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The Coca-Cola Company is one of the most valuable and recognizable brands in the world. For more than 100 years, its iconic campaigns have created an emotional connection to the brand using physical assets.

Ted Ryan manages the Coca-Cola Archives collections and exhibits – the company has curated, catalogued and preserved “everything from original oil paintings by noted artists like Norman Rockwell, classic vending machines, reels of film with commercials and even a 1939 delivery truck.”

As the brand has evolved an online presence, so must its web content preservation efforts. In his article “1s and 0s,” Ted Ryan describes why and how Coca-Cola’s current web archiving policy developed.


The Challenge

All corporate websites and social media content are vulnerable to bit rot and digital obscurity unless they are properly archived in native format. As an archivist, Ryan has a keen understanding of the importance of collecting Coca-Cola’s web content for the brand’s future.

Ryan also knows the care and attention to detail that must be given to web content preservation. The challenge Ryan faces is the same as that of other brand heritage archivists: finding and implementing the right data collection technology to capture, preserve and protect Coca-Cola’s web content in its original context – just as physical artifacts have been preserved for thousands of years.


The Discovery

With data collection and preservation still considered to be an emergent technology – as well as the inherent mutability of the web – many brand owners think it’s impossible to capture web content before it’s lost. As Ryan points out in his article, “I always say that my greatest fear and challenge as an archivist is to capture and preserve born digital files and websites in particular…. You might wonder why this is important, the web changes every day and in some ways it is like trying to capture a wave on the ocean.”

This is one of the reasons Hanzo Archives developed and launched its defensible eDiscovery solutions for legal and corporate use.

At the beginning of his data capture quest, Ryan was able to view archived versions of Coca-Cola websites in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Although the capture and preservation was happening, he had no control over what was captured, how much web content was captured or the quality of capture.

Rather than reflecting Coca-Cola’s needs, the capture reflected the Internet Archive’s goal – to provide broad, noncommercial crawls for general historical preservation and interest. For Coca-Cola, Ryan needed something more customizable and optimized for his needs. This is when he partnered with Hanzo Archives.

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The Solution

Ryan selected Hanzo’s data collection and preservation technology to capture and preserve a wide range of Coca-Cola’s websites and social media.

A key criterion for his selection of Hanzo was the technology’s ability to crawl, capture and preserve all the website and social media content Ryan specifies. Those specifications are documented and maintained in an archive policy agreed upon by Coca-Cola and Hanzo Archives.


The Result

Today, The Coca-Cola Company’s web content collection is highly regarded by corporate archivists, and the company’s preservation policy is drawing the attention of those concerned with eDiscovery and information governance as well. In a blog post from SoMeLaw Thoughts, 5 Lessons Social Media Practitioners Can Learn From The Coca-Cola Archives, Ryan Garcia describes the experience of visiting Coca-Cola’s web content collection with a group of social media attorneys.

It’s a fascinating read in which Garcia explains how social media marketers can look to Coca-Cola’s data collection process to create success in their media campaigns.

This blog post also points out very simple approaches to mapping how the archival process relates to every part of a business. That process begins with the identification of unique brand attributes, along with what supports them commercially, and ends with getting buy-in from all internal stakeholders – from marketing to legal.

From the perspective outlined in this blog, it’s clear web content preservation is essential to preserve and protect your brand heritage in the digital space. This applies to meeting legal and information governance requirements as well.