Corporate Eye

Corporate Websites — Sightings From Around the World

More and more companies are coming to the conclusion that their corporate website is an important communication medium. A few innovative companies are using creative methods to communicate with various stakeholders. I took a tour of what’s out there and found some noteworthy examples.

First I will start with a simple yet effective technique. The example comes from a rapidly growing electronics retailer in mainland China. The company is China 3C Group. Their simple technique is to post customer pictures of their stores. Now why didn’t I think of that? This is a low cost but effective way of engaging customers.

Next, I found la Caixa a Spain based financial services company. They use music and changing visuals when displaying their online annual report. Some estimates indicate that only 3% of corporate websites use music effectively.

…effective use of sound (music, speech, sound effects) on a website:

  • ‘humanises’ the product, brand or organisation by increasing the visitor’s emotional engagement with the site
  • ensures visitors spend longer on a page than they would if it had no audio elements
  • converts convergent users (looking for specific information) to divergent users (willing to explore other areas of the site).

OK, you might not like the music so the company gives you the option to turn it off. la Caixa also has a good Economic Research section that offers visitors lots of useful information.

Here is a site with a exceptional use of video and audio (though not a corporate site). Go to Cunard’s Queen Victoria site and get a virtual tour of the ship.

You will get a great tour of what your cruise will look like. There is also a bridge webcam, but it can be a bit boring when the ship is out on calm seas.

Finally, Procter & Gamble displays an innovative timeline that traces the evolution of their technology and products.

If you roll over the blue circles you get a brief explanation of how the integration of technologies resulted in new products. Very nice.

When commercial websites first appeared they were primarily both sources of textual information and art forms. Now because of technological advancements and better operational practices they have the ability to inform, motivate, influence and still provide enjoyment as art forms. Expect the future to bring more exciting developments.

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Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business (with distinction). He has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning. Ed has over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. He is co-author of the book "Simple Stories for Leadership Insight," published by University Press of America.