Coke and the Power of Creating Brand Folklore

brand strategy consultancy

Brand Folklore and the Power of Brand Storytelling
For many years we worked with one of Australia’s most loved food brands; King Island Dairy. King Island is a speck of land in the middle of Bass Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania. Bass Strait is renowned for huge seas and blustering winds, just as King Island is known for producing some of the best traditional cheeses in the world. Over more than fifteen years we carried out consumer research on behalf of the brand, and each year without exception we heard the same brand story; The reason why the quality of King Island cheese is so good goes back to the ships wrecked upon the island a hundred years and more ago. The ships were from England, carrying early settlers and convicts to Australia, and the cabins contained mattresses filled with grass seeds from the green pastures of the Mother Land. As the ships were thrown upon the rocks of King Island, the seeds from the mattresses were washed overboard and by natures own hand sown across the island, creating the best grass anywhere in the country, which when consumed by the King Island cows produced milk of the highest quality, leading to the rich and creamy cheeses of King Island which know no peer.

A great story to be sure – but one without any basis of fact, and created entirely in the minds of the market by the spirit of the brand – much like all great brand folklore.

Many of the world’s leading brands understand the benefits of building layers of folklore into their brand experiences, and few strategies work better than a secret formula. KFC have built their brand on the mystical basis of their eleven secret herbs and spices, just as Coke has always leveraged their own secret formula.

Like all great brand propositions, it is the experiences around them which leverage their value to the brand, and Coke have proven to be the masters at doing just that. At the ‘World of Coca-Cola‘ in Atlanta, Georgia visitors discover the Vault of the Secret Formula, which presents the tale of one of the most famous and mysterious trade secrets in history—the secret formula of Coca-Cola.The vault comprises twelve interactive installations and games with a narrative experience to challenge their ideas about what is fiction and what is truth about the secret formula.

The opportunity for all brands – whether retail, FMCG, B2B or professional services –  is to understand where the magic resides in what they do, and how to translate that into magnetic brand folklore.

The ‘vault of the secret formula‘ was created for Coke by super talented US-based creative agency Second Story Interactive Studio, in collaboration with Donna Lawrence Productions and Gallagher & Associates.
For complete project credits visit: secondstory.com/project/triangle-room-shadow-play. This project is part of the Vault of the Secret Formula at the World of Coca-Cola. Learn more here: secondstory.com/project/vault-of-the-secret-formula

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Creator of Brand Folklore

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