Litmus: Branded Manufacturing


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Get in the Game: Are Branded Manufacturers Missing the Mark Online?

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Litmus: Branded Manufacturing

  1. 1. LITMUS Get in the Game: Are Branded Manufacturers Missing the Mark Online? Methodology Are you O.P.E.N., or are you dangerously closed? Our assessment helps guide brand planning and priorities for digital investments. An O.P.E.N. score is an evaluation of your brand’s digital experience through the eyes of your target segments. Our team of Resource Interactive researchers scored 15 sites within three umbrella categories—major appliances, consumer electronics and outdoor products. Each auditor focused on a single category for their review, and was given a pre- determined scenario and task to complete across all sites they audited. For example, “You are a new home owner, shopping for a push mower and looking for product comparisons.” All sites were scored using a 1-5 point scale for each O.P.E.N. brand criteria— On-Demand, Personal, Engaging and Networked. Summary Most Branded Manufacturing sites need improvement in all O.P.E.N. criteria— Personal and Networked in particular. These are prime areas to invite and involve consumers in your brand. Areas where loyalty is built and testimonials are shared. Experiences that create dramatic points of differentiation. Clearly, important investment opportunities. Additionally, we noticed a lack of cohesiveness between channels. Across the brands we audited, there were no holistic consumer experiences—no connection between purchasing a product and purchase support. In these instances the brand’s internal silos become awkwardly visible. On-Demand Many consumers come to branded manufacturer sites to research and find decision support. Overall, the On-Demand criteria provided the highest scores from our auditors, as manufacturers have improved their online product selection and elevated information about how to buy the product. ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. The Major Appliance category stood out by making products the hero—showing features and benefits as well as visualizing them in a range of room settings and colors. For an investment product, this is key. GE had the highest on-demand score within the major appliances sub-segment. The brand’s site was simple, clean, easy to navigate and made it easy to narrow down options. Of note was a comparison tool that allowed a consumer to compare up to four products including price—a rarity in our audit. Another on-demand feature was the ability to locate the closest dealer from within the product details section of the site. Last but not least, the visualization tool was best in class as it allowed the consumer to select a kitchen scene and manipulate the counters, paint, and flooring while interacting with the scene to learn more about the specific products. GE Enter a coption here Consumer Electronics brands wisely emphasize how-to-buy content, but with sites that are difficult to navigate and contain calls to action that don’t lead down intuitive paths, these brands are falling behind their manufacturing peers. A disappointing example: Sony’s Television Advisor tries to provide good decision support but misses the mark as the criteria isn’t user-friendly, and by leading with price they miss an opportunity to up-sell the consumer. ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Char-Broil had the highest score within the outdoor category as it did the simple things extremely well—load time was very quick, search produced fast, relevant results and express checkout was offered for grills. Most impressive, however, was the dealer locator that included a list of all products carried at each location. Additional kudos for the infraRED gas grill demo—educational and engaging decision support that we didn’t have to dig for. Char-Broil Enter a coption here Personal Creating a welcoming experience for brand fans is a way to activate consumer loyalty and let your enthusiasts spread the word. Our auditors found a big opportunity for more personal experiences. Scores were low across the board, with Major Appliance manufacturers at the bottom of the scoring. While loyalty programs were common—and often a way to bring both value and a personal touch to a site—we found that many had a difficult time communicating the value of their programs. One question consumers ask when it comes to loyalty programs is “What’s in it for me?” Another is “What do I have to do?” Panasonic’s loyalty program stood out by capturing a great balance—offering a lot of perceived value for only having to provide your email address. Free shipping alone might be enough incentive to sign up, but additional features such as the camera loaner program and gift suggestions were a nice touch. ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Consumers looking for a bit of fame need to go no further than Weber’s Weber Nation site. There, grill owners can submit their Weber grill story for a chance to be a part of a Weber TV commercial. You can’t get more notoriety than that. Weber Enter a coption here Customizable applications fell short, as with John Deere’s “Build Your Own John Deere” feature. What should be a fun and engaging process becomes mundane with a clunky user interface and complete lack of visuals. Engaging Like a shiny new button on the latest product model, branded manufacturing sites should get, hold and reward consumers’ attention. Our team of auditors found sporadic results in this area, with Sub-Zero and Char- Broil standing out from the pack with highly engaging experiences. Sub-Zero’s elegant product design and features are enhanced through its site design and layout. As a result, it received the highest Engaging score of any site we reviewed. Consumers have the opportunity to explore products through video, a product selector tool, visualizer tool and inspirational imagery. Visitors can also gather product tips, kitchen trends, related suggestions and news, as well as learn about events and other information to keep themselves connected to the brand. ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Toro Enter a coption here Despite having leading edge products, the Consumer Electronics sites we reviewed were severely lacking the eye candy and head-turning “wows” that we were anticipating. Televisions and home theater brands proved more confusing than inviting and lacked demos that featured products in use—a real disappointment. A few outdoor brands dialed up the fun factor with contests. Toro’s Smooth Operator campaign came to life with a unique video challenge. We continue to find Toro’s dual site strategy interesting—using to inform consumers about lawn while keeping focused on products. An atypical experience (and not one we would typically recommend) but engaging nonetheless. Networked The larger the purchase, the more likely consumers are to solicit advice from their networks before purchasing. Our auditors discovered, however, sites scored lowest within this O.P.E.N. category, signaling a significant opportunity for manufacturers. Among appliance brands, KitchenAid stood out with its high traffic discussion forums and use of social networks, although most brand conversations centered around the brand’s iconic mixer. ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. While shopping for televisions, our auditors applauded Samsung’s use of the BazaarVoice® Ask & Answer™ feature. Consumers can post a question and get feedback from the brand as well as members of the consumer community. With the exception of Weber Nation, outdoor brands scored surprisingly low, given the level of consumer enthusiasm often associated with the category. In fact, no brand in our audit is successfully leveraging Facebook’s 200 million users to invite dialogue, share ideas or get product feedback. We found it perplexing that of the brands we reviewed, those attempting to engage their consumer communities were doing so by creating their own community from scratch. This is an expensive option, especially since communities likely already exist and are ripe for brands to join. Get Started Before you plan the future of your brand’s digital experience, it’s important to know just where your opportunities are. The Resource Interactive O.P.E.N. assessment can help identify gaps in your current online experience and start a dialogue with your customers to determine where they are already talking about your brand online. For more information about getting an O.P.E.N. assessment for your company and your competitors, contact Gail Sech at ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. OUTDOOR LARGE APPLIANCES ELECTRONICS RE D TO -D L C VI ER L ET AI I Z O H RO M NI RO EE SH G O SU LPO D A SO EN TO UN SA SO CA JO -B IB O.P.E.N. Assessment CH R KI G H N E Y AR S A IR N EB TC N B N B KI H CU E LG PA W W G ON-DEMAND Efficiency Ease Control Findability Instantaneousness On-Demand Experience Score PERSONAL Acknowledgement Dialogue Customization Privilege Popularity Personal Experience Score ENGAGING Participation Belonging Immersion Entertainment Inspiration Engaging Experience Score NETWORKED Self-Expression Ego-Gratification Portability Community Meaningful Change Networked Experience Score O.P.E.N. EXPERIENCE SCORE EXCELLENT GOOD POOR VERY GOOD FAIR NONEXISTENT * For further explanation on the scoring used in the O.P.E.N. Assessment, email Resource Interactive at ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Fueled by the RI:LAB The RI:Lab is the R&D arm of Resource Interactive. The Lab offers an innovation mindset to make the future relevant to the here and now for our clients and their teams. It isolates the trends swings and technological shifts that matter, and finds at their intersection new, bold opportunities for consumer engagement and competitive advantage, while providing consumer insights driven by research and experience. About Resource Interactive Resource Interactive is one of the nation’s preeminent digital marketing agencies, helping Fortune 500 companies thrive in the evolving internet economy with award-winning digital strategy, creative and technology solutions. Known for its revolutionizing consumer insights, leading edge interactive design and technological innovation, Resource Interactive is ranked among the top ten independent interactive agencies in the nation. Unique in the industry as female-founded, owned and operated, Resource Interactive has grown over its 28-year history from its first marketing relationship with Apple to ongoing partnerships with clients such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett- Packard, The Coca-Cola Company, Victoria’s Secret, Sherwin-Williams and L.L. Bean, among others. For more information, visit 343 North Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 ph 614 621 2888 ph 800 550 5815 fx 614 621 2873 FOR MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL: ©2009 Resource Interactive. All rights reserved.