Coke Studio on Marketing 2.0

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In a bid to further extend its positioning of ‘Open Happiness’ Coca-Cola is back with the second season of MTV Coke Studio with more diversified and original content. The beverages brand is keen on building stronger consumer connect beyond the product offerings through its association with music.

According to Wasim Basir, Director – Integrated Marketing Communication, Coca-Cola India, “In all our endeavours we want to promote ‘Happiness’, and in this particular concept music is the route which we are using to promote our brand promise, the other properties we use include cricket.”

With an initiative like this, what kind of a brand synergy does Coca-Cola draw from its partnership with MTV? Experts suggest it is to get closer to the its core TG, which is the youth. However, Basir points out that though the brand primarily targets youth, the brand caters to a wider TG, which cuts across ages. The second season of the show will thus see younger artists on board such as music composers Shantanu Moitra, Amit Trivedi, Ehsaan-Loy, Nitin Sawhney, Karsh Kale, Hitesh Sonik and Clinton Cerejo.

Plus, word of mouth publicity has acted like a major stimulus for brand recognition. The company boasts of having a 750,000 strong membership base on Coke Studio’s FB page. Additionally, the company claims that Coca Cola page is the largest for any consumer goods company with 50 lakh members belonging to India. Thus, because of its association with MTV, it has a much wider distributional network in the country.

However, one of the biggest challenges for a brand like Coca-Cola is to create a brand message that can eventually promote consumption of the brand. Basir explains, “As a brand marketer you are not putting out a message for your brand, you are creating content which has nothing to do with your brand, thus your gumption for feedback on your brand needs to be higher. For the company it has been a learning curve; we have a more mature outlook with the constructive feedback we got on this initiative.”

Wasim Basir, Director - Integrated Marketing Communication, Coca-Cola India

Wasim Basir, Director – Integrated Marketing Communication, Coca-Cola India

Hence, the company is following the Marketing 2.0 strategy, which is about being customer centric, and involves understanding customer needs, and satisfying them with the product/service offering. So Coke’s focus is on engagement, which may in the long run culminate into consumer’s purchasing decision. “But at the current moment the company is focusing on becoming a big part of people’s conversation and not a one-way communication,” he adds. He also shares that many colleges have connected with the brand to recreate the concept of Coke Studio at their fests. “This clearly shows that consumers are speaking directly to the brand, which is the best place for any marketer to be!” he exclaims. Coca-Cola is looking at digital, radio, TV and on ground events like concerts and music CDs to promote the second innings of Coke Studio.

Moreover, to strengthen its bond further with the consumer, the brand is open to associations with more than one partner. “Initially there was always a certain hesitation of how much you want to give up of something you have created. But, we are absolutely open for partnerships and that period of initial hesitation is over, if brands want to participate we are open to likeminded alliances, for instance last year we had Spice and Kingfisher as partners. We do not go seeking partnerships because they are more than just a financial deal. Whatever we do our focus is only on building consumer connect.” The brand is already in conversation with 3-4 brands to initiate similar brand building campaigns.

Coke Studio is a global concept by Coca-Cola which has been customised according to the countries it is brought to. The Indian version came alive on MTV on 17th June, 2011.

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