CMA Summit 2013: Coca Cola's Jonathan Mildenhall - strategy need to be 'liquid and linked'

No organisation in the world has a content strategy completely figured out, admitted Coca Cola's SVP, Integrated Marketing Content and Design Excellence, in his keynote speech at the CMA Summit yesterday.

"We need to be versatile as online develops." Coke has 207 markets, each in a different stage of content creation depending on how wired they are. Content is the driver of the success and content strategy is at the heart of all Coke's marketing plans.

The plan is to create ideas that are so contagious they cannot be controlled. Coke calls this ‘liquid and linked'. "Amazing things happen when you listen to the consumer and they will react organically," adds Mildenhall.

For example, Mildenhall cites a competition for Coke Zero in which an online audience helped to create a new dance and in which the lead dancer they discovered had a more powerful real life story than ‘anything Coke could have written.'

Each CocaCola brand has a strategic blueprint showing how it is committed to making the world a better place. Once this is done they work out how to tell consumers about it. "Each employee must understand the social purpose and integrate it."

One example of this are the Coke dispensers that recently invited people in India and Pakistan to put their differences aside and make friends with one another by dancing and touching hands through the machines.

Producing high quality, socially impactful content is particularly important to Coke. After the Thailand Tsunami, for example, it launched '1 million reasons to believe in Thailand' with people sending messages which were then shared. Coke sales went up 6 per cent and $2.8 billion was raised for the Red Cross. 

"Going forward Coke intends to inspire participation from the world's finest creators," says Mildenhall. "Collaboration with new partners from different industries can keep content fresh."

Coca Cola believes it's important not to be afraid of risk and not to be afraid of failure. He cites an online Fanta game that worked well in real life but not as an online game. "It was really boring and only had 15 players and 11 of those were from Fanta!"

Coca Cola's Jonathan Mildenhall was speaking at yesterday's CMA International Content Marketing Summit. Want to find out more about getting involved in the £4billion Content Marketing industry? Then contact

Posted in CMA news
27thNov 2013

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