Consumers are getting more power these days from the brands they know and love. Starbucks’ “My Starbucks Idea” initiative provided web savvy brand loyalists with the power to weigh in on new product offerings and advise Starbucks on how to improve the company. JetBlue’s over 1.3 million Twitter followers participate in the travel and airlines’ conversation and are exposed to the personal side of JetBlue’s operations.
The value of turning a consumer into a “brand ambassador” has grown significantly since the explosion of social media and Coca Cola’s newest fan outreach campaign adds a new dimension to how companies can benefit from handing power over to their most loyal consumers.
Mashable reported last week that Coca-Cola has embarked on a mission to find happiness in the 206 different countries that sell Coca-Cola products across the world. Coca-Cola is empowering a few chosen “Happiness Ambassadors” to travel the world for 365 days beginning on January 1, 2010 and use social media to document their findings.
This brilliant global initiative is using top-tier brand ambassadors to dive deeper into Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” brand philosophy and what it means to various cultures. In today’s expanding global marketplace and social media influence, Coca-Cola’s “Expedition 206” campaign will most likely become the poster child for brands using the benefits of social media, globalization and fan ambassadors to strengthen the brand’s image.
“Expedition 206” will send a 3-person team, decided by online voting, to various global events like the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the World Expo in Shanghai. This team will utilize blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, TwitPics ands other social media platforms to document their “Happiness” findings.
Coca-Cola’s campaign represents the opportunities that social media has opened up to global companies. This highly integrated and buzz worthy campaign will raise Coca-Cola to a new level that competitors must, and should, aspire to reach. “Expedition 206” will provide Coca-Cola with valuable global consumer insights about its brand and products while creating a network of dedicated “Happiness Ambassadors.” A brand’s ability to embrace social media and the value of fan ambassadors will better prepare them for the ever-changing digital marketplace, especially in developing quality buzz-worthy content.