Message on a Bottle

August 6, 2014 Nick Begley

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I shared a Coke.

I bought a Courtney for my wife and a Nick to complete our Coke couple. Unfortunately, I had no luck in my hunt for a Landon – the name of my two-year-old son. I’ve since learned Landon isn’t available in stores, so I’ll have to find a stop on the Share a Coke® Summer Tour if I want to make him a personalized mini can.

As a cynical consumer, I try to avoid campaigns that are clearly meant to suck me in and get my credit card out of my wallet. But as a marketer, I appreciate campaigns that people can connect with on multiple levels. And Share a Coke involves the consumer in a way that goes well beyond Starbucks writing my name on a coffee cup. My name is actually printed on a bottle in the iconic Coke font! Even people who don’t intend to consume the beverage are going to the store and rifling through the fridge to find their name or someone else they know.

Connecting with Consumers

Without a doubt, the Coca-Cola brand has done an excellent job making things personal this summer by adding first names on cans and bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. They’ve likely introduced their product to new consumers and reconnected with others who may have strayed after taking the Pepsi Challenge.

It goes without saying that this is integrated marketing at its finest. There’s digital Coke sharing, a Share a Coke video on YouTube and Share a Coke is even on a worldwide tour as I mentioned above, with consumers lining up to create their own mini cans. You can read for days if you search #shareacoke on Twitter. And, there is no shortage of editorial media coverage either – people are using Share a Coke to propose and announce their baby news and it’s making news!

Photogenic "Share a Coke" Bottles

Seeing our own name on items – or the names of family members and friends – brings out the kid in all of us. Spinning a store display to find a mug, keychain or bicycle license plate adorned with our moniker is a shared human experience. The Share a Coke campaign sends the message that this type of personalization, albeit automated, continues to resonate with consumers.

It’s also a good reminder for entertainment organizations to take a personal approach with their customers. Being on a first-name basis with your audience can be easily accomplished with good CRM technology and an organizational culture that stresses and supports data literacy. The cleanliness of the data that is captured – both demographic and behavioral – will then allow you to take your marketing campaigns to the next level. Create personalized relationships, know who to talk to and when, perhaps even surprise a VIP supporter with his or her favorite drink at their seat on a special occasion.

As a consumer, it’s nice to get emails that start with “Hello, Nick!” and a free scoop of Baskin-Robbins ice cream on my birthday. It’s the companies that take things to that next level that really impress me.

So, what can you do to “impress” your customers?

  • Offer intelligent up-sells and cross-sells based on past purchases.
  • Reward the most generous donors with a polo or sweatshirt in their size.
  • Stop by the seats of loyal customers for a quick hello to show them that they’re valued.
  • Deliver relevant, personalized website content when customers log into their accounts.
  • Provide early access to tickets based on the value of the customer.

We all want to belong. Feel valued. Share a connection. Maybe even a Coke! But regardless of our personal beverage preferences, this engaging campaign is one that should inspire you to create amazing new experiences for your customers.

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