Nowadays it is rather unbelievable that companies do sometimes completely neglect their internet or virtual presence. What is even more disturbing, complete ignorance and separation of offline and online aspects of business. So sometimes it seems that a part of companies tend to stress out “offline” business regardless the facts that they are operating in 21st century or that their target auditorium is predominantly online for instance. When mentioning “online” I primarily refer to necessary care for brands throughout websites, social media, PR announcements, forums, content marketing etc. Being absent online today and not controlling critical information might lead to complete shutdown of the given business.
Not that far ago famous Bill Gates made a “no-joke” statement:
“If your business is not on the internet, than your business will be out of business”
Through prism of the previous statement I would have to admit (observing the Serbian market primarily) that it does not translates into reality. There are bright, very successful examples here and there completely professionally lead and managed, and on the other side great majority where internet presence, communication, PR and everything considering “virtual” brand is managed on “I know the guy who will make it”-base. That is, you guess, not sufficient. And do I have to stress out – not professional and consistent?
For the purpose of today’s article I felt free to browse Serbian internet business sky and dig up some extraordinary “never to do” examples (which are sadly dominating). I have tried to cover different business areas and cases in order to get clearer and bigger picture. These are the stories of Serbian brands online.
- Niš-ekspres d.o.o. – Well-known Niš based transporter with more than 60 years of tradition. However, if you are lucky enough and get onto their web-site, you will be facing outdated visual solution without even standardized logo and slogans. Only useful thing for the passengers is possibility to check bus schedules. Booking available through mail, although no response on inquire. No domains for the markets they are performing at (eg. .ba; .me; .hr; .mk; .sl; .at; .gr; .de; .zh; .com), since they obviously neglect Google algorithm. There are 3 Facebook profiles-pages with stochastic ad-hoc information, no Twitter, noLinkedIN, no PR announcement, uncontrolled information on forums (e.g. autobusi.net). All in all, complete mess and the case that needs very much efforts to put on the right path.
- Nevena a.d. (owned by Puzzle Grupa) – Very old chemistry industry located in Leskovac, South Serbia. Web-site (www.nevena.co.rs) is design and utilization wise, decades in front of previous example. Moreover big threat to the image of the company is coming from domain nevena.rs (does not have anything to do with chemistry or industry at all). Problem is because Google firstly indicates nevena.rs when you are about to search for company. Facebook page inconsistent with standard colors; very rarely updated; no official Twitter profile (twitts through @puzzlegrupa with questionable relevance), no LinkedIn profile, content marketing and PR big mystery etc.
— PuzzleGroup (@PuzzleGrupa) May 18, 2015
- Zaječarsko pivo a.d. (owned by Heineken Serbia) – Tradition in brewing beer since 1875. However, serious mistakes have been made. Namely blogger Uroš Bogdanović bought two domains zajecarsko.rs and zajecarskopivo.rs which were not being used by official Company channels. This meant that anyone (who would have 20 euros for domains and 5 minutes for online registration) furthermore with distorted intentions (not the case hereby) could easily engage and severely affect the Brand online. Now, 20+ Facebook profiles-pages with name Zaječarsko pivo, no Twitter. Uncontrolled information launched on forums, portals etc. Time for management to look after their biggest competitors (e.g. Jelen pivo)After all, zajecarsko.rs; zajecarsko.co.rs are all redirected to zajecarskopivo.com.
Some of you would say that not every business must be on every social network or to use same communication channel. That is true, business should be there where its targets are, one does not have to be marketing guru to come up with this one. But here lies a deeper and more serious problem, since there are no visible signs of coordinated and well-prepared online strategy. Everything is more or less on ad-hoc basis (speaking for those three aforementioned companies). Do I have to mention the costs that are considerably decreasing when it comes to social media marketing, content marketing etc? It seems that managers still prefer old-school advertisment and brand promotion.
According to Uroš Bogdanović in Serbia huge majority of companies do have managing directs who consider absolute priority to advertise via TV commercials or renting billboards – no internet, social network etc. Furthermore, since such advertisments could get viral for minor expenses, all you need is creativity and dedicated personel.
I would like to emphasize that my sole intention here was to draw attention and direct constructive critics toward aforementioned companies and their brands.
— Dusan Mladenovic (@dusan988) May 14, 2015