Sony Website Consultation Aaron Abbott

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Sony Website Consultation Aaron Abbott

  1. 1. Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 1 Running Head: SONY WEB SITE CONSULTING PLAN Web site Consulting Plan for the Sony Corporation Aaron M. Abbott www.BrandLessBox.com
  2. 2. Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 2 Abstract 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,
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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 Corporation easily. 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
  6. 6. 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. Keywords/phrases   Average  number  of   Cost   searches  at  $.25   Top  camcorders   14,800   $3700   New  LCD  televisions   2,900   $725    
  7. 7. Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 7 The  latest  electronics   320   $80   Ultimate  home  theater  system   1,200    $300   Leading  video  game   180    $45   PSP  game   1800   $450   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,
  8. 8. 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 elements and JavaScript navigation implemented into the existing consumers site. This is 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
  9. 9. 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 eloquently write. 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
  10. 10. 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. ` Links 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
  11. 11. 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. Conclusion 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.
  12. 12. Aaron Abbott—www.BrandLessBox.com 12 References Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://www.facebook.co m/Sony?ref=search&sid=1676255965.3387085762..1 Google Keyword Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2010 from https://adwords.google.c om/select/KeywordToolExternal 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 hecker.info/check_page_rank.php 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

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