Last week I praised the interactive website that Lancôme created in China (rosebeauty.com.cn), while deploring the fact that too few brands were willing to engage in a real dialogue with their customers through social media. Now here are three examples to reflect on - one that would earn a "Could do Better!", and two that call for a "Bravo!":
- Could do Better: Three years ago, Clarins launched a "participatory" site called OrSérie - managed by an external service provider and intended to "federate amateurs of everything that's beautiful". To quote the Web Journal, "OrSérie is for Internet users and bloggers between the ages of 35 to 50, eager to share their discovery of a new boutique spa, an exceptional beauty product, their opinion on the latest haute couture collection, or talk about a recent sojourn in a dream of a hotel". The visibility of the brand is projected by the "credits" at the bottom of the home page and through the announcement of a big competition. This website is merely a "Beauty and Well-being Journal" – i.e., a space featuring articles from bloggers. It is therefore an interface that is not interactive in any way – unless you consider that writing articles is interaction. The brand does not intervene, it is not called into question, there is no exchange of ideas... It is just another Web magazine on beauty.
- A (small) Bravo: At the end of 2010, Migros launched a website that is fully interactive – Migipedia - where consumers are invited to discuss products, ask the brand questions and, recently, to "invent their favourite jam". A real innovation - but with few takers: the home page displays the last 10 contributions, received over the 5 preceding days. Migros offers opportunities but does not really maintain a dialogue. The brand is satisfied with just responding to some of the posts. It takes two to maintain a dialogue.
- A (big) Bravo: The MyStarbucksIdea.com - Share Vote Discuss See website: Here Starbucks customers share their ideas (on products, experiences in coffee shops, collective commitments, discuss among themselves, and with the brand, which commits itself to implementing their ideas. The Starbucks contacts are identifiable and a counter displaying the ideas that were shared and those that were implemented is shown to prove its authenticity. The brand assumes, discusses, listens, commits.
The Starbucks website is undoubtedly a model that is exemplary. But it requires a considerable investment in human resources for monitoring, and tangible commitments. At the same time, Disney announced the acquisition of Togetherville - a new social network for children under 10 (and their parents). Brands such as retail chains will have to follow suit, their customers are expecting it.