Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 1
Running Head: SONY WEB SITE CONSULTING PLAN
Web site Consulting Plan for the Sony Corporation
Aaron M. Abbott
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 2
Sony is an international technology conglomerate with a brand that represents
innovation in consumer electronics, next-generation technology, and technology that
makes life better. Since the formation of the company in 1947, Sony has become a
household name. Whether you use their televisions, computers, professional recording
microphones, mobile smart phones, and so on, Sony has touched all of our lives in one
way or another. Taking these very thoughts and emotions, when we turn to Sony’s Web
site—or more appropriately, Web site’s—we experience a disconnect from the fusion of
technology their products represent. Having three sites makes users and visitors learn
how to navigate each site to find what they need. A brand relies on what the consumers
ultimately feel and say when they think and talk about the brand. If Sony were to
approach the core architecture of their Web site’s, creating one site that serves all
personas; then Sony will be presenting itself as a true Web 2.0 brand and would create a
site that is both user and search engine friendly.
Goal of this Analysis
The goal of this analysis is to present an International conglomerate, with a plan
of action that will unify the brand Online with the attributes and benefits of who they are
Offline. Focusing on the existing architecture of the Web site’s will allow us to look into
how Sony can unify itself via the Web. Creating a platform that will allow all users to
learn about Sony technology, solutions, and services. Sony must lead the way for
companies of this nature and thrust forward into the realms of Social Media and take
advantage of certain aspects of Search Engine Marketing and Optimization. By doing so,
Sony will experience better organic search engine rankings, increased PageRank values,
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 3
lower pay-per-click (PPC) ad rates, and other related advantages for being a more
optimized and usable Web site.
Domain Name Considerations
The existing corporate Web site is www.Sony.net. This further branches out into a
number of different Web sites country by country. Then there is www.Sony.com, which
also branches out to multi-lingual sites based on specific countries around the world.
While www.Sony.net is the corporate site, and www.Sony.com is the product site for
consumers, it makes sense to unite these sites and allow all Sony personas to come to the
same Sony site, which will provide clear scent trails to their respective conversion funnel.
The separation of the corporate message from the consumer voice is being healed as the
Internet evolves. Consumers now affect the brand, and a brand that responds to the
consumer wins. Just look at the success of Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. Each listen to
what their users want and need, and each give them clear and easy to use solutions that
surpass expectations. Sony has been doing this for years with its products. And by
creating a unified www.SonyGlobal.com, a true International brand comes to life on the
Web. In fact, ww.Sony.com utilizes Sony Global in the title Meta tag (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Meta data use of Sony Global at www.sony.com
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 4
Competition and their Web sites
Some of the main competition for Sony includes Sanyo, Samsung, and Panasonic.
Panasonic and Sony share similar site architecture. They have too many sites, with
different layouts and navigation. More than likely this stems from years of aggregation of
information and content development and the need to present everything in clear ways
between investors, consumers, and employees. The old school thought is the investors
need to see one thing, while the consumers need to see another. However, new
developments of Social Media and Internet technologies means companies need to
rethink, and recreate. Sanyo does a decent job, but Samsung does the best job in stepping
in the direction of effective site architecture (Figure 2). Samsung’s presentation of
Figure 2. Samsung’s Web site.
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 5
information and access to content, projects the brand to all countries with the same
messaging, accessibility, and structure. This creates unification, and presents the visitor
with a feeling like they are stepping into the gates of the kingdom, rather than sitting in a
satellite office in some city somewhere they are unsure of. Sony needs to consider how
the different sites affects those users who are interested in learning about the Corporation
before they spend $5,000.00 dollars of their hard earned money on a television. Internet
users want access to information and the current architecture does not allow the Sony
community to interact with each other, let alone discover the many faces of the Sony
Paid and Organic Keyword Campaign Insights
While it is invaluable to own the top placements for both organic and paid-search
campaigns, Sony, like its competitors is in a position that goes beyond that of needing to
be top bidder for LCD, MP3 player, etc. Sony has an international distribution system
that incorporates local and global companies that sell the products for Sony in most cases.
Sony can rely on its distribution channel to sell its products for them with their reseller’s
own PPC campaigns. Sony’s campaigns should focus on shaping the Sony brand in the
eyes of the consumer. Of course, in the Online Sony store, pages will be optimized for
paid and organic search, but this need not be the focus of Sony—rather, branding and
shaping perception is key for the Corporation. If the existing distribution network were
non-existent, then this would not be an option.
It makes sense to focus on organic efforts that revolve around the brand identity.
Most consumers know the Sony brand and what products are associated with it. In many
cases the products become a brand themselves, as in the case of the PlayStation. In either
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 6
case, Sony must consider this and the implications it has on how people find their site or
sites that sell their products. Figure 4 shows the high volume search for Sony products.
Figure 4. Sony search stats via Google KeyWord Tool.
Sony needs to use this information to present this type of organic content to the
consumers. This will lead to much cheaper paid campaigns, especially with the support
of such high search volume. Paid search will deal more with these specific products (sub-
brands) and will drive qualified leads as long as Sony does an excellent job of
determining which keywords will convert best as related to the stage of the purchase
cycle the consumer is in. While terms related to Sony are $1.00 and higher, other terms
that relate to the products can be much cheaper and still lead to the conversion (Table 1).
Table 1. Keyword options for cheaper PPC spending.
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 7
Focusing efforts on keywords directly related to the brand, as well as to those
related to broad searches will generate qualified leads. With a company such as Sony,
reinforcement of the brand is always a successful conversion. Likelihood is, the consumer
will be back, either Online or Offline to purchase what they need even if they don’t
purchase right then and there. Sony needs not worry about being a sales site. Rather, it
must create the Sony experience through the Web. Spyfu.com shows a great example of
how this is a plausible approach already employed by Sony. Spyfu.com reports zero
dollars of spending on pay-per-click ads for the corporate site www.Sony.net, while
www.SonyStyle.com (the consumer store) has daily ad spending of $40,000.00 dollars in
a single day. Examining the competition with SpyFu.com gives great insights into how
each conglomerate is spending their funding.
The Web site with the most Web 2.0 friendly architecture, Samsung is most
effectively building its site with the brand in mind, and supporting pay-per-click
strategies that will bring the most diversified and qualified traffic to their site. By
merging the sites, Sony can guarantee that people who come to the site are serious about
Sony. With only one site to worry about, you can do a lot more with effective
campaigning. Sony, with the current multi-site architecture spends tremendous amounts
in the consumer realm of PPC ads, and none in the corporate realm. By joining the two,
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 8
and effectively adjusting cost to suit, creating a brand with a steadfast hub to call home,
Sony can project its prominence to all personas equally and effectively. Providing easy to
use navigation will facilitate each site user through their relative conversion funnel
relating to the keyword that brought them to the site.
There is effective use of keywords through the existing pages in relation to page
content. This needs to continue in the development of the unified site architecture. Each
page will be optimized for organic and paid placement campaigns concurrently as to
maximize exposure. Although Meta tags are used effectively, there is a lot of Flash
a challenge for search engines, and for consumers in some instances. A Web 2.0 centric
Web site will allow the Sony site to be accessed easier, and used as planned. Projecting
its brand in one light, just as Apple and Amazon. Breaking the branding up into separate
sites that link to each other, and share no common navigation or design architecture, leads
to confused consumers, investors, and employees. By effectively planning for keyword
optimizations and planning navigation from such, Sony can ensure a successful user
experience. The effective user keywords will lead the persona to the right pages if the
site architecture is search engine and user friendly.
Social Media and Search Engine Marketing
Sony is a pioneer in technology and does a wonderful job of showing this through
the existing sites. However, there is a lack of interactivity on the part of the user. No
matter the persona, whether a product buyer, or a researching consumer, there needs to be
that projection of being the leader in technology, period. The experience of the Web site
alone could be enough to win over any consumer who is sitting on the fence from
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 9
choosing Sony or its competitor. Instead of using corporate copy to say these products are
the best, think of how much more powerful it would be to have Twitter Tweets or
featured blog posts from users, on the home page of www.SonyGlobal.com. People trust
what other people are saying before believing what the corporate copywriter will so
Being a leader in technology, you need to lead the Industry on the Web too. After
all, your consumers are all technophiles who are more than likely very adept users of the
Internet. If they were given a unique experience that made them feel as if they were really
experiencing Sony, then you would be pushing the bar. This is where unifying the Web
site will take you. Allow all the reach of social platforms to work for your site.
Everything is currently disjointed and everything takes you in different directions. You
cannot find the Sony Blog from www.Sony.com or www.Sony.net. Rather it is in the
footer navigation of www.SonyStyle.com. Then when you leave the Blog you are taken
back to the www.Sony.com page. All of which have different navigation and structure.
The Blog, and other Social Media are extremely valuable for consumer feedback, word-
of-mouth brand verification, as well as provides a valuable linking structure that will feed
PageRank and drive traffic. Build these features in as main components of the site and
invite your consumers into the experience.
While Sony does have a working Blog, as stated, it also has frequented Facebook
and Twitter pages. While there are links to the Facebook and Twitter pages on the bottom
right quadrant, below the fold, of www.Sony.com, these links are nowhere else to be
found. It goes for the blog link too. The new site architecture needs to make this content
as important, if not more important than the corporate and product information that are
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 10
currently the bulk of the sites. One site, with clear paths to corporate information, to
product information, to consumer information, and so on would be much more effective
in supporting the need for universal global branding, that drives international sales
through different cultures. Instead of tearing the site apart country by country, bring each
country together with the inclusion of Social Media and translation tools into the site.
Create internal blogs that users and fans access and create. Implementing these social
tools will create a dynamic site that will give the users of Sony products more reasons to
come back to the site, to talk about the site, and to buy again and again. `
The successful implementation of social media tools into the architecture will in
and of itself lead to more inbound linking to the Sony site. By incorporating these Web
2.0 tools into the site, Sony is going to have even more fresh content for the search
engines and Web site users to consume. Having blog posts, and Tweets, authored by
users of the site and consumers, will lead to numerous inbound links from people all over
the world who want to share their excitement of the new Sony Internet experience.
One existing problem is that the current split site structure actually causes
PageRank to suffer. With inbound links as a major factor of your PageRank value, these
split sites lead to splitting the Sony link pool. Google’s KeyWord Tool shows the current
inbound links to the three Sony sites to be 1,860, 5,280, and 3,550. Instead of having this
total of 10,690 inbound links to the proposed www.SonyGlobal.com Web site that
combines the existing three Sony sites, each of these sites are showing only their inbound
links. Nearly 11,000 inbound links has a lot more PageRank value than the links
separated. A higher PageRank can not only help your organic placement in search
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 11
engines, but can also lead to lower PPC campaign costs associated with Quality Score.
Your merchants and affiliates need to implement “<nofollow>” tags for the search engine
spiders to minimize unnecessary inbound links from link-heavy product pages. Links
from product user blogs, schools, non-profit organizations, and government agencies that
utilize Sony technologies should be the focus of these inbound links.
While it would seem that there would not be much that could be done to make the
Sony Web site better, the expeditious evolution of Web technologies and user
behaviors/experiences dictate how any company needs to present its Internet resources to
the consumer, and the marketplace. While Sony is an existing conglomerate, and an
international leader in technology, the existing structure of the Sony Web sites is more
symbolic of the way business has always been handled. The company creates the product
and the message, and the consumer either takes it or leaves it. With changes in business
strategies and the advancement of Internet technologies, the consumer now has the
leading voice. And the existing architecture does nothing to allow this voice to effectively
be heard. The goal of this analysis is to show how Sony can continue to innovative by
recreating its Internet platform in a way that will facilitate all that Web 2.0 technologies
and Social Media have to offer—ultimately shaping and reinforcing the Sony brand via
the Web. What Sony needs to do is realize that new business models are coming to life
everyday. Brands rely more on what people say, rather than what the company projects.
People want easy access to any bit of information they may desire. By utilizing these
principles, at the foundation, the new www.SonyGlobal.com site can make a stronger,
and even more prominent brand via the Internet.
Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 12
Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.facebook.co
Google Keyword Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from https://adwords.google.c
Google Search. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.google.com/
PageRank Checker. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.prc
Samsung. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.samsung.com
SpyFu.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.spyfu.com
Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.twitter.com/sony