Coca-Cola re-imagines the corporate website

Earlier this week, The Coca-Cola Company unveiled its new corporate website, an online presence that is quite a radical shift from the typical corporate website you’re used to seeing from global businesses.

According to a feature about the new website in the New York Times, Coke executives say it’s the most ambitious digital project they have undertaken and is designed to resemble an online magazine:

[…] it will be called Coca-Cola Journey, after a magazine named Journey that was published for the company’s employees from 1987 to 1997.

The reorganized Web site will offer articles on subjects like entertainment, the environment, health and sports, including longer pieces given prominence in the same way that magazines play up cover pieces. Interviews, opinion columns, video and audio clips, photo galleries and blogs also will be featured.

The main business-oriented content of the Web site – material like biographies of executives, investor information, job postings and news releases – will remain after the revamping.

Apart from anything else, it brings to visible life the whole notion of “every company is a media company.”

In a post on November 12 announcing the launch of Coca-Cola Journey, Ashley Brown, Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at Coca-Cola, explained the broad aspirations for the new website thus:

[…] We want Coca-Cola Journey to be a place where thoughtful people indulge their curiosity about the world around them, engage in a civil discussion and hopefully learn a little more about one of the world’s best-known companies. For our part, we commit to be an open, transparent, and honest host and a thoughtful curator. We’re doing this because we’re optimistic about our world, and we think we have something to contribute to the global dialogue.

From browsing through much of the site, I was struck by just how informal and social it all is. That may seem a pretty obvious view. Yet I don’t know of any other corporate website that has embraced social at every level of a website as much as the Coca-Cola Journey does. Wherever you go you’ll encounter not only social sharing buttons but also examples in what the content says and how its says it that clearly is all about two-way dialogue and sharing.

While Coca-Cola websites may have had some or many of the elements you find in the new site, they’ve been presented on the web in linear, hierarchical fashion – just like every business website.

One other thing, too – when  you look at the home page in its entirety with a couple of clicks on the browser scroll bar, you see content that is remarkably similar conceptually to an infographic. Take a look at this screenshot of the whole page at 50% scale, see if you agree:

Visually attractive and inviting, easy to find your way around.

Coca-Cola Journey is a corporate website, as mentioned, using the domain www.coca-colacompany.com. If you go to the more familiar www.coca-cola.com domain (I actually couldn’t get to that one; the one I did see was www.coca-cola.co.uk, the UK site), you’ll see the more traditional presence that’s all about brands and marketing. I wonder if this will get the Journey treatment. Now that would be something – a game-changer perhaps.

A final note – I was pleased to see that Coca-Cola Journey looks great on my smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy SII with a 4.3-inch screen. Here’s a screenshot roughly the size of what you see on the device screen:

Looks a lot like responsive web design at work. And it works very nicely on mobile.

Nice job, Coke! You’ve set a high bar for others to follow. Or jump.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. NevilleHobson.eu

    […] Coca-Cola re-imagines the corporate website Earlier this week, The Coca-Cola Company unveiled its new corporate website, an online presence that is quite a radical shift from the typical corporate website you’re used to seeing from glo… […]

  2. Richard Stacy

    I am very uncertain about this new website. I have a suspicion that Coca Cola as an organisation just hasn’t really understood ‘this new social media thing’. For sure the site is more Social, in terms of personality, tone, ability to interact and share etc – but I think it fails to grasp that dealing with the social media revolution is not just about being social and nice and producing lots more ‘engaging content’ – it is about recognising a fundamental shift in the relationship between brands and consumers, customers and indeed investors. Brands do not target consumers anymore – consumers target brands. And what they want is specific information, not engaging content.

    I think a much bolder move was made by Netvibes and the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011. Here they created the website for the show ‘in Netvibes’ – i.e. as an information management tool, rather than as a content destination http://ces2011.netvibesbusiness.com/#Official I don’t know if this has been repeated, but I think it does give a glimpse into the future and what I call the shift from the portal (web) to the application. http://richardstacy.com/2011/01/11/netvibes-and-the-shift-from-the-portal-to-the-app/

    Some clues as to why Coca Cola made this move can be found in the amazing Content 2020 video that Coca Cola’s chief creative guru,Jonathan Mildenhall, produced and put on YouTube last year. http://richardstacy.com/2012/02/15/omg-coca-cola-content-2020-omg-by-the-way-did-i-say-omg/ I did get into a conversation with Jonathan about this http://richardstacy.com/2012/02/20/a-reply-to-jonathan-mildenhall/ – and it was great that he was listening and prepared to do this – albeit I don’t think he accepted my contention that his own process of listening and response should be reflected in the overall creative approach for how Coca Cola deal with Social.

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