Ford Sharpens Branding Distinctions with Site Redesign

  |  March 22, 2005   |  Comments

One of the major objectives is to boost traffic and attention to eight 'brand channels.'

For the first time in two years, Ford Motor Company has launched an overhauled version of its corporate Web site. The redesign is primarily aimed at boosting traffic to its eight separate vehicle brand sites.

Ford turned to Avenue A/Razorfish, its interactive agency partner since 2000, for the redesign, which incorporates a greater use of Flash technology within the site.

The new site includes a window on the top-third of the page that attempts to appeal to the needs and interests of three types of visitors: an "Our Values" button launches information for investors and people looking for corporate information; an "Our Inspirations" button launches content for "enthusiasts" who frequent auto shows; and an "Our Brands" button launches images of Ford's eight vehicle lines, which load in the viewer when users roll over specific logos at the bottom of the window. This option is designed to appeal to potential car buyers looking for specific vehicle information.

When a user clicks on any of the logo buttons, they are directed to the appropriate "brand channel" or micro-site for that vehicle line.

"A lot of people don't know that Ford is a family of brands that includes everything from Volvo to Lincoln to Jaguar," said Bob Lord, president of Avenue A/Razorfish East. "A greater use of Flash allows us to show clear images of the vehicles as you roll over the eight different logos."

The new site also uses Flash technology for such features as its upgraded online vehicle showroom. This digital showroom allows users to search for vehicles based on body styles, price range, miles per gallon, and seating capacity. An HTML version of the showroom is also available for dial-up users.

"One of the biggest enhancements is the showroom," Lord said. "The prior version of the site included levels and levels of pages, where people had to guess more at what they wanted. A number of them would fall off the site to go to Edmunds.com for a price comparison."

Ford will measure the success of the redesign based on the number of referrals from its homepage to the eight separate brand channel sites, he added.

Beginning in April, the site will also feature a random survey of visitors leaving the site, asking them an array of questions about their user experience. Feedback from this online survey will inform the next series of stylistic changes that will be made to the site in December.

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