A while back I wrote a series of posts on communications planning. One of the most popular posts within that series, which still gets a few hundred views per week, was on one on setting communications objectives. As I said at the time:
“As the old saying goes, you need to know where you’re going before you can know how to get there.”
Fast forward to this week, when Skittles re-launched their website with a completely new structure drawn almost entirely from other social media sites:
- Their homepage was primarily a Twitter search for the word “skittles” Yesterday that switched over to a Facebook page (which now has over 500,000 fans)
- Product information links led to Wikipedia articles
- Media links went to Flickr and YouTube
- “Friends” took you to Facebook
Naturally the bloggerati took notice, and began passing judgement on the website. The topic quickly shot to the list of top “trending” words on Twitter. While I was bemused that Skittles didn’t seem to be engaging on Twitter despite using the service on its site (Twitter.com/skittles is currently a locked personal account with very little activity), aside from that I tried to refrain from commenting on the effort itself.
Because we don’t know their objectives. All of the people ripping into this site are doing so with no clue what Skittles was trying to achieve.
- Is it a short-term effort to kick-start buzz and discussion online?
- Is it an attempt to position a 35 year-old brand as youthful?
- Is it to simply raise awareness of the product?
- Is it a genuine attempt to embrace social media?
We just don’t know.
While I’ve fallen into the trap of evaluating communications efforts in the past without knowing all of the information, this time I’m holding off.
To everyone else out there, who seem to know for sure that the site is a huge success/failure, I say:
“Do you have any idea what equals success in this project for the Skittles brand?”