Jarter Jargon

Coca-Cola’s Bubbly Personality Still Applies Online

Posted on: April 23, 2012

Coca-Cola is America’s cola. Their bubbly personality as a brand has been cultivated over many years so it’s not surprising that their Online Social Media Principles reflect the company’s values. Their policy gets to the point, and explains the core values the company wants to maintain through their and their employees’ social media channels.

 

Highlights

Coca-Cola’s policy is basically broken down into how their 7 core values apply to their online channels and into 10 principles to help guide how their Certified Online Spokespeople should represent the company as well as general guidelines for non-certified employees who use online social media for their personal lives.

Their policy primarily focuses on how channels should help customers, while their secondary focus is general accountability when it comes to protecting the company’s image.

Coca-Cola does a great job of encouraging all of its associates to explore and engage in social media communities at a level at which they feel comfortable. Their advice is, “Have fun, but be smart.” They suggest to approach online worlds in the same way we do the physical one — by using sound judgment and common sense, by adhering to the Company’s values , and by following the Code of Business Conduct and all other applicable policies.

Coca-Cola also wants spokespeople associates, even vendors to be transparent, letting people know who is affiliated with Coca-Cola.

Lastly, Coca-Cola is really big on taking responsibility for actions. They encourage their staff to participate in online communities but to do so properly, exercising sound judgment and common sense. They also warn of sharing information online with friends and family, as friends and family also have the ability to share it with people it wasn’t originally intended to be shared with.

They also understand their global influence and notes that messages are specifically defined as they may be inaccurate in some parts in the world.

One of the biggest highlights comes towards the very end. Coca-Cola states, “the Company encourages all associates to exercise sound judgment and common sense to prevent online social media sites from becoming a distraction at work.” Honestly, it’s a very fair request. A lot of people think that social media specialists for companies get to sit on Twitter and Facebook all day, but in actuality, it’s much more than that.

 

Weaknesses

The only weakness I can see with this policy is the basic explanation. It’s very easy to read and understand, but the 10 guidelines for Certified Online Spokespeople is essentially the same exact guidelines for non-certified channels. It’s basically be smart,  take responsible for your actions, don’t disclose non-public information, and general business conduct codes (don’t steal trademarks, keep records, collaborate with company experts on specific topics).

Changes/Recommendations

Overall, it’s a very clear and concise policy. However, even though certified spokespeople must complete a certification training, guidelines for certified and non-certified channels basically must follow the same exact protocol. The policy is only 5 pages, but it felt like I kept reading the same thing over again.

 

Opinions

I fully understand the need for a social media policy in this day and age. Companies must safeguard themselves when dealing with new media. At my two previous internships, I never specifically had to read and sign a social media policy, it was just a confidentiality agreement. The only think I was told is to respect my time at work and, much like Coca-Cola’s policy, not let social media sites become a distraction at work. According to Jeff Bullas, a surprisingly low percentage of companies actually have a social media policy, but it’s the front door when it comes to preventing poor PR.

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