You may have seen this post (or some variation of it) floating around the web last week. Apparently, Coke says the corporate web site is dead.
I say hogwash.
Yeah, I said it. I disagreed with mighty Coke. But, I have what I believe to be some fairly solid reasons. Hear me out.
Not everyone is Coke
Cokes is arguably the most recognized brand on the entire planet. So, they’re in a position to do things like this (read: way ahead of the curve-type things). If your brand is looking to build brand awareness or wants to be in the customer’s consideration set, you may not have this luxury. What Coke doesn’t talk about in its own post is the resources it takes to pull this off. They’re not talking about it because I’m guessing it’s substantial. Again, another luxury most brands don’t have. Now, I’m on board with the shift from static corporate web sites to ones that feature more dynamic content. But, the wholesale, transformational switch Coke is pulling off? Very few brands could even think about doing this right now.
Is Coke suddenly People Magazine?
Taking a peek at the front page of the new Coke web site, I see stories about: recipes, an interview with a famous chef, and the MP3 vs. LP debate. I’m sorry, am I reading Esquire or a corporate web site? My question from the very beginning of this whole “Coke Journey” has been: Why would ANYONE go to the Coke web site for this kind of lifestyle content? No really, I’m asking you–do you know anyone who would do this? ANYONE? Who trusts Coke when it comes to recipes? WHY would I trust Coke with recipes? Why would I care what Coke has to say about MP3s? I mean, I’m not crazy here, am I? Just seems like a reach–it always has. But obviously they have the numbers so what do I know? Now, there are also a fair amount of articles on the home page that are relevant and connected directly to the Coke brand. Articles about: bottle technology, community support Coke provides, and Coke ambassadors. Those, I get. What Coke thinks about the dating scene? Not so much. Doesn’t the content need to be relevant to your brand?
It’s about meeting customer expectations
OK, so maybe this falls under “everyone isn’t Coke”, too. But, to me, a corporate web site is still an online corporate brochure to an extent. And, I think that’s still OK. After all, it’s still what people expect from a corporate web site. They expect an About Us page. A Contact page. And, a page where your products or services are featured (and heaven forbid you allow people to buy your product on your site!). Again, Coke is pretty unique–they’re not selling bottles of Coke on the site or even trying to drive “leads.” Therefore, they’re allowed to do this kind of thing (build giant shifts in awareness). For the lion’s share of brands out there, I think the existing infrastructure of today’s corporate web site works just fine. Could brands add more dynamic content to their sites more regularly? Sure. Do they need to throw away the entire model just to do that? Not by a long shot.
What do you think? Coke’s crazy, right?