Framing What We Do into "Stories"

Framing What We Do into "Stories"

Jamal Booker, Coca-Cola

“For Coca-Cola, stories are currency,” says Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Coca-Cola. All of our marketing executives, and the teams leading our social media efforts, agree that compelling stories are the differentiator in the crowded digital space. Even the chief of our Worldwide Public Affairs and Communications group (which we report to) looks at our department as the “Storytelling” department.

Taking all of this interest in “storytelling” into consideration, who has more brand stories in any of our organizations than the Archives? Every piece in our collections can be used to tell a story – about the business. While this is something that business archives have done for years, the combination of this with the ever-increasing social media landscape offers us a new way to communicate what we do and add value to our institutions.

This is the video story of how one photocopied sheet of paper in our International Advertising Collection unfolded into an interesting narrative:

We linked the story with a full behind-the-scenes documentary:

The power of social media is everything with this story. It literally would have been impossible 20 years ago in the pre-Google world, because it was a consumer in South Africa who played a key role in helping us stumble into what turned out to be a great story. As the marketing folks have said, “As we move from a world of short-form-paid-for media to a world of long-form-opt-in media the art of storytelling has never been more relevant.” Social media is the key to storytelling in our current environment. It can provide a clear return on investment for what we do – in terms of reach, marketing, interaction and consumer engagement – with very low costs. For all the challenges that the digital age poses to our profession with issues such as digital preservation, it also presents tremendous opportunities.

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bpalibrary says:
Coca-cola archives story

Jamal, great story and awesome project. I'm amazed at the far-reaching and enterprising spirit you as an archivist showed in tracking down this jacket and going to South Africa to do those interviews. I've always admired the Coca-cola company's support of their archives, understanding the cultural significance in collecting and preserving world-wide Coca-cola materials. Wonder of wonders (but not really), Coca-cola has been an internationally known brand for over 75 years, and the South Africa story offers more insight into this phenomenon. Thanks so much for sharing and for making the documentaries. This gives archives a higher profile and even better name. I will share this with my non-archivist, music loving friends and they will totally dig it!