Friday, December 28, 2007

Flashy Micro-sites Are So 2007. Look for Distributed Content Experiences in 2008.

Website design for 2008 ...

"I'm having a real-time Twitter conversation with Adweek's Brian Morrissey who as an avid runner is not a fan of the site and offers this opinion:

"the content is one-size-fits-all lame, the redirect to forums sucks out loud and it's still nike talking at me."

It's a really interesting observation as this is what Nike is probably trying to avoid. I still believe the strategy is sound, but Brands will need help when trying to establish "credibility". Morrissey goes on to say:

"it's hard b/c authenticity doesn't come naturally"

Given Brian's background which is more informed than mine (as a non-runner), I'd say the missed opportunity may be the "one size fits all" approach. As I mention below, it's the Niche perspective that presents the real opportunity. Maybe Nike can help facilitate by aggregating content from sources more credible than themselves? I still see serious opportunity here if brands can figure out the delicate balance. See Fiskateers for similar concept, different execution.

In 2007 Nike + took the marketing world by storm and made the advertising world re-think the industry, as the online meat of Nike + is basically a Rich Internet Application with community features built into it. Now I come across Inside Nike Running, which as far as I can tell offers a content rich experience equipped with RSS feeds and multiple message boards. I haven't had a chance to really dig deeply into it—but I can't help admire the strategy.

For one, Nike and running naturally spells community. Runners are like bikers. It's a sub-culture that only runners totally get and there are all kinds of levels and types of runners. Secondly, content site are extremely search engine-friendly. Many of the keywords are provided by the users themselves in the form of comments or participation in message boards. And lastly, content is sitcky—your typical product-based micro site at best provides a one time experience. Sure you can build in "pass it along" functionality—but the bottom line is that if there isn't a steady supply of new, quality content—then users really don't have a reason to come back and engage. Plus, consumers are becoming increasingly wary of "marketing speak"—IE content written by copywriters who may not know much about the lifestyle they are speaking to and come across as contrived or inauthentic.

I'll be spending some more time at Inside Nike Running as I've been recommending similar solutions to clients myself. I'm willing to bet my money on the idea behind tactic as I don't think it's a trend. Brands really need to figure out if investing in content is worth it for them. It might not be right for all brands—but for some, it could be a no-brainer. There is risk involved, if there's no real commitment to providing good content that is worth a user's time—then maybe it's better to pass on something like this all together. The last thing you want to do is have people come to your site only to dismiss it as a joke."    (Continued via Logic+Emotion)    [Usability Resources]

Runner's Website - Usability, User Interface Design

Runner's Website

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