7th Apr 2015

How Did Coke Get 50 Million Facebook Fans When I Wasn’t One of Them?

As a marketer you have to know how to do research. In fact you have to know how to do A LOT of research. A large majority of my day is looking at colors, researching their meanings, appropriate styles, successful past campaigns, unsuccessful past campaigns, analyzing data on audiences and preferences, and the list goes on, and on … and on.

I was happily engrossed in the latest pie chart on consumer habits for the horse de-worming industry, when I found this:


This, my friends, is an excellent infographic, almost to the point of, ‘I wish I’d thought of this myself…’

As soon as it caught my eye and drew me in I knew I had to step away from my emotions and let the analytical side of my brain take over. I am a marketer. I know the business. I use the business on a daily basis. But why did this post immediately catch my attention, as a battle weary and immune to the trade professional, and make me want to read further? It seemed like a stroke of genius – but how?


The most striking thing about this image is that it is incredibly simple. It has a heading, in a box, it has five points, in a box, and an advert for the authors book, also in a box. There is nothing complicated about the layout or that the style keeps you scrolling as you want to learn about the next fact. There is no ‘bumpf’, no ‘fillers’, just the title that explains the whole of the article and the indicated information. It doesn’t get much more simple than that!


Whether it was a conscious decision or not, the design of the infographic maximizes familiarity so that the reader immediately bonds with the article and feels secure in knowing ‘what comes next’. The colors reflect the brand colors of Coca Cola, it uses their familiar logo as the largest element of the title design, it neatly boxes off all the information and uses a header and footer to each image box to reinforce the marketing device used, and the explanation why. There are no surprises. It goes exactly as you suspect and you are not left disappointed.

With this familiarity, linked with the simplicity, the information is easy to digest, so the focus is the message, not the design.


Another point that keeps you hooked is the fact that as there are no surprises the information keeps building. You’re waiting for a climax, but somehow are not disappointed in the journey. It isn’t suspense it builds, but intrigue. How did Coca Cola do that? Is always on your mind and by continuing to scroll down, you find the answers.


The subject of the infographic has been intentionally chosen as it is universally interesting. ‘5 ways the factory down the road markets its woolly socks on Facebook’, isn’t as captivating, or dare I say it, it won’t draw as big of an audience. Coca Cola is a big brand that most people recognize even if they don’t patronize it. As far as marketing power goes, Cokes is HUGE and everybody wants to see how ‘the wheels’ turn behind closed doors. This article gives them that quizzical glimpse into something highly respected as if they were getting a one to one guided tour.


The infographic has been made appealing by being based in a visual format. Not only has it been made appealing by using photos, it has been made easier to read.

Let me illustrate: Point number 4 is about shareable content. If it was in text format with no photo it would read something like; ‘4 posting shareable content. Imagine a mother polar bear curled up against the snow with her cub curling round her feet, resting a snowy face on her neck. Not only does the image have ‘Aww…’ factor to encourage fans to comment, but it is also extremely sharable too’.

First of all you’d think the bear cub was a contortionist to get into that position, but two – you wouldn’t care. You can’t see it because that ‘Aww…’ factor was missing. As the post is all about the ‘Aww…’ factor using text alone makes it moot and almost incomprehensible.  Using the images to appeal to the right emotions makes the message more powerful and more appealing.


The points bought out in the complete image are all points that any marketer can learn from, in fact, not just marketers, any small to medium business owner, sports team, charity, local community forum, or anybody who wants to use Facebook as a vehicle for customer engagement. The information itself has value to the reader on many levels, so offers a valuable education.


After you have finished assimilating all the information presented to you, you have to step back and ask, ‘Why was this infographic written?’ Was it an educational piece? To provoke thought, emotions or particular action? No, Not at all. The sole reason this piece was written was… to advertise the author’s book and increase his following for his social media sites. When you analyse it, even with the aspects above taken into consideration, the infographic execution is basic and has a ‘home made’ feel about it, lacking the attractive artistic flourishes that a professional graphic artist or marketing company would employ. The real point of this marketing is self-promotion but it’s so well done, you can forgive him!

Looking at it a second or third time you can still forgive the shameless self-promotion because the whole media has value. It achieves a whole heck of a lot in a very small package and for that, we can forgive a lot.

After soaking in all this information I finally got to look at what it said. Coca Cola has 50 Million Facebook users? How did I not know that! It must have been I was so busy looking at data, images, and analysis, etc. that I forgot to actually look at successful marketing in motion. What a travesty! I had much to learn from them and their strategy, and all it took was someone to point it out in a pictogram.

The information is spot on, the delivery excellent in theory, and a little rough in practice, but very well executed for the channels chosen, and I dare say, very successful too. After all, we’re all here looking at it!

What worries me more is the fact that I never thought to be one of their 50 million followers! (Actually now it’s over 93 Million followers – note to self – avoid ‘aging’ your marketing! Things last a long time on the internet…) I must be so busy with my head in my marketing that I forget what goes on in the industry is also to enjoy. So thanks to the author of that infographic! It taught me how to market like Coca Cola – and reminded me I should occasionally get a life!