Over on Medium, I posted some analysis on the Coke Super Bowl ad that provoked backlash from a handful of people who, it’s probably fair to say, are ridiculous. The primary point, from a marketing perspective:
This case study shows why demands to state upfront the ROI of strategic media work bother me: I don’t know how to quantify the impact of something a company didn’t do. Could Pepsi have turned Coke on its heels by reacting to the commercial and the backlash it provoked? I think so. (The more-objective answer: Probably.) But the company didn’t. So we’ll never know how effectively a reaction would’ve seeped into this week’s news cycle because Pepsi didn’t even trial-balloon one.
It also highlights why I’ve always thought of social media as infrastructure just as critical to an organization’s performance as an interstate highway is to a country’s commerce. Whereas traditional PR efforts are a pull mechanism designed to influence reporters who will ultimately influence stakeholders, owned media, collectively, produces a pull effect. Audiences get drawn in, and ideally bounce from a blog post to a Twitter feed to a Facebook fan page.
Optimizing the potential of owned media platforms amplifies a message — and, as we’re seeing with the Coke commercial, owned media chatter can drive positive earned media coverage. Building out the infrastructure is one of the services we provide.