After researching and writing about Hewlett Packard (HP)'s lack of knowledge around Internet Marketing, I decided to compile a list of what other companies that just don't get how to use the Internet as a marketing tool and how that affects their name, brand, products,etc.
Rather than be a downer, I wanted to point out good things too. I also compiled a list of companies who do get how to use the Internet for marketing purposes and do it successfully. I put together a list of ten (I won't call it top ten as everyone is sick of top ten lists) - 5 good examples and 5 bad examples, not ranked in any order.
The Bad - Those Who Just Don't Understand the Affect the Internet Has On Their Company
Kryptonite Bike Locks - Although this story took place close to 2 years ago, it is still a prime example of companies not monitoring what's going on in the Internet space, reaching out to their customers and engaging them to head off major issues that could potentially threaten the lifeblood of a company. Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion has a detailed account of the Kryptonite Bike Locks implosion. Wikipedia has a detailed entry about the company, including the debacle in 2004 that ranks #3 for "kryptonite bike locks" on Google. The Kryptonite Bike Lock website, really leaves me wondering "will they ever 'get it'?"
Belgian Newspapers - On the heels of "winning" their first lawsuit against Google in Belgium, most in the search industry are just sitting back and shaking their heads. Here's just another blatant example of companies (this time a group of publishers), just not "Getting it". Danny Sullivan's got a great article on the Search Engine Watch blog about this story, and how the to these people robots.txt is just not good enough.
Trump - A few weeks Threadwatch.org discovered this little snafu in the description of Trump.com's listing on Google. I blogged about it further here on Search Marketing Gurus. Again, another case of how not having a search marketing team can affect your presence, your brand, your name and your company's products and services. I'm sure someone's going to start ranking for "Trump" with terms like "small penis", "levitra", "cialis" and "viagra" that has screen shots of what happened to Trump.com. That will live on much longer than the few days the meta description appeared in Google.
Hewlett Packard (HP) - Sure this company has a nice website. I've gone to it a few times and found drivers I needed. Their products are decent and up until 3 weeks ago, HPQ was pretty golden on the stock market. Then this really bad stench came out of Silicon Valley from the HP board room. I won't rehash what I wrote about HP's Reputation Management again, lets just give them the 2006 "I don't get the Internet" award now.
Coca-Cola - There's something to be said about how a company identifies its brand, and how customers identify WITH a brand. Coke, in light of recent -FREE- buzz with the Mentos/Diet Coke experiments, just "doesn't get it." Even their website is bland and sterile looking. With the decline in soft drink sales, you would think that a company would be jumping at appealing to the masses - but not Coke. "It doesn't fit our brand personality," remarked the Coke spokeswoman. Jackie Huba at the Church of the Customer blog, has a great recap.
The Good - Those that Embrace the Internet and Utilize It to Their Advantage
Mentos - Since I just mentioned how Coca-Cola didn't embrace those really cool experiments with Mentos, let me point out how Mentos did. The image provided is their home page. Not only are they embracing this phenomena and incorporating it with their image, they are encouraging more of it by sponsoring a "Geyser" contest. Traffic to the Mentos site is up, as is sales - and they didn't have to spend a dime on promotion. Again, check out Jackie Huba's entry at Church of the Customer.
Stonyfield- Yogurt might not be quite as exciting as soda and candy geysers, but to many parents of newborns and toddlers, the information Stoneyfield is providing is just as much of a draw. Stonyfield's blogs promote their company in two ways, with two distinctly different voices, aimed at two distinctly different audiences. Parents and Organic Food Buyers can find great information with both of their blogs and although the blog doesn't lead to instantaneous sales, it does help to promote the brand so that next time you're in the grocery store you'll pick up Yo Baby! yogurt or the Stonyfield brand yogurt.
Oakland Raiders - Yes - a Football team actually understands the Internet and uses it to its advantage! How? The Oakland Raiders website is available in German, Spanish, and Chinese. There is also a version just for kids. Talk about talking specifically to your audience, engaging them and promoting involvement, the Oakland Raiders have tapped into an area where a lot of other websites should be going. Now, not only will they rank in the English speaking engines but 2 additional engines as well.
General Motors (GM) - When GM's CEO wanted to get "unfiltered" feedback straight from the customer, he found it from the Internet in the form of their Fast Lane blog started in the beginning of 2005. Not only does Mr. Lutz post about upcoming things with GM, but they are also using to promote how GM cars (Chevies and Pontiacs) are doing in NASCAR. Recent news of the Google - Saturn deal also shows GM's savvy when it comes to Search Marketing. Moving beyond the Paid Search (PPC) of contextual ads, Google's bundled together its services in Google Earth and Google Video to help create buzz around its aging Saturn line of automobiles.
Southwest Airlines - When was the last time you were able to track back any sales at all on-line back to a press release? Southwest has, and does to the tune of $3 million (Greg's last presentation at SES gave this figure) and counting, according to Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR. But Southwest doesn't stop there - they engage their visitors. Recently they ran a contest for visitors and customers to vote on their favorite Luv Story, with over 100,00 votes cast engaging their visitors seems to be what Southwest does best. Lastly, probably their strongest use of Internet Marketing yet - "DING!". I'm sure everyone knows about ding now - you might know it as that familiar sound you hear when you press the button to call an airline steward for assistance. Southwest uses it to promote its "widget" that announces new airline deals to the destinations on special, not only has it permeated to the desktop of hundreds of thousands of users - a series of commercials - very cleverly designed ones too - help to reinforce "Ding!", talk about a company being Web Savvy, Southwest can teach its own course.