June 25th, was a big day for Coca-Cola Japan. In addition to
celebrating our 56th anniversary, we also took the next step in our
ongoing communications journey by launching our new corporate website.
Journey embraces a dynamic, magazine-style approach to storytelling
and conversation-provoking content consumers will want to read and share. At
the heart of this new site is Coca-Cola Story, which will bring to life
compelling news and information from across the Coca-Cola system in Japan –
from new products and promotional campaigns, to sustainability programs and
employee profiles. Content will include original stories and article series
authored by both our local Coca-Cola Journey editorial team and external
contributors, photo essays, and interviews with experts and celebrities connected
to our business. The site will be updated weekly with new stories on 10 topics:
Brands, Lifestyle, Vending Machines, Business, Innovation, Partners, People,
Sustainability, Heritage and Global Story.
will drive traffic to Coca-Cola Journey through Coca-Cola Park,
our consumer platform with 12 million members, and socialize our content
through the Coca-Cola News e-mail newsletter (3.7 million subscribers),
Coca-Cola Japan Twitter account (80,000 followers) and Facebook page (380,000
fans). Our goal is to inspire more than 1 million people to visit Coca-Cola
Journey each month.
behalf of my Coca-Cola Japan colleagues, I’d like to share a bit of context and
personal insights on how this groundbreaking project came to be…
Around 10 months ago, we began
discussions with the Coca-Cola Japan interactive marketing team about the content
we wanted to include on our new website. Frankly, we never imagined the
Coca-Cola Japan site would take the form it now does. Around autumn, we began
talking about how the Japanese website should include many of the same features
as the global Coca-Cola
Journey site, which launched last November. Our
discussions transitioned into talk of completely revamping our site.
At the end of 2012, we finalized an
overview of the new website, identifying both the global ideas we wanted to incorporate
and original Japanese content we wanted to keep and reinforce. I was appointed
editor of Coca-Cola Story, a unique feature of Coca-Cola Journey Japan. Starting
in early 2013, I began to search for partners, create plans, organize editorial
meetings, schedule and conduct interviews, and write and submit content. Launch
day approached quicker than I imagined.
At the end of March, members of Coke’s global
Digital Communications & Social Media team from Atlanta and the agency
partner responsible for production and operation visited us in Tokyo. We
decided to launch our version of Coca-Cola Journey on the same platform used by
the global team and began to hold weekly teleconference updates. Due to the
13-hour time difference, our U.S. colleagues were in full-on work mode starting
at 7:00 a.m. I’m not a morning person, so I was also very impressed by this!
The decision to launch on June 25 was
made due to one simple insight: “We might as well time the website launch to
coincide with the company’s anniversary in Japan.” When we started the project last
year, I went about my work in a calm manner. However, in early May—with less
than two months to go—I suddenly realized how little time we had left.
To tell the truth, there was a great
deal of work left after the Golden Week holidays (Early May in Japan),
including arrangements to be made with the global team. In the end, I was a bit
concerned about whether we would finish before the late-June launch. However,
we were able to complete our work while resolving every issue we encountered
thanks to the prompt, professional responses by our in-house colleagues from interactive
marketing and business systems, as well as our external partners in Japan. As
we approached mid-June, I finally felt like our goal was reachable.
In the two weeks before the launch, we increased
the frequency of our teleconferences to three times per week. A week before the
launch, the project manager from the global production team visited Japan again
to confirm each detail. Since the site was slated to go live on June 25, I was
unfortunately unable to relax on June 24, a company-wide holiday in celebration
of Coca-Cola Japan’s anniversary.
Next Phase of Our Journey
While I am sharing my personal thoughts
on the background of this project, our website was created thanks to the
wonderful work and leadership of many professionals across functions and
geographies. As indicated by the name Coca-Cola Journey, the launch of this site
is not our goal. What is important is that we continue to push forward.
To Coca-Cola Japan, our approach to
Coca-Cola Journey represents a brand-new endeavor. Frankly, at this stage, I
cannot say with confidence how it will be received by others or how it will evolve.
However, I do hope the story we will deliver through Journey will create opportunities
for as many people as possible to learn about, become interested in and increase
their appreciation for Coca-Cola by engaging with other fans and stakeholders.
I look forward to bringing this excitement
to Coca-Cola Journey with different people in the future!
Katsuya Sato is manager of digital communications
for Coca-Cola Japan.