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Unravelling Online Strategy

Thursday, November 24, 2011
Grant Whiteside

We here at Ambergreen know that the key to succeeding in the online arena is more than just having a great website or ranking for certain key terms – search doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and now more than ever, online strategy includes lots of different threads coming together to create a coherent online message.

We’re lucky to have a team of staff who all specialise in different areas, which, when brought together, knit together to create an online tapestry which incorporates a brand message, their voice and personality, their key propositions and comfortably wraps around their audience. Here, we unravel some aspects of online strategy – and members of our team outline someone who’s doing a certain aspect of online particularly well.

Chrystal – Account Director: The Brand Message of Bobbi Brown

The Bobbi Brown belief of ‘enhancing unique beauty with straightforward easy to use cosmetics’ is unequivocally communicated throughout the website.
Videos, images, words and tone are all highly representative and fitting of the educated, busy, modern day woman who Bobbi is trying to connect with.

Product descriptions are straightforward – enlightening the user as to what it is and what it will do for them, without use of jargon or being over ‘salesy’. Whilst the additional tips / shade / colour guide and review links help empower the user to make an informed decision.

Although not a huge amount of content (certainly opportunity for more!) in the ‘learn’ section, the articles that are available enhances user engagement offering top tips, advice and uncomplicated instructions which users can not only relate to but refer to again and again.
Offline and online branding is perfectly aligned which further helps to reinforce brand awareness and recognition.

Carley – Social Media Specialist: The Social Media Efforts of Mr & Mrs Smith ( Facebook and Twitter)

Mr & Mrs Smith are a boutique hotel brand, offering stays in a number of luxury hotels and houses around the world. Their social media efforts are outstanding; with a Facebook page with 39,000 Fans, a Twitter profile with over 4,500 followers, a regularly updated blog and frequent competitions based in social media.

These channels are successful because they are well planned and consistent. Tweets include relevant hashtags and give information about promotions, useful information and news – whilst also always responding quickly to any questions or praise. The Facebook profile has a carefully designed and thoughtful Welcome tab landing page, which offers links to all social media channels as well as to sections of the Mr & Mrs Smith site. Frequent competitions and offers entice users to return to the page regularly.

The Mr & Mrs Smith social media channels work well because they understand their audience and work to communicate with them effectively; both good and poor comments are well responded to and the brand voice comes across in all activity.

Susan – Web Designer: The website design of Hunters Wine website

The Hunter’s Wine Shop is beautifully designed, with a clean grid-based layout and subtle and muted colour scheme that suggests quality and refinement, whilst still feeling modern. The sparing use of the yellow accent colour helps prevent the site from appearing dull and the links to other areas of the Hunter’s ‘world’ top and bottom of the page are clear without being obtrusive.

This minimalist, typography-based approach puts the product forefront (as it should be) showing that attention to detail in design does not always equal unnecessary whistles and bells. It also makes the site quick to load, accessible and user-friendly. The code is lightweight and the site in general feels tidy and well organised. Try clicking on the filter tags to see some lovely use of Javascript too…

Ian – Head of Search: The user experience of the Apple website

I love the Apple website; I don’t own an iPod, but I think that the site ticks all the boxes from a user experience point of view. The site has a clean look that has been copied by many others; it delivers its information well and manages to segment its offerings on the website seamlessly. The site showcases its products through great imagery and calls to action. The only downside of the site, I would say, is that you have to download QuickTime to view videos. Apart from that it’s a great website all in all.

Grant Whiteside
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