In advance of me presenting at this year’s International Content Marketing Summit on 27 November, the Content Marketing Association asked me what it took for us to rethink The Coca-Cola Company’s approach to content marketing and win the 2013 Cannes Lions ‘Creative Marketer of the Year’ accolade.

Here is what it took. Firstly, Muhtar Kent, our chairman and CEO, demands that all Coke employees remain “constructively discontent” - ie that we are good-natured, but view the current status quo as the absolute enemy. This gives a marketer like me incredible licence to embrace constant creative innovation.

“If consumers share our content, we know we are doing something right”

Secondly, we invested time and money in developing a global manifesto for marketing communications. The result was ‘Content 2020’ we put it out there knowing that agencies all over the world would see our ambition, embrace it and then use it against us should we ever be tempted to fall back into a conservative marketing mindset.

Many have asked us why we are being so public about our agenda. it is so we can engage in conversations with interested parties, take on board feedback, discuss new ideas, be sure of a global creative standard and attract new partnerships. Since going public, we have shared our learnings with companies such as P&G and Walmart, as well as with Stanford and Manchester Metropolitan Universities and Harvard Business School. The shared value this has created allows us to evolve our thinking.

Thirdly, we have made a very public commitment to inspiring the world’s finest creative minds to want to work on our brands. Our success is largely dependent on the top thinkers in the creative industries seeing Coca-Cola as an opportunity to do some of the best work of their careers.

The fourth big driver of any marketing organisation’s success is ‘system-wide’ content principles. We believe in work that is obvious, with ‘Coke Hands’ becoming our most-awarded print ad in history. Content should be surprising yet familiar.

We also aim for our content to earn our brands a disproportionate share of popular culture and where we invest we want to dominate the conversation. Crucial to this is creating contagious content that spreads if consumers share our content, we know we are doing something right.

While we continue to believe in traditional mediums such as TV, we can also reimagine how consumers will engage with this content. Our interactive TV gaming app ‘Chok! Chok! Chok!’ from Hong Kong is a brilliant example of this and demonstrates our increasing focus on mobile.

We also believe our content should be conceived by fans, as we strive to create content that redefines our own ‘Liquid and Linked’ marketing agenda. The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, which launched here this summer, did this perfectly - it was bold, brave and caught the imagination of people worldwide. With the right people believing in the right brands, I believe anything is possible. Marketing at Coca-Cola must be a beacon for excellence in everything we do.

Jonathan Mildenhall is Coke’s vice-president of global advertising strategy and content excellence