It is easy to build a Web site these days. And with a raft of online tools and systems like blogs, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, etc., it is even easier to kick start a blog or social media experiment. But participating or building these does not necessarily constitute a "web strategy."
What so often passes as a piece of "web fun" actually performs a vital role in the creation of a brand or organization's web strategy. Let me explain.
A couple of days ago, I found a site that allowed you to upload photos of yourself for scanning and comparison against the faces of celebrities (my closest match is William (Capt Kirk) Shatner). The site then constructs an image that showed those celebrities who most look like you (or is it the other way around?). Sounds like fun, right? It is... it makes you want to send it to your friends and colleagues.
As Tom Cruise (a.k.a. Drew McLellan) points out, there is a serious piece of strategy at play in this gimmickry. By creating an online tool that encapsulates its brand, this fun tool from MyHeritage.com simultaneously demonstrates how the site functions as well as providing an immediate emotional linkage between the consumer and the site -- you are, after all, uploading a photograph of yourself.
This same approach worked spectacularly well for the Movember charity campaign in Australia last year (hey ... is anyone following this up for 2007 in North America?). Why does this work? Because there is a strategy in place to drive an increase in trial/sampling ... and the strategy does so by placing the consumer literally at the center of the experience.
And this is something that the web can do like no other channel. So if you think that a "web strategy" is not something applicable to your brand ... think again. And think harder.
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