Ok, for the last month or so I have heard people talking about “what Skittles did” and the huge controversy. I just figured it was more of the usual website hype. Until this morning. Now I understand what the hoopla (who says those words anymore?) is about.
In a nutshell, if you also have not followed the Skittles talk, they replaced their regular website that had content, product information, and the usual company fluff, with a portal atmosphere that brings in many of the big social networks. That’s right, they got rid of their website and are using YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and other network spaces instead. WOW.
They have essentially said, “you our customer know how you want to interact with us, so we are handing you the keyboard” (my quote not theirs). I personally think this is brilliant. Skittles is going where their customers are. They are truly “giving power to the people”. They have however gotten quite a bit of criticism from marketers and business people. One blog post I read called the move “crazy“.
According to Skittles, their goal was to “consolidate access to all social media around the brand.” I applaud them. They are a bit ahead of their time. What they did is what I consider a stab at web 3.0. What’s that? It’s where businesses and brands will be able to harness and make the current social media landscape usable and personal. Friendster and ping.fm are just a few examples of organizations already trying to do this.
Good or bad, there’s a few things we can learn from this:
1. The first one there owns the game. Skittles will get the most publicity and launch excitement because they tried it first. Others that follow will have a hard time getting the coverage that Skittles did. Since they did it first, they also get to create the rules and build the business model.
2. Integrated branding. Skittles is focusing their time on creating their company profiles across the social media channels online and their traditional marketing offline. They are approaching new media with new thinking. They are creating an entire brand experience from each part and funneling everything back to their website URL.
3. Optimization. Talk about high ROI. Skittles will be able to gain higher visibility and link-ability on the web faster and easier than any website before it. How? They are letting their customers do it for them.
4. Mistakes happen. Is the Skittles new concept perfect? No, of course not. By trying to legally protect themselves with a dialog box asking your age before you can visit the site they seem to be turning off site visitors. But, this is how they and those that follow behind them will learn.
So, as I wrap up this post for the day,I am left thinking, who else would this concept work for?