There are many pitfalls to be avoided by companies planning to set up on
the Net. Edited by Mairi Clark
Who is best suited to building you a presence on the Internet?
Once the novelty of just being on the Web wears off, smart advertisers
will create innovative sites that offer a compelling user experience and
value-added services that lever brand equity. Once that happens, it will
be difficult for the non-creative new-media specialist, which cannot
claim the ability to deliver ideas that build a brand. At the same time,
complex new technologies will create barriers to entry for agencies and
independents that do not understand the medium’s creative potential or
cannot keep pace with the changes and make the required investments.
What’s needed is a new kind of team that understands the potential of
technology to deliver an outstanding consumer experience beyond the
scope of traditional media.
Ajaz Ahmed, AKQA, email@example.com
The simple answer to this question is that it doesn’t really matter who
builds your internet presence. You just need to make sure they are
specialists who possess both experience and expertise. These people work
for all kinds of different companies and are best judged by the quality
of the sites they have produced for other people. What is of critical
importance is who you choose to be the architect of your site, and how
well they work with the builders jointly to realise the plan. Strategy
and objectives must be clearly defined long before any computer buttons
are pushed. Otherwise there is a real danger that the site will not be
consistent with the overall communication of your brand. Advertising
agencies, as experts in your brand communications, are ideally
positioned to be the architects and must take this role if they are to
offer a truly integrated service.
Rhona Tridgell, Ogilvy and Mather, firstname.lastname@example.org
An internet presence should be in keeping with the personality of brand
and hence the development process should involve the guardian of that
brand - the creative agency. This lesson is painfully demonstrated by a
number of the client direct sites. However, although agencies must
maintain an involvement, the level of commitment, the production
resource required and the flexibility needed to straddle the variety of
communication disciplines that Web sites necessitate will probably be
beyond most agencies. An effective presence will be best developed
within a situation similar to the current poster specialist/agency
relationship. This allows the main agency to maintain a creative
understanding and a strategic overview of the medium, but use the in-
depth media resource of an outside new-media independent.
Chris Perry, DNA Communications, D73@dial.pipex.com
In the past, the only people who had this expertise were what agencies
called nerds. Unfortunately, a nerd generally had no concept of the way
that advertising works. Now, agencies are employing nerds to sort out
their technical questions. But the problem is that agencies (with four
or five exceptions) do not understand the culture or technical
restrictions and facilities that the Internet offers.
The best solution is the specialist creative consultancy, which offers
both creative and technical expertise integrated into one neat package.
Agencies, almost universally, don’t understand the medium or the
technical issues. Production houses cannot offer creative solutions.
Teccies can’t meet the client. Nerds don’t understand advertising. But
specialist consultancies with in-house expertise should provide good
Shop around. If you think what you’ve seen from a company (of any sort)
is just what you’re looking for, get it to pitch to you - make sure you
spend some money before you waste your opportunity. And be certain
before you go online that you will achieve your aims, because if you
cock it up, it will be a year before you can try again.
Felix Velarde, Hyperinteractive felix@hyperinteractive. co.uk Web site:
This article was first published on Campaign