In the current Idea Email, we explore ten traits displayed by companies that use customer media and content that works to help customers discover their products and to build long term relationships with those who become buyers and users.

Here are six companies we believe are demonstrating some of those traits.

[The Current Idea Email was released this morning. Subscribe now to receive your own copy.]

Idea Email - Coke's secret forumla

After a radical overhaul, the corporate website of Coca-Cola (Coca-ColaCompany.com) now demonstrates how story-focused customer media and engaging content isn’t just for product marketers anymore.

coke 8-pack lessons from coca-cola's website publishing model Hammock’s current Idea Email focuses on the approach the Coca-Cola Company has taken to radically pivot away from what most companies do with their corporate websites. Traditionally considered little more than a brochure website and repository for press releases and administrative content, Coke has transformed the site into an ever-changing and engaging “publishing model” site called Journey.

Here are some of the lessons learned from the first six months of the new approach, according to Coca-Cola executives, including Ashley Callahan, Coca-Cola manager of digital and social media communications, who made a presentation about Journey at last week’s Custom Content Council Conference. We also added some observations from our analysis of the site.

Hammock’s current Idea Email focuses on the approach the Coca-Cola Company has taken to radically pivot away from what most companies do with their corporate websites. Traditionally considered little more than a brochure website and repository for press releases and administrative content, Coke has transformed the site into an ever-changing and engaging “publishing model” site called Journey.

Just how different an approach is Coca-Cola taking? Compare the look and approach of the Coca-Cola site, a strategy Coca-Cola calls a “publishing model,” compared to the corporate websites of the top ten companies listed this year on the Fortune 500.

[The Current Idea Email was released this morning. Subscribe now to receive your own copy.]


Recognizing the customers’ ultimate objective isn’t buying pots and pans but becoming better cooks, Williams-Sonoma elevated the role of customer media and content, making it a part of the brand’s core mission. 

hover finger william sonoma customer media

To find these features on Williams-Sonoma.com, hover your cursor over the Recipes tab.

In the current issue of The Idea Email (subscribe, view current issue), we explain why we’re inspired by how the retailer Williams-Sonoma has made the creation and use of customer media and content a part of their mission statement.

Here are three of our favorite ways they display their commitment to “helping customers become great cooks” in a way that adds value to the cookware they sell. (We could have added lots more.)

sous-chef series logoThe Sous-Chef-Series: Williams-Sonoma has partnered with The Tasting Table for a free weekly email and website series featuring the stories of up-and-coming chefs from around the U.S. Why we like it: Great stories and recipes are coupled with Williams-Sonoma cookware that’s related to the dish being shared. A great example of “content-enabled commerce.”

fishing orvis hammock blog marketing [Part of the series “How Great Companies Use Customer Media”*]

At Hammock, we are inspired by people who run companies and organizations that are leading the transition away from viewing marketing as a series of promotional activities that end with a transaction. These savvy leaders now view marketing as a process of building relationships focused on helping customers reach their goals or aspirations.

We’re especially inspired by the country’s oldest catalog retailer, a family-owned business founded in the 1850s called Orvis. Orvis is ahead of the curve in embracing new forms of media or content that help them teach and learn from their customers, so it was an easy decision to feature it as the first company of our new series called “How Great Companies Use Customer Media.”

In many categories of consumer or business-to-business marketing, it’s difficult to find companies that have fully embraced the value-delivering philosophy we sum up with the phrase, “Don’t sell customers hammers and nails; teach them how to build something.” But when it comes to the outdoor-enthusiast retail category, several companies are so good at mentoring their customers that many of their promotions have evolved into significant profit centers.