Coca-Cola : Editing extremes

A magazine-style approach magnifies the importance of story choice.

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The feature

Coca-Cola, US-based non-alcoholic drinks company, grapples on its innovative corporate website with looking local while acting global. Coca-Cola’s distinctive new magazine-style corporate site opens on the Featured sub-section page of Coca-Cola Journey, a main section with a menu of 10 topics. The page presents a set of seven photo-preview panels, one of which is bigger than the rest and shows the ‘headline’ story. The highlighted story is refreshed regularly. In the past two days it has been ‘Welcoming the Final Four: Coca-Cola Transforms the Atlanta Airport’ and ‘A Catalyst for Change: Women in the Workforce’. The first showed a graphic image with the strap line ‘Coca-Cola Welcomes the NCAA Men’s Final Four to Atlanta’; the second has a montage of women of differing nationalities.

The takeaway

One effect of Coca-Cola’s heavily ‘storied’ approach to its corporate site is to magnify the importance of editorial decisions: which content to feature, how often to refresh it, which to major on. And that in turn magnifies the collective message of those decisions. Its recent choice of headline stories for the de facto home page shows the difference between getting it right and getting it wrong. The company prides itself and trades on its worldwide appeal and presence; the Women in the Workforce feature reinforces this global citizenship through its multi-cultural montage. At the other extreme, the Final Four story is parochial in the extreme, and both geographically (Atlanta is Coca-Cola’s home town) and culturally (the NCAA Men’s Final Four is a US college basketball tournament, so likely to be a mystery to anyone outside America). As Coca-Cola develops its editorial approach to corporate websites it needs to bear in mind that in the world of journals you are only as good as your last headline.
First published 19 March, 2013
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