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swansea city Website Analysis

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Applied the learnings about the 5 communication “buckets” and assess the ability of a sports league Swansea City to effectively use their website as part of an integrated marketing communication plan. …

Applied the learnings about the 5 communication “buckets” and assess the ability of a sports league Swansea City to effectively use their website as part of an integrated marketing communication plan. Evaluated the website’s effectiveness and recommend what steps/changes are needed to make it more effective.


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  • 1. Website AssessmentGF 4508 A1 Global Marketing Communications – Fall 2012 Swansea City FC Group: Innovation Nation
  • 2. Contents About Swansea City ..............................................................................................................................................3 Target audience ....................................................................................................................................................3 Analyzing the 5 buckets ........................................................................................................................................3 Recommendations................................................................................................................................................5 Country Analysis - Vietnam ..................................................................................................................................6 Mobile Website ....................................................................................................................................................8 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................9 Exhibits .............................................................................................................................................................. 10 2
  • 3. About Swansea CityFounded in 1912, Swansea City is the only Welsh club that has successfully made it into the EnglishPremier League. After breaking into this prestigious league, Swansea managed to stay afloat finishing 10thout 20 teams ahead of traditionally bigger teams. Their attractive style of play given the lack of resourcesbrought them to the limelight. Currently they are placed 5th in the league after 4 matches in a 38 matchlong season. The team is managed by Michael Laudrup, a renowned player himself having won multipleleague titles in different countries.Target audienceThe two categories of audience that form Swansea City’s target are: 1. Current fans of Swansea City for whom the website can act as an informational vehicle and help facilitate the purchase of merchandise. A majority of their fans are Welsh men of all age groups. 2. Neutral soccer fans attracted by the attacking brand of football played by Swansea or by the quality of their merchandise.Analyzing the 5 buckets1. Category Need Based on our analysis, we conclude that the website does not create a Category Need for Swansea City FC. It lacks ease of access for people who log on to the site. The primary drop down bar, that has all the menu options, consumes excess space; most options are blank under most tabs (Exhibit 1). Some specific issues with the website are: Latest News: There are 5 different areas on the homepage that lead to the latest news (Exhibit 2). This adds to more clutter, confusion and lacks convenience. Worse, most of the information seems to be outdated. The player profiles are not updated and the statistics indicate that some players played zero games through the season approaching its 5th game. Videos: Videos are very important to showcase specific playing techniques and to celebrate victories. Their official YouTube channel is not embedded in the website. While trying to access the videos, the drop down is barely visible and the font size becomes remarkably smaller as compared to the other tabs. Newsletters: Signing up for newsletters is one of the quickest ways to establish a customer base and keep in touch with the customers. We signed up for the newsletters and while we received an immediate email, the newsletter was not personalized and it started off by talking about McDonalds and other irrelevant ads which hogged majority of the content. Memberships: While most websites offer free memberships for fans to login and customize their homepage, no login or membership benefits are available for any visitor- fan or first timer. The only membership available is to register for ‘SwansPlayer’ that plays most of its content for a paid subscription. This further discourages customers. Shopping: Shopping for brands and merchandise that are related to a sports brand create immense brand equity. Unfortunately, the shopping tab is difficult to find- it takes three clicks to reach the official swan club website which is surprisingly different in its color scheme (from black & white to white & gold). (Exhibit 3) o The link to the club shop is hidden away amidst a clutter of banners and large text. o The link to personalized gifts leads to another outsourced website that sells general personalized gifts. o Though they sell ladies apparel, there isn’t a size chart for women. 3
  • 4.  Stadium information: The homepage lacks a direct link that takes you to the stadium and directions. One needs to click thrice in three windows to finally reach the travel guide. Mobile: The mobile tab lectures/educates the fans on the ease of having mobile internet while there is no communication on the facilities they provide in their mobile website. We later found out that they don’t have an app as well. Ignorance of secondary target: There is nothing in the website that targets other demographics- no particular games/ cartoons/ fun zone/ wallpapers for kids or any gossip/news/fun zone for women fans.2. Brand Awareness Brand Awareness seems to be lacking in many aspects as our team found the whole website to be confusing and inconsistent. Logos: There seem to be two logos for Swansea. One of their brand and the other that celebrates 100 years of their legacy. The website majorly uses the generic logo but does not brand it well as the centenary logo is used on the jerseys, players or t shirts. Color consistency: The color consistency, as pointed out earlier, is lacking. From black & white to white & gold, Swansea seems to be swaying in color preferences, leaving us confused. News tab: To create brand awareness, you need to celebrate your players and their style. As pointed out earlier, there are five different news links on the main page- clicking on the link takes you to an interim link that does not even provide adequate information. An existing fan does not have the option to mail the content of a page with another. To share the content, a user has to have a mail client installed in his/her system. Overall, it fails to create a feeling of a community- the passion of being connected to a sports family.3. Brand Attitude Our analysis suggests a strong disconnect between the actual brand of their games as displayed on the field and the brand communicated through the website. It is clear that the club does not regard the website to be a key player in establishing its brand attitude. Overall, the website fails to provide any distinctive attitude to both- an ardent sports enthusiast and a non-enthusiast. Some thoughts regarding brand attitude are: Confusing: The presence of overpowering ads, oversized pop-ups and multiple links to access simple information lacks personal touch, thereby downplaying the importance of core information. Inconsistent: There is lack of consistency in terms of: o Uniform messaging - fonts, font colors and font styles on different pages. o Pictures are semi cropped or badly managed and aren’t compatible across browsers. o Fails to stay relevant - SwansPlayer, the online video player, is so heavily advertised that the need of the ‘player’ is overshadowed by the fact that it is a paid service. Clarity of focus: The purpose of the website and the intended relationship with the target audience lacks clarity of focus. o What is the primary reason for having the website? Do they want us to buy membership for the video player? Or they want to sell merchandise? Or they want the fans to know all the news in one tab? Or is the focus on their star players? o It seems a lot like a blog with cluttered information randomly posted. 4
  • 5. 4. Brand Purchase Intention One has no idea as to what can we buy and what is available for sale on the main website. Merchandise: As explained earlier, getting to the shopping tab is tedious. No information about discounts, coupons or offers is provided. No combination offers of buying tickets to get a free merchandize or vice versa is given as well. Tickets: As explained earlier, there is nothing in the website that makes us excited about purchasing tickets for a game or seasons. Overall, the website fails to take us to a purchase point or ticket point directly (Exhibit 4). Ads: The website seems overly focused on selling their ad-space. These ads are at times irrelevant (for example, Tesco) and confuse you more than creating any excitement.5. Brand Purchase Facilitation They lack a mobile application or a mobile communication platform. Evaluating other social media communication: o Facebook Page (Exhibit 5)  No extra tabs for videos exist and no pictures are used in communication  No monitoring/control of any third party ads or comments  Links are pasted directly rather than providing a short overview about them  The brand attitude stays consistent with the website - confused and unsure. o Twitter  The team owns a certified Twitter handle  2,481 tweets, 231 following, 30,825 followers as on 17-Sep-2012.  Stoke City FC, a rival team, have 50,000 followers though they don’t perform as well.RecommendationsIn order to simplify the experience of a fan and to communicate brand value consistently, our top threerecommendations for Swansea City FC’s website are:  Enhance the layout of the current website  Enhance the team shop website  Align Social Media tools with the website Enhance the layout of the current website: A team website should be easy to navigate and easy on the eye. Swansea’s website would look better if reformatted like the same team’s website on a popular football page like Sky Sports or Guardian. While flash objects are trendy, there is a possibility that links are lost amidst animation/images. o Remove existing cluttered tabs with large size links and add frames to help classify information into sections. o The size of the advertisements needs to be reduced to compact banners. o Linkages to the team shop to be added on the landing page in a prominent manner. o Adding basic statistics and graphs of top performers and team performance. o Adding videos of game highlights, training session etc on the home page.  Additional videos highlighting the style of attractive football they play. o Addition of a drop down with a list of next 5 matches which takes the user to a ticket purchase page as each match is selected. 5
  • 6.  Enhancing the team shop website: Currently the color scheme on the shopping site is not consistent with the color scheme of the team website. This is due to the celebration of the centenary which led to additional gold & white themed merchandize being offered. o The color schemes need to be made consistent by either using the same layout for both sections of the website or by adding gold & white color schemes to the team website. o The shopping page needs to add a feature to enroll and track members. This enables them to store a large database of contact details to which promotional offers can be sent directly. o Add links to promote offers on the main webpage and social media platforms to drive traffic. o A section needs to be added to feature fast selling items. o Women’s apparel needs a size guide which can be easily done. Align Social Media tools with the website: With the increasing advent of social media, fans are more likely to be reached on such forums rather than the team website. The club needs to invest in providing substantial information first on Facebook and then on Twitter. o Use consistent design schemes in alignment with the website. o Use to announce deals for team apparel. o Use quality pictures from matches, training or personal lives of players as opposed to the collection of links it contains today. o For Facebook, when providing links make sure that a small portion of the information is posted along with the update. o For Twitter, increase the frequency of tweets with relevant pictures or videos.Once these changes are implemented and there is better consistency in terms of the team colors and styleof play, Swansea can look towards other enhancements such as adding sections to:  Cater exclusively to the needs of a younger audience segment.  Introduce a fun section that contains trivia or flash games.  Conduct Q&A with the manager or a player on a periodic basis.Country Analysis - VietnamFor country comparison, we picked an Asian country with a reasonable population and the national sportbeing soccer, Vietnam. With just over 80 million people Swansea should look to establish online presencein this market.Every weekend, international soccer leagues are broadcasted live on the national TV, popular leaguesbeing the English Premier League. Given that Swansea City is currently 5th on the rankings, here is anopportunity to gain popularity in the second largest soccer following nation in Asia. Currently soccer fansseek information on the local online newspapers i.e. www.vnexpress.net and www.bongda.com.vn in theform of pictures, videos, statistics, news articles and game analysis. Betting in Vietnam is very commonand thus the demand for game analyses and score predictions. Swansea City has never gained a presencein top-of-the-mind brand awareness. Vietnamese Soccer fans tend to primarily watch video highlights andmatch analyses online and do not have an intention to purchase sports merchandise as e-commerce is notas developed and reliable. 6
  • 7. Category NeedThe current website does not satisfy a category need in Vietnam due to the obvious language barrier, highdata density and no correlation of interests and specific needs of Vietnamese fans. Due to the developinge-commerce situation in Vietnam, the importance of selling tickets online vanishes and Swansea City mustdirect the users towards their merchandise and gamification platforms.Recommendations:  Emphasize on visual communication such as more pictures and videos of the games and the players in particular, fostering a stronger team spirit with the new fans  Statistics, charts, trend analysis results and sport professionals’ opinions should be a significant part of their website.Brand AwarenessAs mentioned above, Swansea City is not a recognized team although they play the Premier League. Hence,they have to go the extra mile to create recognition and become a common word of mouth team withinVietnam.Recommendations:  Co-branding with celebrities such as Comedian Bao Quoc and Model/Singer Thuy Tien to help promote the brand online by having them use their fan following .  Target online Newspapers like the VnExpress and online sport magazines of Vietnam to be able to link back the information to the Swansea City homepage.Brand AttitudeSwansea City must emphasize their playing style which is similar to tiki-taka , as this is what makes themdifferent from any other “premier league “teams.Recommendations:  Showcase the style of playing by uploading a short video of the team and their passing techniques.Brand Purchase intentionCurrently due to the many layers that exist in the website, there is not much of an intention to purchaseanything from the online platform. A factor to note in this market is the abundant availability ofcounterfeit which will limit the attractiveness of purchasing online.Recommendations:  Contest for trivia questions and competitions giving the fans an opportunity to win free t-shirts, which will ensure that the visibility of the Swansea brand.  Create a collectible line of apparel, gifts etc of the various players building a motivation towards purchasing merchandise.Brand Purchase FacilitationThe key is to simplify the process to browse, select, and buy. Swansea needs to overcome the obstacle ofthe developing e-commerce situation in Vietnam and create a sustainable and trustworthy platform.Recommendations:  Include all apparel and clothing information as per local sizes to ensure that there is no opportunity for misinterpretation or misunderstanding.  Partner with reliable logistics partners such as FedEx, UPS and DHL who offer tracking services. 7
  • 8.  Charge the customer (cash on delivery) only when the delivery has been confirmed by the Logistics partner to ensure the fans can trust Swansea’s shopping platform.Mobile WebsiteCurrently Swansea City doesn’t have an exclusive mobile website (Exhibit 6). We can view the genericwebsite on mobile but since it takes many clicks to fetch any information, it becomes very difficult tonavigate and find the information needed. While having an exclusive mobile website can facilitate brandpurchase intention and brand purchase facilitation, unfortunately we don’t see any regular updates aboutspecific information that makes the mobile website a pleasant experience.Must Haves for the Mobile Website:  In order to generate more subscriptions of mobile users, the parent website should be compatible with multiple OS in mobile phones.  In order to provide live, updated information for fans with smart phones, minute by minute updates should be available on the website about current and upcoming matches.  Provide an application which pops up alerts regularly.  Provisions to follow their favorite players.In addition to the above required features, the team recommends the following actionable steps in orderto make the Mobile Website successful:  Time to bet! : To keep fans engaged with the mobile website, betting options should be provided. Statistics and odds should also be available to make the betting decision.  Shop on! : Merchandising offers can be shown on the mobile website, including sales, discounts, promotional offers- thereby, attracting fans to visit the website and make a final purchase.  SMS: For non-smart phone users, add a tab on their parent website wherein they can register their phone number and get text alerts. These messages may include: o Details / Alerts such as  Team line-ups before kick-off  Exclusive site breaking news  Score reports for the League  Exclusive post-match quotes o Ticket information: Details on ticket availability and their prices (a few days before each match) in order to create general sales from their box office.Additional Brand Awareness and Brand Attitude can be generated by enabling the following options in themobile website:  Facebook and Twitter options to share and re-tweet  Downloadable games to be played on the go, focusing on all age groups  Videos of top players  Analysts’ reports and forecastsSwansea can also generate additional revenue using its mobile website. They don’t have to look at thischannel as a cost intensive method. Some strategies include:  Subtle advertisements at the center or bottom of the page to generate revenue. 8
  • 9.  IPad version of the Swansea player at a weekly, monthly or annual cost. This must contain everything that is provided in the parent website ranging from latest news to most recent videos.ConclusionFor a club that is doing relatively well and plays the kind of football that would attract many neutral fans,Swansea City FC can do a much better job when it comes to online presence. Other smaller teams havetaken platforms like social media seriously and Swansea needs to do the same. Without overhauling thecontent, all they need to do at this point of time is to arrange it well and increase the ease of use. Startingwith these changes, improving the quality of the content on social media and by increasing the linkagesbetween different marketing channels will ensure that Swansea City FC would increase its popularity. 9
  • 10. ExhibitsExhibit 1: Lack of organization with pictures not visible on the landing page.Exhibit 2 : Cluttered information, advertisements and links 10
  • 11. Exhibit 3: Inconsistent color schemes on the shopping page 11
  • 12. Exhibit 4: Ticket purchase option lacks informationExhibit 5: Ineffective use of Facebook, only links are pasted onto postsExhibit 6: Lack of mobile platform 12

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