A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

January 8, 2008

The History, Boys

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 5:42 pm

history-boys.jpg

The brief for the first assignment was to take a critical look back over events that had had an impact on our particular areas. My assignment took the form of a really dodgy website (first lesson learnt, leave it to the professionals) which can be found here if you can’t sleep www.apairofrubyslippers.moonfruit.com and if your insomnia is really terrible, the blog posts below from October 2006 till January cover the period. But if your issues are not of a soporific nature, I will outline the major points below.

I chose to look at corporate websites as I was aware that we needed a new one and saw this as a great opportunity to learn from what had gone before. A few golden “rules” for creating a new site started to become obvious from the experiences of the others, they were:

  • Ownership for a corporate site belongs with the External Communications Team and not with IS, Marketing or any others. It should be an integral element of a corporate comms strategy.
  • The site needs a high level sponsor to succeed.
  • Internal procedures need to be in place to ensure the content is updated and remains compelling – a shiny new site will soon look crap without this.
  • Use the corporate site to present the company’s side of issues – but do so in a sensitive manner employing the usual “rules” of communication. It is seen as worse not to engage in debate about yourself these days rather than to take a sensible approach to adding your side.
  • Tackle pressing questions such as the relationship between brand owner and franchise and the US and GB and make a decision about how to present oneself and then stick with it. Currently this is not something that has been bottomed out at Munchkin land
  • Content is still king, do not let design and functionality overshadow it.
  • Beware of the implications of using a CMS – imparting a rigid structure to the site

This unit was useful, it certainly drew out some salient points, which although could have been guessed at, came with solid experience from similar companies. As a business Munchkin Land has made some progress since I wrote this project. The eBusiness Team is no more and after some discussion, the internet and intranet managers’ roles are now within the Public Affairs and Communications team as recommended above. This in turn should help affect the necessary changes to the internal procedures to ensure a new site remains fresh and compelling. We also have budget approval for the new corporate site, gained mainly as we have a high level sponsor in the form of the VP for Public Affairs and Communications, perfect, well getting there.

We have made great progress this year in using the internet to publish our side of issues in the media such as environmental concerns – see www.cokecorporateresponsibility.co.uk . Whilst this took a site of its own, it is the intention to integrate with the new corporate site. I jumped for joy when we got agreement not to publish at all on paper next year (it was a dual effort this year) but then was dismayed to hear it will be on paper and the web again the following year. I have not yet had time to investigate why but will see if that make sense or not. Think of the trees we will save in the meantime and maybe even hug one.

As to the final few points, the way we present ourselves to the outside world has still not been tied down, but we have agreed to differ from the States (with their blessing and involvement) which is a breakthrough and at least now the conversations around this have been started. The point about content will be held in mind when the site is created and the point about the CMS is being taken into consideration and is helping us inform our choice of application.

I needed just one new pair of boots to see me through this first assignment and they weren’t expensive ones.

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1 Comment »

  1. interesting point about shiny new site looking crap if processes not in place to guarantee fresh content, as you know, a favourite dog-saying of mine is that you “can’t polish a turd” (except apparently if it is calcified), have you got the public affairs and comms teams to understand and own these processes as well as agree to be the high level accountable body for the new site(s)? I see many processes, flow charts, quality systems that are not followed as no one has ever quite taken responsibility for them and the processes are often seen as unnecessary or over bureaucratic vehicles to get things done

    sounds like much of what you wished for has come true and I wonder how much of that is as a direct or indirect (energy follows attention) of your efforts?

    don’t really understand the point about CMS, sorry

    Comment by toto — January 10, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Reply


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