The World’s Best Corporate Websites 2014

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What function does a company net presence serve? Is Apple making an attempt to convey info to potential iPhone 6 patrons, to job seekers it desires so as to add to its 80,000-strong world workforce, or to traders in its high-flying inventory who is likely to be involved over ongoing questions on its alleged multibillion-dolllar tax evasion? What about BP? Has it gotten previous the disastrous 2010 oil spill within the Gulf of Mexico or are claimants nonetheless blasting it for failing to restore their ruined livelihoods? What sort of message do corporations wish to ship to staff? How accessible ought to they be to the media? And what a couple of multinational like Nestlé, which has been dogged for years by the notion that it pushes its child system on nursing moms within the growing world?

In accordance with Bowen Craggs & Co., a London consulting agency that advises corporations on learn how to enhance the effectiveness of their on-line presence, all of these issues are necessary. The problem to corporations is to speak clearly on all fronts. They need to grasp their presentation on massive screens, tablets, phablets and smartphones, and to convey a message that’s clear, informative and upbeat. In addition they should resolve how a lot power to place into different on-line channels, from Fb to LinkedIn to YouTube.

See more: Top business websites 2014

Since 2007, Bowen Craggs has been measuring net effectiveness with an annual index. A dozen staffers spend the yr pouring over web sites and different on-line platforms for 78 massive firms with the best market capitalizations, choosing roughly a 3rd from the U.S., a 3rd from Europe and the remainder from different components of the world. It charges them on a degree system in eight classes that cowl how effectively corporations serve traders, job seekers, clients, media and society. It additionally seems to be on the effectiveness of the principle company websites’ development, the readability of the messages conveyed and the way simple it’s to contact individuals inside the businesses and get questions answered.

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On the prime of the listing this yr: Royal Dutch Shell, the worldwide oil firm based mostly within the Hague, which has the problem of internet hosting websites in additional than 50 nations. “It might appear stunning, however many corporations don’t try this effectively,” says Bowen Craggs senior guide David Bowen. Shell’s “change location” is definitely findable on the prime left nook of the homepage, with a dropdown menu. Even its Ghanaian web site, which hyperlinks to a licensee referred to as Vivo Power after a disclaimer saying that it’s not managed by Shell, preserves the colour scheme and easy magnificence of the principle Shell web site. The Shell web site for Egypt weaves some Arabic onto the principle display screen whereas counting on the Shell grid.

The remainder of the principle Shell web site is a well-trained workhorse. Typical for an power producer as of late, it emphasizes innovation and environmental accountability, like headlines in a carousel on the highest of the house web page that say “Studying to drill deeper and extra safely” and “Urging motion on local weather change.” It additionally has what Bowen calls “nice magazine-style content material,” like an online web page cleverly titled, “How far do whales swim for lunch?” with a Nationwide Geographic-style function story (“A towering vapour cloud alerts one of many 40-tonne beasts has surfaced”) a couple of Shell-sponsored mission to tag and comply with humpback whales in Brazil. Nevertheless you must click on via 4 completely different layers, beginning with “Way forward for Power” to achieve the article, which makes me surprise how many individuals will trouble to be taught that whales are in a position to navigate 2,000 nautical miles to achieve their summer season feeding grounds (not precisely lunch).

The No. 2 slot goes to ENI, the state-owned Italian oil firm, which has a beautiful, thorough web site. I respect the easy-to-navigate bar that runs throughout the highest above a chic sepia-toned picture which the corporate modifications out. Final week it confirmed two workmen on a seaside with oil rigs on the horizon. Bowen praises the content material accessible via the “governance” hyperlink on the orange bar. Given the picture of Italian corporations as made up of leaders who lower corners, it’s useful that the positioning lays out issues like the interior management and threat administration programs with a diagram and textual content that may be expanded with one click on.

In third place Bowen says that Nestlé grapples with one among its reputational challenges with a hyperlink exhibiting a close-up of a mother cuddling along with her cute, smiling child and the road “Breastfeeding is finest.” There’s a “Diet, well being and wellness” tab. The corporate additionally faces a problem from feedback made by Nestlé Chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who made a press release again in 2005 that led critics to cost that the pinnacle of the world’s largest producer of bottled water (Perrier, Poland Spring) claimed that water was not a “human proper.” Brabeck-Letmathe has mentioned he was misquoted and he’s now acquired a weblog about water, reached via a hyperlink on Nestlé’s homepage. There’s additionally a Q and A about Nestlé and water on the “Ask Nestlé” hyperlink on the homepage. The identical Q and A solutions different controversial questions like “Does Nestlé have youngster labor in its provide chains?” (No, and no youngster trafficking, says the positioning.)

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BP, the corporate Bowen Craggs picked for first place final yr, has fallen to the eighth spot due to a web site design Bowen Craggs doesn’t assume is as user-friendly, however Bowen nonetheless praises its net presence and its thorough details about the Deepwater Horizon restoration mission. One factor BP does that stands out amongst all the businesses Bowen Craggs evaluated: It has an lively Fb web page, the place the corporate responds to persevering with criticism concerning the Gulf spill. Whereas Bowen says that Fb is “off the boil” for many corporations, which aren’t devoting as a lot time to their social media presence, BP has saved at it. “For an organization that’s nonetheless beneath heavy assault, it is smart,” he says.

A few phrases about websites Bowen deems as poor: Apple’s, whereas clear, elegant and nice for would-be laptop and gadget patrons, nonetheless does a awful job conveying information. Below “Sizzling Information” there are solely product bulletins – the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and the 27-inch Mac with a Retina 5K show – however nonetheless nothing about penalties that might attain into the tens of billions if Apple is discovered to have evaded taxes over a 20-year interval. On Sept. 28, the FT reported that European regulators have been set to accuse Apple of receiving unlawful state help from Eire over a 20-year interval (Apple says its relationship with Eire didn’t break any legal guidelines). There is no such thing as a hint of this amongst Apple’s “Sizzling Information.”

A statistic Bowen shared with me that I discover stunning: 89% of site visitors to company websites nonetheless comes via desktops or laptops. Simply 8% comes via cellular gadgets and a mere 4% via tablets. Although he says the cellular and pill numbers have doubled from final yr, he doesn’t see these numbers leaping up an excessive amount of within the close to future. “It’s not that small screens don’t matter however it’s that huge screens matter extra,” he says. “The place persons are doing one thing complicated, it’s simpler to do on an enormous display screen.” In different phrases if you happen to’re on the lookout for a job at BP or Apple, you aren’t more likely to attempt to do this out of your smartphone or pill. Likewise if you happen to’re attempting to find investor relations information. Bowen additionally believes that if corporations wish to provide nice websites throughout all platforms, they should design their websites individually for every. German engineering conglomerate Siemens is the one firm of the 78 Bowen Craggs measured that does that. “Siemens has thrown a load of money at this,” he says, which helps it get the No. 9 slot on the Bowen Craggs listing.

For an entire listing of the 78 corporations rated by Bowen Craggs, click on right here.

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