What a difference a year makes. Since June 2000, when BrandNet produced its first report on packaged goods, perceptions of the Internet’s potential have dramatically changed.
For brands that have been learning with the media, activity has been positive. Their websites portray a very different picture to the static and ineffective sites consumers were encountering last summer.
New at number one
Coca-Cola has mastered interactive relations with its consumers. Its Coke Auction, Coke Rush and music4u promotions have led it to greater understanding of its online and offline audience. Coke Auction was a huge success in terms of immediate sales uplift. The brand continues to build its relationship with consumers through clarity, consistency and leadership in brand experiences. These not only enhance short-term loyalty but also increase long-term brand equity and value.
Coke markets itself as central to a “fun” life and now delivers access to these “good times” via the Net. It understands the Web’s power in bringing its brand alive and integrating above and below the line.
Still in the top ten
The top ten brands have begun to anticipate what will happen online in the next three to five years. Increasing emphasis on data capture is leading to more personalised content, where future products can be promoted to individuals based on the improved knowledge of consumers’ tastes, age, likes and dislikes.
Guinness is changing its Web proposition more frequently than its offline communication. This creates interest in the brand and builds consumers’ desire to become engaged with the brand, rather than simply drink it. Guinness is leading the way in the “think global, act local” approach: its online global home, guinness.com, leads to area-specific sites that each communicate their own market’s interpretation of the brand proposition.
Like Guinness and Coke, Persil and Pampers are also breaking new ground, constantly improving their online proposition. They have the ability to hold consumer attention and create the desire to go back for “infotainment” on a regular basis.
Lucozade has replaced its entire site with the Larazade game centre. This is the most visible example of all the brands surveyed in carrying tactical campaigns through to packaging and website dominance.
Tango also has good links to online promotions if you can find the right packs. It is giving away free mobile call time in return for entering the right codes from the packs.
Those brands seemingly on their second generation of development now tend to offer the right mix between consumer information and creating a brand experience.
Those sites that have improved their propositions in the past six months include Cussons Imperial Leather, Flora, Hovis, Huggies, Kit Kat, Mller and Pedigree. Many of these brands have more closely aligned their online proposition with their overall brand proposition.
Brands that have not improved or changed their sites include DanePak, Famous Grouse, Heineken, Heinz, Horlicks, J&J, Kellogg’s, Lurpak, Marmite, Pampers and Pringles.
Brands that can no longer be found include Bisto, Cadbury’s Roses, Carling, Dettol and Robinsons. Many of these now point to the parent company website, but contain little or no product-specific information.
The best of the brands that now have a Web presence but did not in the last survey is Bold 2in1. This seems to underline Unilever’s increasing Web dominance compared with its peers. It is providing good synergy between both traditional and new media. Bold2in1.co.UK, like other Unilever sites, provides everything you would expect of a brand in this category. The company has learned much from the Persil site – so much so the Bold site is not very well differentiated, in content terms, from Persil.
The Hovis website, rankhovis.co.UK, is a well branded and visually appealing site that reflects the new TV campaign and packaging convincingly. But the site is hard to find and, despite a well thought-out and consistent navigation bar, is surprisingly frustrating to use. The cartoons and site links are both unreliable. Only time and prolonged marketing investment will tell if the modern family become as iconic as the Ridley Scott shot epic of the lad on his push bike on t’cobbles in Northernshire.
Best remix and biggest omission
The Stella Artois site, stella-artois.co.UK, is the most improved site. It provides a more complete digital articulation of the brand and does not just support its onscreen movie sponsorship associations, as it did previously. The site is really well executed for a first-generation version. The company has learnt from stellascreen.com and created a well-designed site with good content and links to relevant information.
Carling, on the other hand, has no online presence. Its only site was fa-carling.com, which, of course, no longer exists.
The websites included in the e-leagues have been evaluated by BrandNet using the iSETs tool-set. iSETs is designed to help understand how effectively a brand’s essence, equities and value are translated digitally on the Internet. To do this, iSETs measures five key factors in the assessment of a brand website and allocates scores against each area:
Location/address For this, iSETs examines how easy the site is to find. For example, is the address logical? Will the brand’s consumers be able to find the website easily? Is the address given on the product packaging, in ads and by the brand customer care line? Is it known by the top search engines?
Navigation Looking at the structure and layout. Can you move around the site easily and quickly? Are there long download times? Does it crash your computer? Are there links that take you off the main site?
Content Analysing site branding design and balance. Is it consistent with the brand’s offline, above and below the line marketing message? Does it provide the right balance between information, entertainment and interaction?
Proposition This identifies brand strategy alignment. Does it look and “feel” like the brand, right through to typeface and colours? Are you always aware of the brand when surfing its website?
Effectiveness Levels of pro-active communication. Are there good reasons to visit the site? Is it interactive, rather than simply a showcase for the latest ad campaign?
To date, Marketing Week and BrandNet have used iSETs to evaluate over 200 websites, including the Top UK Brands, The SuperBrands, Top Retailers and Global Brands.
Pos Brand SCORE WebSite Comment 1 Coca-Cola 84.2 www.coca-cola.co.UK Tokens/ringpulls can be collected to receive music. Truly a community online 2 Persil 83.6 www.persil.co.UK Very sharp, easy to use and efficient. Very well explained data capture 3 Guinness 82.4 www.guinness.com Users can join the mailing list, enter competitions, play games etc 4 Famous Grouse 81.5 www.grouse.co.UK Let down by shop not working but otherwise great site; wonderful games 5 Ribena 77.8 www.ribena.co.UK Brilliant interaction with brand for kids. Full product range list and ad archive 6 Nescaf 73.3 www.nescafe.co.UK Full details of charity support and 80 student coffee bars around the UK 7 Pedigree 69.3 www.pedigree.com New site with plenty of content and product information 8 Tango 66.3 www.tango.co.UK Great interactive site. Flash games can be downloaded and played offline 9 Huggies 66.3 www.huggiesclub-UK.com Plenty of content and branding. Excellent data submission, news and info 10 Heineken 65.6 www.heineken.com Well branded and good use of the media, but some broken links 11 Tate & Lyle 63.1 www.tateandlyle.co.UK Magazine-style advice site with relevant, engaging content and games 12 Pampers 62.7 www.pampers.com Baby care info for parents is improving. Good product details 13 Johnson & Johnson 62.3 www.yourbaby.com Improving info for parents. Many baby care links and good use of product details 14 Andrex 61.4 www.andrexpuppy.co.UK Great leverage of an old favourite. Collect puppy tokens by recommending site 15 Flora 60.5 www.floraproactiv.co.UK Detailed healthy eating and dieting info. Excellent links to health groups 16 Gillette 59.4 www.gillette.com Design and functionality updated. New interactive panel on front page 17 Kleenex toilet tissue 58.9 www.kleenex.com Extensive content but some confusing navigation. Branding throughout 18 Walkers 58.4 www.walkers.co.UK Section on football sponsorship and Pokmon Tazo promotion is good 19 Mller yogurt 58.3 www.muller.co.UK Opens with user survey. Some content seems irrelevant to Mller proposition 20 Smirnoff 58.1 www.smirnoff.co.UK No major changes apart from launch of Smirnoff Ice site (not included in scoring) 21 Bold 57.2 www.bold2in1.co.UK Good competitions, interesting environmental content and very helpful 22 Stella Artois 56.6 www.stella-artois.co.UK Much improved look and feel. Best improved site so far 23 Mr Kipling 56.1 www.mrkipling.co.UK Logo distorted and poor ‘History’ section. Info on Comic Relief campaign 24 Kellogg’s 55.1 www.kelloggs.co.UK Serves as Kellogg’s portal but fails to communicate proposition 25 Birds Eye Fishfingers 54.7 www.captainbirdseye.co.UK Good Flash games for kids but no other reason to visit 26 Hovis 54.4 www.rankhovis.co.UK New micro-site launched this week to coincide with brand positioning 27 Heinz 54.2 www.heinz.co.UK No major changes, but new colours and branding in certain areas 28 Ovaltine 54.0 www.ovaltinepower.co.UK Youth-focused, games-based site with plenty of fun content 29 Horlicks 53.9 www.horlicks.co.UK No major changes 30 Tampax 53.4 www.tampax.com Very ‘Lara-esque’. TV ad link fails and wallpaper downloads without prompt 31 Pepsi 53.4 www.pepsi.co.UK Under construction but maintains branding with music proposition 32 Dairy Milk 52.6 www.dairymilk.co.UK Monthly prize draw for chocolate. Child-oriented 33 Kit Kat 52.0 www.kitkat.co.UK Well branded. No links to Nestl. Some good content but lacks stickiness 34 Cussons Imperial Leather 50.5 www.releasethelather.co.UK Best new web address. Good fun content. Interface/product info could be better 35 Felix Cat Food 49.6 www.catslikefelix.co.UK The ‘Felix’ proposition unchanged. Whole site is based around a virtual cat 36 Danish Bacon 48.8 www.danepak.co.UK No major changes 37 PG Tips 48.7 www.brookebond.co.UK Banner outlines direct sales. Shop contains no non-product branded goods 38 Always 48.4 www.always.com Mostly unchanged. US-focused site with plenty of useful info, but a bit repetitive 39 Lurpak 47.8 www.lurpak.com No major changes since last report 40 McCain Frozen Foods 47.7 www.mccain.com Good product info. Minimal brand history. Well branded but no stickiness 41 Whiskas 47.5 www.whiskas.co.UK Free Whiskas Life care pack available. Registration is clumsy. Good content 42 Spam 47.4 www.spam-UK.com No major changes 43 Budweiser 47.2 www.budweiser.com Same as past six months. Splash page from a car number plate company 44 Tetley Tea 47.2 www.tetley.com No major changes since last report, when consumer offering was vastly improved 45 Lucozade 47.1 www.lucozade.co.UK Brand proposition is ‘Lara-zade’. Good, synergistic approach with marketing 46 Pringles 47.1 www.pringles.com US focused. Good links to music, news and events and other brand sites 47 Colgate 46.5 www.colgate.com US focused. Must register to enter. Link to ‘Bright Smiles, Bright Future’ site 48 Oxo 46.4 www.oxo.co.UK Unchanged. Nice use of Flash, in keeping with branding, but lacks stickiness 49 Durex 43.3 www.durex.com Navigation confusing. Good content enforces authority. Free sample offer ended 50 Bovril 37.8 www.bovril.com Bovril TV online channel includes vox pops. Good use of campaign but out of date