Do you need brand subsites or a single comprehensive, easily accessible site? A few tips when a subsite is a possibility.
I'm a Diet Coke kind of girl. It's the perfect, guilt-free drink, especially on the days when lunch consists of a "DC" and really big bag of chips. I'm not hip or carb-conscious enough for Coke's C2 product. So, I'm sticking with my silver and red can of nectar.
Coke knows I'm a different demographic from Classic Coke drinkers. It's created a site just for me, the DC aficionado. It's an admittedly girly site with links to the newest DC advertisements. Coke has a separate site for hip C2 fans and Vanilla Coke enthusiasts. And for the truly trendy (and obviously younger demographic) there's a password-protected Coke music site with games, a music mixer, and other downloads.
Why not lump everything under the same site with sections for sub-brands? Coke says establishing separate sites for each of its brands and sub-brands is better for targeting. Moreover, URLs are shorter, messaging is more succinct, and every brand and sub-brand gets its own identity.
Coca-Cola's Ray Crockett says their thinking is simply an extension of the Procter & Gamble philosophy: a product for every personality and a Web site for every one of P&G's products. As might be expected, Tide and Cheer laundry detergents both have their own sites. Tide's is factual and content heavy. Cheer's is zippy and colorful.
Crockett acknowledges it doesn't hurt when a search using the word "coke" pops up not just the main Coca-Cola site but also the sub-brand sites. "It definitely gives us more visibility," he says.
When should you set up subsites and when should you keep everything together on one comprehensive, easily accessible site? A few suggestions for subsite possibilities:
There are many good reasons not to have separate sites. Consistency of message and branding are perhaps the two biggest. Additionally, it's important to note all the separate Coke sites are accessible from the organization's main U.S. site.
However, creating separate sites is an interesting tactic. Let me know if it works for you.
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Susan Solomon is the executive director of marketing and public relations for Memorial Health Services, a five-hospital health system in Southern California. In this capacity, she manages promotional activities for both traditional and new media. Susan is also a marketing communications instructor at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; and the University of California, Los Angeles.
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