The title is borrowed from the traditional proclamation – ‘The King is dead. Long Live the King’. What is basically meant (and I am taking this from Wikipedia) is that in certain monarchies of France and England, the transfer of sovereignty occurred instantaneously upon the moment of death of the previous monarch. In this blog post, I am using it to highlight that how a stand alone non interactive website (basically 1.0) is dead and without fail, its time for websites powered by social media (Websites 2.0) to take over!!
It is very common to see companies scrambling to get their website up. In few cases, some basic essentials of website are missing, but in most the marketers have no clear agenda on why they are building one. It’s not too surprising to see websites being made because it is a standard launch activity to do. It is more like a job in the task list at the time of product launch. The brand manager gets it executed because it was expected out of him or her.
Few service sectors like airlines or banking are using sites to either generate more business or cut the customer servicing costs. So if nothing else, they are at least generating some value. But by using social media tools, they could heighten the positive customer experience on their site. Because there is absence of social media tools, the hits quickly dry out and then money get pumped into traditional media to boost website hits. Not only is this model financially viable in the long run but also it kills the basic principles on having a website.
The point here really is ‘Whether a website is creating value for the company more than just providing a digital presence.’
Let’s dwell a little deeper and attempt answering this question below.
Q) Why does anyone come to a corporate website?
1. To know more about the company – People would rather go to Wikipedia more often to either know more or check credibility of the company
2. To watch its advertisements – Wouldn’t they go to You Tube for that
3. How about buying its products – Really? How many Indian websites have secured e-commerce transaction facilities. At most, I have heard of few companies tying up with common third party e-commerce portals to sell their products online
6. To know the price – There are price comparison sites that provide you a feature to compare similar products or services and offer you cheaper options
7. To get recent news about the company – A reader would rather head to a company’s blog as it would be more up to date and also personal in nature
8. Because you just love their brands – Then you would rather become a fan – a feature so widely available on social networks like Facebook.
So again, really why would anyone visit a company’s website?
People aren’t visiting corporate websites because:
1. Companies make their websites as if they were brochures online. Standard stale information with pretty images or faces. Or more like hoardings or billboards which is completely one way and non interactive medium. Websites are Just meant as an announcement board.
2. Most corporate websites have stock images of nicely dressed young men and women either shaking hands or walking out of conference room. Honestly, hasn’t a picture of this already flashed in your mind by now. Yeah, they all appear the same – no unique identity
3. The websites are screaming with brand messages staring in your face about just how good the brand is in delivering its promise. As a potential customer, why would I believe any reviews about that brand on its own site
4. There is no place for people to create community or forum to interact and share their experiences about the product or service. There must be a platform where positive and negative views both are allowed and a potential customer is free to make that choice.
5. Every corporate wants to build a rosy picture rather than a correct picture. So the websites end up with images of men and women, people of different skin colours etc basically anything that connotes that you are an equal opportunity complier and believe in fair trade. This would be an ideal thing to do if actions of that company collaborated with the images.
So what can be done about it?
1. Host a blog: Gives user more recent news about the company and its products. Allows the user to comment and interact with the company
2. Build Communities: This will create value. Companies can build brand specific ocmmunities so that people who have bought that product can come and discuss more about it. Also companies can share tips and suggestions on its features or maintenance or anything of value to the consumer
3. Share positive and negative reviews: This will build up the credibility immensely for that brand. It won’t be surprising to find people calling it a honest brand buying it as they appreciate that brand value.
4. No authoritative tone: The voice and manner of communication needs to be informative, thought provoking, appealing and inviting to consumers.
There are several social media platforms that can be integrated with the website. It’s important to be clear with the objective before build a website. Till then save those precious advertising rupees – coz an economic slowdown could be right down the corner!!