Coca-Cola is on a Journey. The brand has re-imagined its corporate website as a content portal with, get this, actual great content. Some of it is about the brand, but some isn't.

Does it make sense for Coke to become a publisher? Will it succeed?

This approach to content marketing has been very successful for other brands. American Express OPEN Forum has become a very legitimate small business publication. Red Bull has launched Red Bull Media House, a self-styled “multi-platform media company.”

Coke, however, is a bit more heavy-handed in its content marketing efforts. Some might say clever. Others might say oafish.

Coca-Cola’s fundamental strategy is sound: I had zero reason to visit Coke's corporate site yesterday. Today, I might go there because a story pops up in Google or my Facebook feed. I might even just go there to see what's new.

According to Ashley Brown, head of social and digital at Coke:

“We want Coca-Cola Journey to be a place where thoughtful people indulge their curiosity about the world around them, engage in a civil discussion and hopefully learn a little more about one of the world's best-known companies. For our part, we commit to be an open, transparent, and honest host and a thoughtful curator.”

Clearly, this commitment is evidenced by Coke inviting me to question their strategy right here on the pages of their own website.

But AmEx has a customer-centric approach to its content marketing efforts. AmEx's approach is a clear exchange of relevant value.

Coke, on the other hand, has a brand-centric approach. One story claims New Yorkers are “lining up” against the City's ban on soda.

Are they really?

Is that the kind of blatantly self-serving content that is going to get me, Mr. Consumer, to come back?

The bottom line is: Coke wants this to be a place where people indulge curiosity and engage in discussion. But, is that the relevant value people want from Coke?

Answering that question will determine this platform’s ultimate success.

Ironically, it is Coca-Cola’s universal appeal that will make this a difficult challenge. AmEx OPEN creates content savvy small businesspeople want. Red Bull creates content thrill-seeking young men want. takes a scattershot “something for everyone” approach to content—sports, innovation, Charlie Brown’s Christmas special. Instead of the focal point being what people want, it becomes The Coca-Cola Company.

Overall, this is an amazing effort. There is some great content being created, but I can literally hear the compromises and justifications being made:

"How will this contribute to revenue?"

"Why should we spend millions on this content if it's not promoting Coke?"

"Can't you make the logo bigger?"

Overall, I applaud the effort from Coke. But I'm not giving them a standing ovation yet.

When Coke gets that content marketing is about really about putting the customer first, then I'll really jump to my feet.