertainment publication and major UK mobile telecoms that were 20 times more likely to display interest in becoming customers.

    Brands need to treat social as a new and separate medium to ensure positive ROIs on their direct response ads – we've done some work with a daily deals site (Cobone) and by simply using the tools available through standard Facebook ads and ensuring creative continuity in their ads click paths they maintain a strong ROI on their campaigns

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