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Showcase #3: A world beyond websites

Grasping the opportunities of today’s digital world requires thinking beyond just websites. BKA Interactive outlines five trends shaping the future of business online

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email ben@idealog.co.nz

Internet capabilities are light years ahead of just a half-decade ago. Quite suddenly, download speeds, web technologies and user behaviours have intersected to create a quantum leap in what’s possible online. Most organisations appreciate a website is essential, but the game has already moved on.

Few businesses really understand this and it can seem a bit scary. So, while we can still catch the tide, let us point out where this exciting new future might be heading.

It’s all online

We’re online more often, in more ways, to do more things than ever. Gaming consoles, mobiles, office printers, even kitchen appliances now access the internet. Then there are netbooks, tablets, Eftpos terminals, stock control systems, TVs, My Sky and more.

What does this mean for business? Because the online environment is such an integral part of everyday life, your customers will expect to do more and more business online. So it’s time to get planning before your customers look elsewhere.

Online web apps are already changing existing business systems, with some serious cost-savings to be made. Experts like BKA Interactive create the tools and integrate your systems for seamless business success.

The website bar is raised

And raised again. The first port of call for any potential customer checking out your business is, and will continue to be, your website. So, whatever you do, ensure it’s up to scratch. It has to look great, talk to your target market and make you stand out. As BKA’s creative director Maak Bow says, “If it looks like crap, then it is.”

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The BKA Interactive team

But in future your web presence has to do more. Take what BKA created for Brave Day insurance brokers. Not only does the site look fantastic, it’s incredibly useful; a very persuasive combination. BKA turned part of the website into a visually compelling and intuitive, interactive journey. It’s fun and playful—and it’s actually an insurance quote form. Before you know it, you’ve filled out a request for a personalised quote. So why not click Send?

Ultimately, the aim of your website must be to ensure customers look no further. And that requires a more sophisticated understanding of how people interact with the site, what they want from it and how to engage them. Things that demand a realistic budget and a team that ensures you get the best bang for your buck.

Social media ... yada, yada

Yes, we know you’ve heard how important social media is. But it’s here to stay, so read on.

Understanding the users and usages of Twitter, Facebook et al is just going to get more critical for business success. Right now, a lot of organisations are blundering about in social media. It’s got to stop.

Meanwhile, what’s going begging is the chance to use SM well and be thanked for it. Just like BKA did for up-and-coming New Zealand band Six60. The company integrated Facebook with the (very cool) website to help grow the band profile. Website visitors get funnelled into Facebook to become fans, who then become the content creators for the website. There are currently eight thousand fans and counting! SM isn’t just for the youth market, though. For every organisation, the strategy will be unique. It all comes down to planning.

Expect to see more intelligent and integrated use of social media in 2010.

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FROM TOP LEFT: The New Zealand International Comedy Festival and the fun, interactive website creative for insurance company Brave Day. Integrated media for band Six60 and the smart, web-based tools online for Hallenstein Glasson.

Money, money, money

Sure, the web makes a great sales channel and your online offering should be making you money. But it can improve your bottom line in other ways, too.

For Hallenstein Glasson, BKA created a web tool that completely eliminated printed annual reports. Instead, people create their own customised report online, downloading only what they are interested in. The savings exceeded the cost of the development within a few weeks.

There are loads of ways to save money with smart, web-based tools, especially with greater bandwidth.

Going mobile

Among the plethora of devices that now connect to the net, mobiles present unique challenges and opportunities.

Mobile browsing now accounts for 1.3 percent of all web browsing. It doesn’t sound a lot, but it grew by 34 percent last year. And, as Android-based mobiles catch on alongside the hugely popular iPhone, just watch it take off.

Thing is, mobiles are not PCs. Phones are getting smaller, while computers are using larger screens. Already, savvy organisations offer specific websites and apps for phones. Expect to see more people exploiting the differences in future.

The future with BKA Interactive

Success in tomorrow’s online world will require more than a snazzily styled website with some links to your ad campaign as an attempt at integration. It demands a considered online strategy that will actively grow your business as well as your bottom line.

If that’s what you want, and if you’d like working in the digital world to be an understandable, cost-effective and collaborative process, BKA would love to hear from you.

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